ISLAMABAD - Since the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has so far refused to extend ceasefire, the government peace dialogue players are foreseeing a deadlock in peace dialogue, stating trust deficit and delay in meeting with TTP Shura as major factors behind it.
The deadlock in peace talks still could be avoided only by holding an immediate meeting with TTP Shura, as extraordinary delay has badly messed up the smooth process. The improper handling of TTP negotiations team for their delay in arranging proper rendezvous during the truce period has created suspicions and trust deficit in the minds of TTP Shura, said a government negotiation committee member, desiring not to be named.
The TTP Shura, despite being engaged in resolving the infighting of pro-peace and anti-peace groups, was willing to hold a meeting with government negotiation team members but the delay caused a major blow. “Now they are expressing annoyance even on a little matters,” he felt, indicating that despite the assurance of interior minister to put the things on track, still progress is not evident.
About the agenda of the possible meeting with TTP Shura, a government committee member said the government negotiation committee members would now focus on extending the truce as other important matters could be discussed only after extension in the ceasefire.
Having almost same reservations, another senior member of the government committee, Rustam Shah Mohmand, shared that the trust deficit and deadlock could still be avoided by putting the things on fast track. “We can win back the trust to extend truce and other matters by holding an immediate meeting,” said Mohmand talking to this scribe.
It is relevant to mention here that the TTP after the gap of 40- day truce had refused to extend ceasefire, expressing concerns over the alleged killing of their 50 detained members during this time period. However, TTP spokesman Shahidulla Shah assured to continue dialogue with the government.
The TTP negotiating team member Prof. Ibrahim is optimistic about convincing TTP for further extension in ceasefire.
The government had recently freed the TTP prisoners ostensibly aiming to build trust with the militants. The possible release of the noncombatant prisoners was being considered as a positive development to pave the way for release of Peshawar Islamia College University Vice Chancellor Dr Ajmal as well as the sons of the late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and ex-PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, but now it depends on the upcoming meeting between TTP Shura and government committee.
The source said the TTP members might also demand release of their combatant prisoners in return for extension in the truce at a meeting, if held, between the two sides.