From an offer of talks, it's now an invitation to play cricket. Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters in Islamabad after playing an exhibition match on Monday that the Taliban should play cricket and stop fighting, since they evinced such a keen interest in the game.

He asked the media to pass on a message to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) about playing a cricket match and he felt such a move would yield positive results. The Minister, who played for the Pakistan Cricket Board XI bowled two overs and scored 28 runs with four boundaries, news reports said. The PCB team was up against the Commonwealth XI led by Peter Heyward, the Australian High Commissioner.

On a more serious note, he said that peace was a top priority and the government could use any option to achieve this. While the peace dialogue is at a standstill, the military has launched air strikes on hideouts in the last few days, killing a number of terrorists. On the other hand, the bomb blasts haven't stopped either. While the government is not forthcoming about whether it has launched an all out military operation, the TTP has said that it wants to talk but the ceasefire has to come from the government. The peace dialogue is deadlocked for now and the government is aiming to discuss the issue at its Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

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