LAHORE - The dialogue process between the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has been initiated, confirmed a senior government official, adding that the move has started paying off.
Similarly, the TTP has also confirmed the initial contacts between them and the government of Pakistan.
Talking to BBC the official said, on the condition of anonymity, that the government had been doing its ‘homework’ prior to the start of dialogues. However, the official would not speak about the kind of dividends the dialogues has started to pay. He said that the negative fallout of the killing of TTP leader Maulvi Waliur Rehman in a US drone attack is over. “It took a lot of efforts to put the dialogue process back on track,” he added.
Asked how the recent dialogues were different from the previous ones, the official just said, “You’ll see it.”
On the other hand, a leading Taliban said, on the condition of anonymity, that the initial talks covered different issues including putting an end to sectarian attacks and abandoning links with outfits such as Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
According to the BBC report, the Taliban are of the view that anti-Pakistan groups are under pressure to strike a peace deal with Islamabad so that they could prepare themselves after Nato troops quit Afghanistan in 2014.
It is for the first time that the PML-N government has confirmed its contacts with Taliban.
The report said this may mean that the government has seemingly managed to persuade the Taliban not to carry out terror activities. The suicide attack on a funeral in the Quetta Police Lines was the last major strike by Taliban. According to the report, the contacts seem to be at the initial stages as the government is also chalking out a national anti-terrorism policy. The government officials are of the view that almost all major political parties of the country are being consulted in this connection. The anti-terrorism policy would be announced in a few weeks, said official sources, adding that the dialogues have been the first option.
The report read that Islamabad-based western diplomatic sources are of the view that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and COAS Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani are on the same page that there is space for dialogues if extremists are ready to accept Pakistan’s constitution and truce offer. “It (constitution) is the redline whose violation is not acceptable for both sides (PM and COAS),” the report quoted an unnamed diplomat as saying.