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Committee briefs Nisar

The government committee tasked to hold direct talks with the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Shura on Thursday said that Taliban have given a positive gesture regarding the dialogue process and agreed to identify those groups who are hell-bent on ongoing sabotaging the negotiating process.

Sources said the government negotiation committee comprising federal secretaries Habibullah Khan and Fawad Hassan, additional chief secretary FATA Arbab Mohammad Arif, former ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand made these remarks while briefing Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan pertaining to the first face-to-face talks with Taliban in an unidentified area adjacent to North Waziristan. The Interior Minister was informed that the meeting would help build the trust between the government and Taliban, sources said.

They said the meeting between the government committee and Interior Minister discussed demands put forward by the TTP Shura during March 26 meeting. The TTP has demanded the release of about 300 'non-combatants'. The government committee said that they have informed Taliban that their women and children are not in the custody of the government, sources said. Sources said the meeting also discussed the agenda of the next phase of talks between the two sides. The TTP has also demanded an ease in the movement of its members and a decrease in military presence in the tribal areas in order to establish a peace zone, sources said.

They said the meeting between the government negotiators and members of Taliban Shura began at 11am and continued till 5:30pm. Both sides listened to each other's points of view with patience, as the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere," sources said. Sources said the government committee has demanded the release of Ajmal Khan, Vice-Chancellor of Islamia College University, Peshawar; Ali Haider Gilani, son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

Sources said the Minister Interior told the committee that all the information and details provided by the government committee would be taken up with the concerned quarters. The Minister further said that the government is keen to ensure peace only through a dialogue process, they said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014


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