Taliban peace talks make significant progress

February 13, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
ISLAMABAD: Talks between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have made significant headway.

“They have almost agreed to the framework we have laid down for the talks,” a member of the government’s four-member negotiating committee said following a meeting with the Taliban intermediaries yesterday.

“The Taliban have not said that they do not recognise the Constitution,” he added. 

The government side has set one key condition: any talks would be within the ambit of the Constitution.

At yesterday’s meeting both sides discussed a possible ‘ceasefire’ and said practical steps for this purpose would be taken before the next round of talks, sources revealed.

After the meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq, told the media that the two sides wanted a truce.

About the grenade attack at Peshawar’s Shama Cinema earlier, Maulana Sami reiterated that ‘some enemies’ were trying to derail the peace process and urged the government to expose the perpetrators.

Yesterday’s surprise meeting was held at the residence of Maj (Retd) Muhammad Amir. The venue and the time were not disclosed to the media. 

The meeting was attended by all but one member of the two committees, journalist Rahimullah Yousufzai.

The two sides decided not to publicise details of their discussions due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Sources said that the TTP has also agreed that there should not be “any activity [attacks]” which could derail dialogue. They agreed that the process should be completed in the shortest possible time.

“There is a positive development and we hope practical steps will follow from both sides,” Siddiqui said.

 Siddiqui added that the government committee met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and apprised him of the development.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch were also present in the meeting.

According to a statement issued by the government peace committee, Maulana Samiul Haq told the government that “the Taliban Shura has responded positively to the framework laid down by the government”.

“The Taliban want to hold dialogue with open mind. They also wish to give the nation good news as soon as possible,” the statement added. In addition, the Taliban said they would welcome the government negotiators any time they want to visit.