PESHAWAR - Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) designated mediators arrived in North Waziristan Thursday and held first round of talks with Taliban leadership with the prime objective to finalise modalities for direct talks between government and the militant organisation, sources said.
The TTP named peace negotiation team members Prof Muhammad Ibrahim and Maulana Yousuf Shah left Peshawar on a special helicopter and reached Miranshah, headquarter of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) at 11:40am and proceeded to an unknown place for meeting with Taliban shura members.
The committee head, JUI-S Ameer Samiul Haq, is not accompanying the peace brokers however his party's NWA chief Abdul Hai went along with committee members. Abdul Hai, who runs a religious seminary at Khpalga area in the Agency, is a close associate of Sami, sources said.
Sources said that committee, which would try to pave way for a visit by the newly formed government committee to hold formal talks with the Taliban in near future, would also ask TTP shura to extend their one-month ceasefire. It would discuss with Taliban place and time for future round of direct talks with the government. Moreover, during the meetings, they would also review the progress made so far in the dialogue process, sources informed.
After first round of talks between the committee and TTP leadership, their meeting was adjourned till today (Friday) and it is expected that on the second day, both Taliban and its nominated committee members may conclude their meetings. And, in that case the committee may leave for Peshawar today. The TTP shura members who were reportedly present in the Thursday’s meeting were Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, Qari Shakeel, Azam Tariq, Shahidullah Shahid, Sajid Mohmand and Ihsanullah Ihsan.
Sources said that the meeting built consensus over several matters while the recommendation regarding extension in ceasefire was also put forward however the Taliban shura said the decision on it taken after their own consultation. It has also been learnt that next round of talks between Taliban shura and Taliban committee may take place in Azad Mandi FR Bannu.
Before leaving for North Waziristan from Peshawar, committee coordinator Yousuf Shah hoped that the nation would soon receive good news about the peace process. He said that second phase of talks for taking decisions has started. He said they are proceeding to finalise agenda and venue for direct dialogue between Taliban and the government committee.
On this occasion, Prof Ibrahim called upon the nation to pray for the success of dialogue. He said that entire nation was anxiously waiting for peace. He expressed his optimism that they would return with positive and fruitful results. Prof Ibrahim said the matter was not so simple as to be resolved in a flick of eye. "It is a big issue. It would take time," he remarked.
A day earlier, the federal government formed a new committee to open direct talks with Taliban in a bid to end a decade-long insurgency in the country. The new committee comprises Habibullah Khan Khattak, federal secretary sports; Arbab Muhammad Arif, additional chief secretary Fata, Fawad Hassan Fawad, additional secretary at PM office and PTI member Rustam Shah Mohmand, who has served as chief secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and ambassador to Afghanistan.