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Pakistani supporters of political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement, (MQM), chant slogans and hold banners, during a rally against the Taleban and to show solidarity with Pakistan Armed forces, in Karachi, Pakistan,
Pak minister offers Taleban cricket match for peace Reaction overwhelmingly negative on Twitter

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb 24, (AFP): Atop Pakistani minister provoked derision on social media Monday after he suggested the Taleban could swap their guns for cricket bats and offered to host a match with the militants to revive stalled peace talks. Pakistan’s government entered into a formal dialogue with the Taleban earlier this month, but the process faltered after the militants executed 23 kidnapped soldiers. The military has retaliated with a series of air strikes in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan and are home to the Taleban’s top leadership, killing dozens.

But with talks on a sticky wicket, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Monday that cricket could offer hope. “I have information that the Taleban keep an interest in cricket. So if this message can go through to them, we can have a cricket match with them which can have a better result,” he told reporters in Islamabad following an exhibition game. “The Taleban follow the Pakistan cricket team with keen interest so this can be a platform.” Reaction to the announcement was overwhelmingly negative on Twitter, which is used mainly by the country’s English-speaking elite.

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