ISLAMABAD, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's senior religious leaders on Saturday urged the armed Taliban militants and the government to immediately declare a ceasefire for the success of the ongoing peace dialogue.
The leaders from different schools of thought met in the eastern city of Lahore said that dialogue is the only solution to the current crisis in the country.
The conference, attended by nearly 50 senior leaders and religious scholars, urged both sides not to create problems in any possible peace agreement. "We appeal both the government and the Taliban for the sack to immediately announce ceasefire. Cessation of violent acts by both sides will push the peace process forward,"a joint statement issued at the day-long conference said.
The statement read out by head of the Taliban dialogue committee, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, at a news conference warned that military operation will cause more destruction and could put the national security at risk.
The appeal came following recent wave of attacks that raised doubts over the success of the talks.
Taliban on Thursday attacked a police bus in Karachi and killed at least 13 police officers and injured nearly 30 others. The Taliban spokesman had defended the attack as there is no formal ceasefire.
The attacks were widely condemned in the country and some political leaders said that talks and violence cannot continue simultaneously. "We announce a complete support for the dialogue process between the Taliban and the government and are confident that the process will yield positive results."
The leaders regretted that previous governments over the past 15 years did not take serious steps to end war in the country and the people are tired of killings and destructions.
"Taliban are sons of the country and the people expect them to give up arms and work in a peaceful way," the statement said.
The religious leaders said that certain elements in the country and outside Pakistan are bent upon sabotaging the peace talks and the Taliban and the government should foiled all these conspiracies.
The statement also called upon the government to quit the international coalition on war on terror and review foreign policy.