PESHAWAR - Jamiat Ulemai Islam-Sami (JUI-S) Chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq Sunday said that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would soon announce its another nine-member committee to hold peace talks with the government’s committee.

He went on to say that the five-member committee suggested by the TTP of which he is too a member would facilitate peace talks between the government and the Taliban. Other members of the committee proposed by the TTP are PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Abdul Aziz, Chief Khateeb of Red Mosque in Islamabad, Prof Mohammad Ibrahim, Chief of Jamaat-i-Islami in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Mufti Kifayatullah, a former MPA of JUI-F.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq said that he contacted PTI Chief Imran Khan, urging him to accept the offer and join the team of mediators, adding if Imran Khan refused to play his part as a mediator then his credibility would be damaged.

About Taliban committee for peace talks with the government, he said that Taliban would soon announce it committee for holding talks government formed committee.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, who claims to have close ties with Taliban has a week ago clearly denied to act as a government-backed peace broker with TTP after 40 suspected militants were killed in airstrikes in North Waziristan Agency.

According to Maulana Haq, who was given the task of initiating peace talks with Taliban in December by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said that government did not seem serious and concerned. I had requested them to avoid a military operation and use of force but it started bombing in Waziristan. 

The government announced its talks policy in September and began making preliminary contact with the Taliban’s leadership but sabotaged by a US drone strike killed then-TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud in November last.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Affairs and Coordinator of Peace Dialogue Committee Irfan Siddiqui on Sunday welcomed announcement of five-member committee by Taliban for negotiations with government. According to media reports, Imran Khan distanced himself from Taliban, saying that the groups should select its own representatives for talks with the government.

Irfan Siddiqui hailed constitution of Taliban committee as ‘positive’ step for peace and expressed hope that the dialogue process would start soon. On Jan. 30, PM Nawaz Sharif named journalists Irfan Siddiqui and Rahimullah Yusufzai, Maj (Retd) Amir, a former operative of intelligence agency and former Pakistan’s ambassador in Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand.

PTI and JUI-F have convened its central executive committee meetings to decide whether Imran Khan and Mufti Kifayatullah should or not be part respectively of the TTP announced mediation committee. These meetings will take place today (Monday) in Islamabad.