LAHORE - The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has granted Jamiat JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq the authority to decide on ceasefire.

Haq is heading the TTP intermediary committee.

JUI-S secretary information Makhdoom Muhammad Asim said Taliban had given authority to Maulana Sami to announce ceasefire. If an accord is reached with the government, Maulana will announce ceasefire, added JUI-S leader.

On the other side, Taliban committee member Prof Ibrahim confirmed that Taliban had authorised Maulana Sami to announce ceasefire on their behalf. Prof Ibrahim cited Taliban as saying that ceasefire should be declared simultaneously from both the sides. Taliban also demanded that its men should not be killed in custody and their arrests be stopped forthwith.

The JUI-S leader said that the government had first demanded the Taliban to announce ceasefire from their side. He said talks with the Taliban should continue. He said Friday will be observed as 'Day of Prayers' in a hope to restore peace in the country. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif played his best role in peace talks.

The TTP had offered on February 19 to observe a ceasefire to allow the resumption of stalled peace talks, provided security forces stop killing and arresting its members. The offer came a day after a 4-member government negotiating committee suspended dialogue following a weekend claim by the TTP Mohmand chapter that it has executed 23 kidnapped paramilitary Frontier Corps troops.

 The government negotiators had set a ceasefire as a precondition for another round of talks.