ISLAMABAD - The government is considering releasing non-combatant Taliban prisoners, but it would not accommodate any unconstitutional demand from the militants.
This transpired Thursday during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a 10-member delegation of Pakistan Ulema Council led by Allama Tahir Ashrafi.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the government does not want any bloodshed in the country and is serious in resolving issues through dialogue and reconciliation.
In addition to the dialogue with Taliban, matters relating to the Karachi operation and the overall law and order situation were also discussed in the meeting.
Both sides agreed that the entire nation is facing challenges and an agreement was made to continue working for peace.
On the occasion, the prime minister said all matters should be settled amicably without the use of force. The prime minister reiterated that the government is serious in talks with Taliban with a clear objective of restoring peace to the country.
He said demands of Taliban for peace are under consideration which will be discussed by the new government committee. However‚ no demand against constitution or law will be met, he added.
The prime minister urged the ulema (religious scholars) to play a positive role in improving Pakistan's credibility.
The prime minister told ulema that he was devoted to overcoming the challenges faced by Pakistan. Nawaz said the government was playing its role for peace and harmony and ulema from all sects should do the same.
Talking to media after meeting with the prime minister, Maulana Ashrafi said the Ulema Council lauded the PM's initiative for peace and elimination of terrorism. “We have demanded the government release non militant prisoners as this would give a positive message.”
Ashrafi quoted the PM as saying that the government is considering releasing non-combatant Taliban prisoners.
During the meeting, the PM pointed out that extremism could be eradicated from society by following the true spirit of Islam.
Nawaz assured the government's all-out support to the Ulema who are playing their role to advance the cause of peace and harmony in the country.
Allama Tahir Ashrafi said that the process of negotiations with Taliban made a headway with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s personal interest. He assured the PM of full support by the Pakistan Ulema Council and added that the PM's desire for peace and his political acumen was reflective of his sincerity for the country.
The Ulema Council chairman also expressed support for the government's foreign policy and its efforts to eradicating polio from the country.