ISLAMABAD - The government negotiators on Friday told the TTP panel’s head, Maulana Samiul Haq, and his associates that dialogue cannot succeed amid terror activities and any future violence could wrap up the peace process.
The government panel and the Taliban-nominated committee exchanged these views in one-hour-long dialogue held at KPK House and agreed in their joint communiqué that attacks from either side would be harmful for peace talks.
Sources said the government side told the TTP-nominated committee that PM Nawaz Sharif was under immense pressure from national and international community to retaliate to the TTP attacks and any future terror incident could shatter the entire process.
The TTP's committee head, the sources said, was a bit unwilling to issue a joint statement, but was, later, convinced as the words “use of force from either side could disrupt the peace process” were included in it.
Talking to The Nation, a TTP committee member said Shahidullah Shahid made a telephone call and briefly discussed the matter regarding ceasefire. "Yes, TTP spokesman made a telephone during the meeting,” he asserted. To a question, he said all important things had clearly been mentioned in the joint statement.
Both the committees, in the joint statement, agreed that any kind of anti-peace activities should be stopped without any delay. The government side, including Adviser on National Affairs Irfan Siddique, Rahimullah Yusufzai, former ambassador and expert on Afghanistan affairs, Rustam Shah Mohmand, and former ISI official Maj (r) Amir Shah, citing the reference of Karachi suicide incident, made it clear that talks and bloodshed could not go side by side. The TTP-nominated committee was asked to convey this message to TTP to stop such activities.
Agreeing with the government negotiators, the TTP panel said the government should also not go for the option of use of force. JUI-S Chairman Maulana Samiul Haq, JUI-S member Maulana Yousaf Shah and Professor Ibrahim participated in the meeting.
Later, talking to media persons, TTP panel head Maulana Samiul Haq expressed the hope that truce would be announced in the coming two days.
“We are making all-out efforts for ceasefire between the government and TTP,” he said, adding they would also try to avoid a deadlock-like situation in talks. He further said it would take some time to stop over 12-year-war in this region.
Samiul Haq said they would also hold a detailed meeting with ulema in Lahore on Saturday (today) to discuss some important matters.
Meanwhile, the sources said both the committee members did not discuss the conditions set by Taliban, but the TTP committee expressed strong reservations to the government side for issuing a letter to media people before sharing with them. The sources said the government side assured them of taking care of such matters in future for successful peace talks.
It is relevant here the government side, through a letter, conveyed that terrorist attacks across the country once again were affecting the talks. The TTP team was asked to first halt attacks for meaningful peace talks.
JUI-S Chairman Maulana Samiul Haq expressed a strong reservation, saying the government representative committee should avoid conducting media trial of the peace negotiations.
It would not be out of place to mention here that the recent suicide attack in Karachi by TTP had created some difficulty for both the committees to handle the situation as the government is continuously facing immense pressure to strongly retaliate the attack.
Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar had also reportedly made it clear that dialogue and terrorism could not go together. Adopting almost the same line, the government negotiators, after a thorough deliberation, reached consensus to convey TTP through its committee to stop anti-peace activities without any delay. Earlier, the government team had also not fulfilled some of the demands of TTP-nominated committee like their meeting with the chief of army staff and DG ISI.