Rift emerges among Pakistani militant groups after government offers peace talks

A spokesman for Pakistan's main Taliban group says the head of a side-group has been stripped of his leadership for welcoming the government's peace talk offer.

The Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Saturday that the group's executive council has removed Ismatullah Muawiya from the leadership of Pujabi Taliban militants.

Shahid said in a statement that Muawiya was not authorized to respond to the Pakistan government's offer for talks. He said the group's leadership will issue later their stance on talks.

Muawiya responded to The Associated Press that the executive council didn't have the capacity to remove him because the Punjabi Taliban is a separate group. He said his group has its own decision-making body to decide leadership and other matters.