ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR  - Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) intermediary, Professor Muhammad Ibrahim, on Monday said they had handed over the list of Taliban prisoners to Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

He said Taliban did not make a demand, but suggested to the government to release non-combatants – women, children and elderly people. He added the suggestion was aimed at making the atmosphere conducive to talks.

He said the Taliban had prepared a 300-person list of women and children of TTP members, assumed to be into the custody of the law-enforcement agencies, and the same had been handed over to the interior minister. He added most of these women and children belonged to the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Ibrahim said three places were still under consideration for a joint meeting of the government and Taliban Shura, but he could not disclose the names.

“The issue of general amnesty will also be considered in the direct talks,” Prof Ibrahim said, presiding over a Jamaat-e-Islami provincial executive body meeting at Al-Markaz-e-Islami.

On the other hand, a member of the government negotiating committee, Rustam Shah Mohmand, said no decision had so far been made for a meeting of the government members and Taliban Shura. Rustam said the list of women and children had not been received as yet.

“Taliban want direct talks in Mehsud area of South Waziristan Agency and demand troops’ withdrawal from there. If it is not possible for the security forces to vacate the whole Mehsud area, they should withdraw from Ladha and Makeen tehsils of South Waziristan Agency,” Prof Ibrahim who returned a few days back after holding a meeting with Taliban political shura in North Waziristan Agency said.

He claimed that during their recent meeting with Taliban’s political shura they demanded release of Islamia College University Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan.

“Taliban shura has yet to respond to us as they didn’t reject the demand,” he said. “We will also talk to Taliban shura for the release of the sons of former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and the slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer,” he asserted.

“This list (of prisoners) is not final. The Taliban may give another list of more people. In this regard, they suggested if the government has any doubt about the list, they should form a probe commission that could visit the affected areas and collect the accurate data,” he said.

Kh Asif trying to sabotage peace process, says TTP

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Monday alleged Defence Minister Khwaja Asif was trying to jeopardise the negotiation process through negative statements.

TTP Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid issued a statement in reaction to Khwaja Asif’s statement in which he had said there were no women and children into the custody of the security forces.

The TTP spokesman said if the minister even did not know the exact location and number of secret detention centres in various parts of the country, how he could give exact number and categories of detainees there.

He said this was a reality that security and intelligence forces had established secret detention centres in various parts of the country, including Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. Moreover, he said, the government was providing legal cover to these detention centres in the name of defence of the country through Pakistan Protection Ordinance.

“Will the defence minister tell the nation how many missing people have so far been produced in courts under the PPO? The TTP, as evidence, has provided a list of non-combatant prisoners to its committee. Now it’s up to the government committee to examine it. We will give names of more prisoners if there is progress in the talks,” he said.

Perhaps, there was confusion in the government camp over the peace negotiations, Shahidullah Shahid said, adding it appeared the defence minister wanted to sabotage the peace process on the direction of foreign powers.