ISLAMABAD - The efforts for direct talks between the government and Taliban hit a snag over the venue issue as TTP wants the meeting to take place in South Waziristan while government wishes it to be held in the settled areas.
Samiul Haq, head of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan nominated committee, along with other members of the body met with Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday but they could not finalise the rendezvous for government and TTP committees’ maiden direct contact.
Sources informed The Nation that TTP Shura had proposed a meeting point in the outskirts of Wana, while government wanted the meeting in the peripheries of South Waziristan, somewhere around Bannu, where government writ is relatively stronger.
But TTP named committee coordinator Yusuf Shah dispelled the impression of a deadlock between the two sides on the meeting place and time. When contacted, he said these issues would be resolved while hopefully progress would also be made on other matters when the Taliban would sit across the table with the new government committee.
He said that committee head Samiul Haq briefed the interior minister about their meeting with TTP Shura and both the leaders agreed to fast track the peace parleys by showing their sincerity to the process. To a question about their expected meeting with government committee, Yusuf Shah said that they would again be requiring consultation with TTP Shura and hoped that after having a word with them in next day or so the two sides would meet sometime next week.
According to the brief details given about the meeting by interior ministry, Nisar wanted to expedite the peace process so that the anti-talks elements could not sabotage it. He said that prime minister and their government would respond with all sincerity to the positive steps on part of TTP.
Expressing his concern over the violation of ceasefire by some elements, which were involved in disruptive activities, Sami said that TTP leadership was making efforts to identify and locate these elements for accountability. They said that Sami and his team members expressed their optimism that they would get the one-month ceasefire announced by militants extended up to indefinite period, once the formal parleys begin.
Sources aware of the deliberations informed The Nation that as the government was not ready to send its representatives to Wana, where Taliban still have a strong presence, it has therefore proposed meeting with TTP Shura members on some other place, preferably somewhere around Bannu. And, that was the reason the TTP committee members would be requiring fresh consultation on the matter with the TTP leadership.
At least 21 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in two separate incidents of terrorism in the capitals of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces on Friday. An increasingly active Taliban splinter group Ahrarul Hind claimed responsibility for the attacks. But Sami told media on the other day that TTP leadership has condemned these attacks, calling it a conspiracy to derail the peace process.