Taliban calls on Pakistan to reject democratic system
The Taliban has called on Pakistani voters to rebel against democratic rule, amid warnings of possible attacks on political gatherings ahead of a national election, dpa reported.
Pakistan celebrated the first completion of the full five-year term of a National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament, at the weekend.
The tenure of the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling coalition was marked by significant unpopularity due to alleged bad governance, economic and energy crises, violence and accusations of rampant corruption.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, in a video sent to reporters late Monday, described the government's term as a period of atrocity and iniquity, adding that "the dark night of brutality" would continue if people did not reject the system.
"We are making a humble appeal to the public to boycott every step under this secular, democratic system," Ehsan said. "More so, they should stay away from gatherings of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party and Pakistan People's Party."
Those parties were allies for most or all of the tenure of the previous government, and routinely criticized the Taliban movement.
Campaigning was set to move up a gear, as the country prepared to hold an election expected in May.
The former ruling and opposition parties have so far failed to develop a consensus on proposing a figure to lead an interim administration through the election.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is to remain in office until the appointment of a caretaker premier.
In the video, Ehsan also accused the Pakistani military of continuing with US-backed counterterrorism efforts "for the sake of dollars."
He announced that the Taliban were "putting off temporarily" their offer of peace talks because of "the non-serious response of stakeholders."
No negotiations have taken place since Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in late December expressed his organisation's willingness to negotiate with the government, but rejected laying down its arms.
Pakistan's main political parties in recent weeks have agreed to give priority to talks to end the insurgent violences, which has killed thousands of people in recent years.