Published On: Wed, Mar 26th, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad

Govt committee, Taliban shura meeting postponed due to bad weather

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ISLAMABAD/BANNU: The first direct meeting between the government committee and political shura of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has been cancelled due to bad weather.

The meeting was likely to be held on Tuesday at an undisclosed location in FR Bannu.

Member of Taliban committee Maulana Samiul Haq said that the meeting was likely to be held today but was postponed as it was impossible to reach the decided location via helicopter due to bad weather.

It is worth mentioning here that Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan chaired a meeting of government’s negotiation committee in Islamabad on Monday.

The agenda of the proposed direct talks with the leadership of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was discussed during the meeting.

Director General Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Zaheerul Islam also attended the meeting.

The meeting also discussed matter of giving mandate of immediate decisions to the government negotiation committee. The members of the committee proposed to complete the process of negotiation within as earlier as possible.

The government and Taliban coordinating committees had also met in Punjab House Islamabad on last Saturday in a session chaired by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Participants included Rustam Shah Mohmand, Arbab Arif, Habibullah Khattak and Fawad Hussain from government’s side, and Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Yousaf and Professor Ibrahim from Taliban’s coordinating committee.

Maulana Samiul Haq, while talking to Private TV, had said that Yousaf Shah had a contact with Taliban and that a location had been recommended by Taliban side. Samiul Haq had said that the location was to be finalized after coordinating with government only.

The issue about release of prisoners also came under discussion during the meeting.

Samiul Haq said that the meeting was concluded in a pleasant manner while confirming the mutually agreed upon location. He further said that the talks will begin in 2 or 3 days on the decided location.

Pakistan is facing almost a decade old insurgency at the hands of Taliban factions grouped under umbrella of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The new governing parties including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) had campaigned in elections in favour of resolving the years old conflict through dialogue.

The ruling party secured a vote of confidence in favour of dialogue through a session of All Parties Conference (APC) and to act on the recommendation upon willingness from Taliban, committees to represent both government and Taliban were formed and the process continued.

However, all negotiations stalled as a number of civilians and military personnel were brutalized whose responsibility was claimed by Taliban.

Following a number of air strikes by Pakistan military, Taliban agreed to a month-long ceasefire which was later reciprocated by the government.

Government also dissolved the existing committees emphasizing the need of moving forward the negotiations to next phase by restructuring the existing government committee to hold ‘direct talks’.