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Concern rises over Pakistan plan to halt extremism

Suspected Islamic militants killed at least 160 people during the new Pakistani government’s first month in office, fueling concern that the country’s leaders lack a coherent strategy to fight the pervasive problem of violent extremism. 

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party scored a resounding victory in national elections in May with a platform that promoted peace talks as the best way to quell a domestic Taliban insurgency that has killed thousands of people. 

The plan quickly fell apart after the Taliban withdrew their offer to talk in response to a US drone strike that killed the group’s deputy leader at the end of May. The government has yet to articulate an alternate strategy, and in the meantime, the attacks keep coming. 

‘The government is completely confused over the terrorism problem,’ said Zahid Hussain, whose books plot the rise of militancy in Pakistan. ‘The government’s indecisiveness and dithering has emboldened the militants.’ 

At least 160 people were killed in suspected militant attacks in June, according to an Associated Press count. It was the second most deaths in a month this year, following April, when there were many attacks related to the election, said Mohammed Amir Rana, head of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace.
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