ISLAMABAD - In the wake of continuous terrorist activities, the four-member government peace committee has demanded the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan announce unconditional ceasefire before they resume peace talks.
The committee comprising Special Assistant to Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui, Rahimullah Yousafzai, Maj (retd) Amir and Rustam Shah Mohmand reviewed the situation and reached at the conclusion that in the given situation when militants were continuing with their disruptive activities, peace talks with the TTP could be of no use.
Later, the committee members held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed him about their inability to hold peace talks until the TTP comes up with unilateral announcement of cessation of hostilities and effective implementation of truce.
The PM appreciated the efforts made by the committee members and directed the committee to continue with their mutual consultation process and assistance to the government.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed The Nation that Prime Minister had fully endorsed the decision of the committee to discontinue talks till the time the TTP leadership come up with tangible measures to show their seriousness toward the negotiated settlement of the issue.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting of the four-member government committee and later the meeting held in Prime Minister House informed that government committee would put some other demands before the TTP nominated committee led by Moulana Samiul Haq for resumption of talks which may include release of captives in their custody and their dissociation from the groups, which were averse to negotiations so that proper military action could be taken against these miscreants.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister House, the government committee briefed Nawaz Sharif and told him that during the 13-day process of talks several acts of violence took place killing a number of people.
The government committee said attacks in Karachi and killing of FC personnel in Mohmand Agency had a negative impact on efforts to restore peace in the country.
The meeting of the four members of the government dialogue committee and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held in Islamabad.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid were present in the meeting.
Committee’s coordinator Irfan Siddiqui briefed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about reservations to proceed with the dialogue process until the Taliban took concrete measures and announced a ceasefire.
The committee informed the prime minister that the Taliban would have to stop their activities for the dialogue process to be result oriented.
The committee further said that the talks were progressing satisfactorily until the Taliban-claimed blast was carried out in Karachi on Feb 13. The blast had targeted a police bus near Razzaqabad.
The committee had also sought an explanation from the outlawed militant organisation but before one could be given the Mohmand incident took place.
Following these developments, the committee members had unanimously decided that holding the scheduled talks with the Taliban committee was a meaningless effort.
The committee members also said that they had been patient but the reaction from other side was discouraging with the continuance of violent activities.
The situation has completely changed after the Mohmand incident and the committee is unable to continue peace talks until the Taliban cease all violent activities, the members added.
Premier Sharif appreciated the performance of the committee and instructed the members to continue consultations among themselves.
Agencies add: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said that various groups of the TTP have been contacted regarding a decision on ceasefire.
Shahid also said that a decision will be made soon, adding that the TTP is taking the ongoing peace negotiations seriously. Regarding the killings of the 23 Frontier Corps (FC) men, the TTP spokesperson stated that an explanation regarding the killings is necessary.
Shahid also said that the issue will be discussed at a meeting of the TTP shura, adding that such incidents need to be avoided for the success of the peace talks.
Meawnhile, another report said that the TTP shura contacted the intermediary committee for the first time since the deadlock. The report quoted Professor Mohammad Ibrahim, who is one of the members of the TTP committee, as saying this. Professor Ibrahim said that he was in contact with the TTP shura via telephone and discussed the killings of the 23 Frontier Corps (FC) men with them.
Online news agency quoted its sources as saying that the government side discussed three conditions/demands to be presented before banned TTP: 1-The militants should immediately announce and initiate ceasefire and end all terror activities. 2-The TTP must own or disown other allied groups targeting forces and civilians so that the government can single them out for action against them. 3-The militants must release all high-profile captives, including son former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, son of slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Peshawar Islamia College’s Principal Prof Ajmal.