PESHAWAR - The government has agreed on phase-wise release of non-combatant Taliban prisoners, member of government negotiation team Rustam Shah Mohmand said on Monday.

"Both government and Taliban have detainees in their custody but do not have their exact number. The government will gradually release all non-combatant prisoners," he said told the media here. Besides exchange of prisoners, he said the issue of polio vaccination would also be placed on the agenda of second round of direct talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shura.

Government committee would also ask Taliban to announce permanent ceasefire, which is key to continuation of peace talks, he said. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has extended the ceasefire to April 10.

As a good will gesture, the government last week released 19 non-combatant prisoners of Mehsud tribe, while it has also been reported that some 13 more prisoners would be freed before the second round of talks. Rustam Shah said that with the environment of trust and confidence, the later rounds of talks would be held in nearby areas.

Taliban named mediator Professor Ibrahim Khan has said that a meeting between government negotiating committee and the Taliban shura is expected to take place somewhere in tribal areas. He said that the venue of talks hasn’t yet been decided but it would be finalised in next two to three days.

He said that Taliban committee is in contact with Taliban leadership to finalise the details of next meeting and situation about the second face-to-face encounter would be cleared soon.

He said the first meeting was very positive and he vowed all-out efforts to ensure success of the peace negotiations, stressing that peace can only be restored through talks.