ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to persuade Maulana Fazlur Rehman to play some role in dialogue process with Taliban, which is yet to start, it has been reliably learnt on Wednesday.
Sources in the government informed The Nation that Prime Minister Sharif wanted some active role of Maulana Fazlur Rehman in bringing Taliban on negotiation table and in this connection during their visit to Muzaffarabad on same helicopter to address the function organised there in connection with Kashmir Solidarity Day, Premier Sharif and Rehman discussed the issue at length.
Sources informed that Rehman was a bit annoyed over not taking them onboard by the government while making major decisions and asked Prime Minister Sharif to give them due respect and role as the junior coalition partner.
Premier Sharif pacified Rehman by saying that in future the government would take JUI-F into confidence in policy decisions and requested Rehman to use his good offices in making the dialogue process with Taliban fruitful.
Sources further said that both the leaders also discussed the possible expansion of the four-member government committee and a few names also came under discussion. However, Rehman had turned down the offer of the government to join the negotiation team or give any of his representatives for making the committee more effective.
Sources further informed that Rehman has not made any commitment with the Prime Minister in this regard and insisted to remain neutral in the whole exercise. He, however, insisted that the forum of grand tribal Jirga should be used for brokering peace with Taliban and expressed his pessimism about the success of ongoing peace dialogue with Taliban.
A few days back Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had announced a five members committee to negotiate with the government team for bringing peace to the restive tribal areas, but soon after the announcement of the committee JUI-F had not only dissociated itself from the dialogue process but also withdrew one of its party central leaders Mufti Kifayatullah, nominated by TTP in their team.