ISLAMABAD - The committees of the government and Taliban will hold crucial meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan today (Saturday) to decide host of issues, especially selection of venue for the next meeting between the government committee and TTP Shura.

“The meeting with Interior Minister will decide venue to hold crucial talks with TTP Shura,” TTP negotiation committee member Prof Ibrahim told The Nation.

“The upcoming meeting will deliberate the way to put forward demand to release Vice Chancellor Islamia College University Peshawar Dr Ajmal, Shahbaz Taseer and Haider Gilani with TTP Shura,” said Ibrahim, dispelling the impression of any specific purpose to postpone scheduled meeting between the Taliban and government committees with the interior minister.

About extension in the ceasefire that expired on March 31, he said they would take benefit of extended date of truce to quickly sort out plethora of issues. The TTP has extended their ceasefire until April 10 in order to give the government time to release prisoners and pull back its troops. The government has recently released 19 TTP prisoners to build trust and 70 more would likely be freed shortly. They would not delay holding meeting with TTP Shura, as they have to settle many issues during the extended truce timeframe, said Ibrahim.

However, when contacted, Habibullah Khattak, head of government’s negotiation committee/secretary ports and shipping, remained tight-lipped to share future course of action.

Sources said that selection of venue for talks with TTP Shura would entirely be different from previous location due to certain reasons. “The venue of the meeting will never be the same in the upcoming meetings with TTP Shura,” they added.

Sources said the meeting between the government committee and TTP Shura will be held next week. “In this meeting some of matter would be decided,” they added. Talking to this scribe, the government’ negotiation committee member Rustam Shah Mohmand termed the release of 19 TTP prisoners as a positive gesture.

“The government committee will now be in a strong position to demand release of Dr Ajmal and others,” he said, adding that there should be no delay in holding meeting with TTP Shura.

Analysts believed that the government was intending to release non-combatant Taliban prisoners in a couple of days, while the TTP side could also demand for the release of combatant TTP prisoners in the upcoming meeting.

It is relevant here that the trust deficit and contributory factors played a role in delaying the finalisation of venue for peace talks between the government and TTP committees in previous meeting.