ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR - The Taliban proposed peace committee Monday claimed the dialogue with Taliban leadership was ‘very positive’ and soon the nation would hear ‘good news’.
The peace negotiators refuted that banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has made any demands averse to the country’s constitution but they refused to reveal any details, saying it could harm the initiative.
On the other hand, TTP spokesman Shahuidullah Shahid warned the government against placing ‘unnecessary conditions’ that are ‘difficult to accept’ but he said both sides have agreed to provide a favourable environment for the talks and the process will be gradually carried forward with patience as they were in no rush for it, according to a media report.
TTP-nominated peace negotiator Prof Ibrahim and the committee coordinator Yousuf Shah and Abdul Haseeb, a representative of the team leader Samiul Haq, went to North Wazirstan on a two-day trip and hold meetings with Taliban Shura leaders to convey government conditions for talks and receive TTP’s response. The Taliban-named committee is now expected to meet with the four-member government team most probably on Wednesday to formally convey the Taliban reply.
The dialogue with the Taliban was positive and its details would be discussed with the government in a day or two, JUI-S leader Samiul Haq told the media on Monday in Akora Khattak after meeting with Ibrahim and Yousuf who returned from NWA on a helicopter.
Sami said a ‘breakthrough’ has been made with a consensus decision to hold talks within the framework of the constitution. He said Taliban shura addressed all of the government demands. He said, “It is a national issue it should not be dealt emotionally. The media should observe restraint.”
Yusuf Shah on this occasion also said that meaningful talks were held with the Taliban, who responded positively and “we are hopeful that process would move ahead”. He said there were four to five drones hovering around in the area upon their arrival for talks in NWA.
Taliban’s negotiation committee member Professor Ibrahim Khan said that the dialogue process has entered into a sensitive phase and soon the nation will hear ‘good news’. “Taliban reacted positively and soon the country will become a place of peace and tranquillity,” Ibrahim said while addressing a news conference in Peshawar on Monday. He said Taliban have sought explanation and clarifications on certain matters.
Prof Ibrahim said the claims by the media about 15 demands made by the Taliban were all speculations. He also indicated that Taliban would agree to hold talks under the constitution as it was a document approved by a large number of prominent religious leaders including the late Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani and Mufti Mehmood.
“Though, certain anti-state elements want to sabotage peace process but we will not let them succeeded in their designs.“ He however said, “We too have reservations regarding the constitution of the country, as there are certain clauses in it that are contrary to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, like the Qisas in which only legal hairs of the deceased have the right to pardon of the killer but in constitution the President can have the power to pardon the killer.
Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz, who has walked out of the peace team demanding a prior assurance on enforcement of sharia, said TTP has no urgency to reach an agreement with government. He in an interview with foreign media said, “The Taliban are most interested in implementing Sharia. You should know that at the moment they (TTP) have at least 400 to 500 female suicide bombers... The US military presence in Afghanistan is a very small factor in the fight... If the (Pakistan) military has weapons and air power, they (Taliban) have suicide bombers. You cannot match them. Suicide bombers even destroyed the power of America in Afghanistan,” he asserted. “It’s the law of nature that when people don’t get their rights, they pick up arms,” he said.
In other related news, political administration officials reached Peshawar and held a meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah and apprised him of the progress on peace talks. Federal Minister for Interior Ch Nisar Ali also met him on Monday and said the government is sincerely pursuing the path of dialogue and wishes to see this process a success. The governor said a positive start has been made and government was geared towards making the process a success.