ISLAMABAD - The peace parleys between the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have reached the brink of breakdown and complete silence from both the sides over the recent acts of violence by the militants as well as launch of fresh offensive against them by the army in the restive areas have portrayed a grim picture about the fate and future of the dialogue.
The information gathered from the Taliban-nominated peace panel and sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and those aware of the developments taking place on this front showed that the stalemate in the talks had pushed the things to the verge of break-up of the whole initiative with both the sides holding each other responsible for the deadlock.
There was a complete silence from the government peace committee while the Taliban-nominated peace panel was putting the blame of the deadlock on the government and defending Taliban Shura which, according to them, was still ready to continue with the peace dialogue.
Sources in the Taliban-nominated committee said the government was entangled in other problems and not in contact with them, so how their next meeting with the militants could be arranged quickly, adding now the ball was in the government’s court and fate of the talks would completely depend on their response.
The sources further said if the indifference on part of the government continued toward the peace parleys, the Taliban-nominated peace committee would be left with no choice but to bring the whole matter before the people of Pakistan.
The sources aware of the developments on this front said the talks between the two sides were deadlocked since the withdrawal of the ceasefire by Tehreek-e-Taliban Shura and Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan had made it clear to the Taliban-nominated panel that in the absence of the ceasefire no serious dialogue with the militants was possible.
After the clear stance of the government, another meeting between the two sides had taken place under the chair of the federal interior minister at which the Taliban-nominated panel, headed by Maulana Samiul Haq, came up with the assurance that they would persuade Taliban Shura to re-announce ceasefire before the next face-to-face meeting between the two sides.
But since then there has been a complete silence from both the sides and, according to the coordinator of Taliban-nominated panel, Moulana Yousuf Shah, Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan could not be approached during the past several days and now the continuation of peace talks wholly depended on response from the government.
He admitted that the recent acts of terror and the launch of the operation in North and South Waziristan had made things difficult, but insisted that Taliban Shura was still ready to continue with the peace parleys.
However, another Taliban peace panel member, Prof Ibrahim, seemed a bit pessimistic about the fate of the peace process, particularly in the face of the ongoing operation in the troubled areas where people are facing a lot of hardships due to curfew and arrest of what he termed innocent people.
Putting a tacit blame on the government for its failure to meet the demand of noncombatant prisoners’ release, Prof Ibrahim said that both the sides should come up with concrete steps for revival of peace talks which right now are facing a deadlock-like situation.
The sources further said that the last contact of the government with the Taliban-nominated peace panel was through Maj (r) Amir who held a detailed meeting with Maulana Samiul Haq along with other members of the government peace committee at his seminary and asked him to press Taliban Shura to re-announce ceasefire for resumption of the peace talks.
Commenting on Maj (r) Amir’s visit to Akora Khattak, Maulana Yousuf Shah said he was unaware of the details of that meeting, but spoke high of Maj (r) Amir for his sincerity and commitment toward the peace process.