ISLAMABAD - The government peace dialogue players have started losing the hope about extension in the truce due to delay in their meeting with TTP Shura whereas the militants’ main groups are trying to end the infighting between the pro-peace and anti-peace elements.
The immediate meeting between the government and TTP Shura in two to three days could be the last resort for extension in the ceasefire date, which expired on April 10, a source privy to the development shared with The Nation. The TTP announced its first truce on March 1 for one month and later extended it till April 10 on April 4.
The pro-peace and anti-peace TTP main groups which are currently engaged in the infighting might not spare time for a crucial meeting with the government negotiation committee, he said.
The ongoing infighting between the pro-peace and anti-peace elements could also result in the change of the TTP Shura representatives in a couple of days, he viewed. He noted the TTP talks committee was currently facing plethora of difficulties to hold a meeting and even contact the TTP Shura’s representatives due to the militants’ internal strife.
The media reports have claimed that over 50 people have been killed in the two groups’ infighting in North Waziristan.
About the agenda of the meeting, he said the government negotiation committee members would now focus on extending the truce as other important matters could only be discussed after extension in the ceasefire. When contacted, government committee member Rustam Shah Mohmand said there was a need for a meeting between TTP Shura and the government peace committee members. “Announcement of extension in the ceasefire by TTP Shura is expected,” he said.
Having almost the same hopes, TTP team coordinator Maulana Yousuf Shah was upbeat about the meeting next week. “Although there are some hurdles, the meeting is likely to be held soon,” he said, adding they would present their demands to the TTP Shura at the upcoming meeting soon.
It is relevant to mention here that the government had recently freed the TTP prisoners ostensibly aiming to build trust with the militants.
The possible release of the noncombatant prisoners is being considered as a positive development to pave the way for release of Peshawar Islamai 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 it depends on the upcoming meeting.
The source said the TTP members might demand release of their combatant prisoners in return for extension in the truce at a meeting, if held, between the two sides.