Pakistan court questions PM over peace talks with militants

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s top court in a surprise move on Wednesday questioned the prime minister over his peace talks with a prominent militant group behind a 2014 assault on an army-run school that killed nearly 150 people, mostly children.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was grilled by judges after the Supreme Court summoned him on short notice. The development comes two days after Khan’s government announced a monthlong cease-fire with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group that is a separate organization from Afghanistan’s Taliban.

Khan has faced criticism for initiating talks with the TTP group, which agreed to a cease-fire until Dec. 9. The TTP and Pakistan say Afghanistan’s Taliban government facilitated the agreement hoping to ensure peace in Pakistan.

However, the truce comes ahead of the seventh anniversary of the school attack that was claimed by the TTP. The attack left 147 people dead, including 132 schoolchildren.

The truce has angered many Pakistanis opposed to any peace talks with militants.

Judges on Wednesday asked Khan whether “we are bringing them (the TTP) back to the negotiating table instead of taking action against them,” according to Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper.

It said the judges continued to fire questions and allegations at Khan, saying: “You are in power. The government is also yours. What did you do? You brought those guilty to the negotiating table.” The court was referring to TTP’s culpability for the school attack.

Khan promised to take action against those accused of negligence in preventing the attack following a new investigation.

Authorities have said they arrested all those who masterminded the attack or took part in the 2014 assault. Five militants were hanged after being sentenced to death by a military court.

Parents of the slain schoolchildren want action against those army officials whose negligence led to the attack.

The next court hearing will be held after four weeks.

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