Speaking to journalists at an undisclosed location in North Waziristan Agency TTP Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the Taliban were ready for talks despite the fact that the recent bombardment in North Waziristan was proof of the government’s insincerity.
The spokesman added that the war has been started by the government and it should also take the lead on a ceasefire.
Shahid said the Taliban were aiming to resolve issues through talks whereas the government was more focused on establishing its writ and the supremacy of the Constitution, which he said did not have a single element reflecting Islamic injunctions.
He said the TTP was serious about the dialogue, adding that the negotiators representing it were more independent than those representing the government.
“We are ready for ceasefire and will stop our activities if the government gives us guarantee and takes first step, we need guarantee for protection of our associates detained in various jails,” he said.
“Taliban are sincere in talks,” Shahid said, claiming that the TTP has convinced other allied groups for ceasefire.
The Taliban spokesman referred to the military strikes in NWA and said they are ready for talks despite attacks.
“The government has started the war and should also take the lead on a ceasefire,” he said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar says that continuation of talks with the Taliban would be unjustified if bloodshed is not stopped.
The Taliban spokesman said the government only wants the militants accept the constitution.
“If this is the only approach then the process could not proceed,” Shahid said. We accept only Quran and Hadith as our constitution, he added.
Shahidullah Shahid said the government wanted Taliban to accept the constitution of Pakistan through dialogue. He said this constitution did not have a single Islamic clause in it. Shahid said TTP wanted to continue dialogue process.
“We have been fighting a defensive war for 10 years,” the spokesperson said, adding that the government should stop this root-out operation immediately.
On Wednesday, over 40 militants, most of them foreign fighters, were killed when air force jets pounded their hideouts in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency.
The air strikes set off speculations that the government has finally launched army operation in North Waziristan and other restive tribal area, but security officials said the attacks were ‘punitive strikes’.