Pakistani PM calls for peace talks with militants but holds out military option

Pakistan's prime minister has reiterated his offer to talk with militants who have so far rejected the prospect of negotiations.

But Nawaz Sharif also held open the possibility of new military operations against militants who have waged a campaign of bombings and shootings that have killed thousands of civilians and security personnel.

The comments came Monday in the prime minister's first speech to the country since taking office June 5.

The government won a resounding election victory in part by calling for talks with militants to end years of fighting in the country's northwest. But after the militants rejected the offer, the government struggled to articulate a new policy.

The government has also said it would like to hold a conference with other political parties to formulate a counter-terrorism policy.