ISLAMABAD - Giving the peace process another try, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government on Tuesday tasked JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq with initiating talks with the Taliban.
According to sources in the party, Samiul Haq was given the green signal by Premier Nawaz Sharif in a one-on-one meeting at the Prime Minister’s House.
The fresh attempt for talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan by the incumbent government comes after the death of Taliban head Hakimullah Mehusd in a drone strike in the tribal belt. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar decried the US strike as a deliberate attempt to ‘sabotage’ the peace process.
Sources said Prime Minister Sharif asked Haq to make all-out efforts to pave the way for talks with the Taliban as his government wanted a peaceful solution. Haq assured the premier of his cooperation for early talks with the Taliban. He also highlighted the stumbling blocks to peace talks, notably the foreign pressure.
A press communiqué said both Prime Minister Sharif and JUI-S chief Haq remained together for some time and discussed matters of national importance.
When contacted the spokesperson for JUI-S said the party would make all-out efforts to resolve this issue. “The Taliban, government and army could jointly resolve this issue,” he said, adding that they would see the reaction before moving along.
Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike, had expressed interest in peace talks, but PML-N government’s efforts dashed when he got killed.
The idea of holding peace talks with the Taliban is controversial in Pakistan because the deals made in the past have largely fallen apart.
JUI-F AGAINST SAMI’S ROLE
Since the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assigned the task to JUI-S chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq to initiate peace talks with Taliban, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam led by Fazlur Rahman has expressed reservation, saying the individual cannot resolve this issue.
Expressing some doubts over these efforts, JUI-F considers any individual or politician could not resolve this issue, as it needs to involve Jirga.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), in a bid to help PML-N government by the mid of last month (November), which has halted its efforts for peace talks with TTP for some weeks, had proposed to reconvene the Tribal Jirga of FATA to jumpstart the peace process.
“We have advised for Jirga involvement that would help the government guide its efforts for reconciliation,” said JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai talking to The Nation. He even went on to say that this new effort could prove recipe to fail the possible peace talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “This cannot be solved by Maulana Fazl or Maulana Sami as it is clear that individuals can not resolve this issue,” he added.
It would not be out of place to mention here that JUI-F had also proposed that third party will not be allowed to hijack the national bid to seek peace and reconciliation.
The religio-political party chief had viewed that the drone strike halted peace process with the Taliban and now there is a dire need to seek new ways to resume the dialogue process. Maulana had also proposed that without involving the people of FATA, there could be no effective mechanism for talks with the Taliban.
JUI-F being a coalition partner of PML-N had earlier proposed a blueprint of the mechanism for peace talks with TTP but could not get satisfactory response to adopt a suggestive path. Fazl had also been pushing the PML-N government for the last two weeks to convene All Parties Conference (APC) on the ongoing situation but could not receive explicit nod on it.
On the other hand, JUI-S chief Maulana Sami Ul-Haq spokesman shared with this scribe that JUI-F had no significant contacts with Taliban to resolve this issue. “JUI-S chief will make all-out efforts in this regard,” he said, adding that there was no doubt that negotiation was the last solution of this issue.
He further said that JUI-S would deliberate the matter in length before proceeding to initiate peace talks with Taliban.
The PM has been meeting various political and religious leaders to start the negotiation process with the militants.
INP adds: Interior Minister Nisar Khan meanwhile said the country’s prestige was being kept during the process of talks with the Taliban.
In his address during an event in Islamabad on Tuesday‚ the minister said there was a procedure for the process which was being maintained.
Khan said the dialogue process was also underway in Balochistan and the chief minister was the focal person for it.