LAHORE - The upcoming new government committee, which is to hold direct talks with the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is most likely to be led by a senior official of country’s premier secret service with the assistance of other new members, The Nation has learnt.
While the services of at least one member of the existing government committee, Rustam Shah Mohmand, are to be continued in the renewed process of dialogue, chances of continuation of Major (r) Amir is also under consideration, well-placed sources told this correspondent on Friday.
Sources said that a Major General, who is a deputy of the ISI’s director general and already looking after the affairs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Pak-Afghan border areas, was mostly likely to be included in the new team.
When asked about the inclusion of man in khaki, they said that General Officer Commanding (GOC) of North Waziristan Agency could be involved in the resumed peace process. They said that government think tanks were of the opinion that no harm would come to peace process if it is led by state’s premier intelligence service and assisted by new members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata along with the experienced Rustam Shah Mohmand under the supervision of interior minister.
Senior government committee member Rustam Shah Mohmand, when contacted, said, “I will go wherever the government asks me to for restoring peace in the volatile region and make every effort to restore peace in the land I live.” Talking about the inclusion of member of the military establishment in the new team, he said, “I think that he would be from the senior ISI cadre, of a position not less than Major General, while the military commander of the tribal agency concerned can also be involved in the process at the same time.”
When asked about criticism from some political quarters of military’s involvement in the peace process, Mohmand said, “Pak Army has strong contacts and linkages in the tribal region for long and military’s direct involvement in the dialogue process will surely prove helpful in securing durable peace.” He said that Taliban themselves had demanded in the past for involving the military in the dialogue process, as they feel that no conclusive agreement could be reached between the two sides without involving the military establishment.
Mohmand, who is a senior former diplomat and served in Afghanistan during crisis period, said that the government should pursue the renewed peace process with utmost secrecy to avoid negative propaganda by anti-talks quarters as it spreads confusion among the masses, especially the people of the volatile Fata. Refusing to share anything about agenda of the upcoming engagement with the TTP, he said, “I think the matters to be taken up between the government and the TTP should be kept secret till both the parties reach on some kind of agreement.”
Meanwhile, the plan to include members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata in the government peace team was earlier pondered upon in the second week of February, as some senior members of the existing government peace committee were of the opinion that Fata notable and representatives of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be included in the committee to make it more indigenous and acceptable to the locals.