ISLAMABAD- Pakistan's Taliban want a permanent ceasefire that would end their decade-long conflict with the government, a member of their negotiating team for peace talks said today. Professor Ibrahim Khan, who is a leading figure in the mainstream Jamaat-e-Islami party, met with the leadership of the militant coalition Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue of direct talks between the leadership and the government.
“This is the combined wish of the Taliban Shura (consultative body), and the negotiating committee to convert the one-month ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire,” Ibrahim told. The existing ceasefire was announced on March 1, following a 15-day deadlock in peace talks after two fatal attacks on security forces in February, which the army responded to with bombardments they claimed targeted militant hideouts.
“There is lack of trust between the two sides," said Ibrahim. “We [the negotiating team] are trying to convert the temporary ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire, as the Taliban want that too.” He said the TTP negotiating committee will meet with a newly-formed government committee in coming days to discuss direct talks. Ibrahim said the talks are likely to take place in South Waziristan because a rival militant group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, objected to the negotiations being held in North Waziristan.