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Pakistan leader seeks talks with Taliban

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s presumptive prime minister called for peace talks with Taliban militants at war with the government Monday, potentially charting a course that could put him at odds with the country’s powerful army.

Nawaz Sharif said ‘‘terrorism’’ was one of the most serious problems plaguing the country and any offer by the Pakistani Taliban to talk ‘‘should be taken seriously.’’

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‘‘All options should be tried, and guns are not a solution to all problems,’’ Sharif said in a speech to newly elected members of his party in the eastern city of Lahore.

The Pakistani Taliban have been waging a bloody insurgency against the government for years that has killed thousands of people. The militants say they are fighting to enforce Islamic law in the country and end the government’s alliance with the United States. The Pakistani Army has launched multiple operations against the Taliban in their strongholds along the border with Afghanistan, but the militants have proven resilient and continue to carry out near-daily attacks.

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who met with Sharif on Saturday for the first time since the May 11 election, laid out strict conditions last month for any potential peace deal with the Taliban.

‘‘We sincerely desire that all those who have strayed and have picked up arms against the nation return to the national fold,’’ Kayani said. ‘‘However, this is only possible once they unconditionally submit to the state, its constitution, and the rule of law.’’

It’s unclear whether Sharif’s concept of peace fits within this framework. Activists have raised concerns that Sharif’s government could accept militant demands that would threaten human rights.

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