ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has informed the government that they want to hold talks with open mind, saying that they too want to give good news to nation while the government committee constituted to hold talks with the Taliban has declared the response of the Taliban positive and encouraging.
It was said in a joint declaration issued after the meeting of the government committee and the arbitration committee of the Taliban in Islamabad on Tuesday. Taliban Committee briefed the meeting about their talks with Taliban Shoora.
Government and Taliban peace committees had a joint meeting at the residence of retired Major Aamir‚ one of the members of the Government negotiating team.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and coordinator of government dialogue committee, Irfan Siddiqui and member of government dialogue committee Rustam Shah Mohmand attended the meeting. From other side‚ it was attended by Maulana Samiul Haq‚ Prof. Ibrahim Khan and Maulana Yousaf.
The Government Committee described report of the Taliban Committee as encouraging. The two sides will discuss relevant proposals and formulate strategy in the next meeting.
Taliban Shoora has given positive response to the points raised by the Government side. They have conveyed that they want to proceed with open mind and expressed desire to give some good news to the nation at the earliest. Taliban also said that they would welcome the government team anywhere‚ anytime.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddqui, who is coordinator of the government committee, said that response from the TTP Political Shura over the government’s conditions is ‘satisfactory.’
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, who is a member of the committee nominated by the TTP, said that Taliban’s demands were placed in front of government negotiators, adding that attempts at a ceasefire would be made in the first stage of dialogue.
The meeting was held after Professor Ibrahim and Maulana Yousuf Shah returned from North Waziristan after meeting with the TTP’s political shura and receiving their response regarding the demands of the government.
After meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier on Monday, Irfan Siddiqui reiterated that the government was fully committed to restoring peace in the country and would leave no stone unturned to achieve this objective.
However, a senior official of the prime minister office, when contacted, said that “frankly speaking the top leadership of the government isn’t that hopeful. But one can expect that the TTP leadership positively responds to the government’s offer for talks.”
Meanwhile, Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was not present at the meeting, said that he was not informed of Tuesday’s as well as today’s formal meeting of the two committees.
Earlier on Friday last week, Maulana Aziz had declared at a press conference that he would no longer take part in negotiations between the two sides until the condition of imposing Islamic laws was made part of the dialogue.
But, Maulana Yousuf Shah said the following day that it was likely that the chief cleric of Lal Masjid would continue the work with the TTP committee
Meanwhile, government peace committee informed Prime Minister about dialogue process. The Government’s dialogue committee called on Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Tuesday and informed him about their meeting with Taliban negotiating team.
The committee members included Irfan Siddiqui‚ Rustam Shah Mohmand and (retd) Major Amir. The meeting was also attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik.