LAHORE - The politicians whom the Taliban consider trustworthy have deferred their response on their latest overture of seeking guarantees from them as a pre-condition to hold talks with the government.
One of the conditions was that PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif, JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Munawar Hasan should act as guarantors since the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan no longer trusted the Pakistan Army after the alleged violations of peace accords signed in the past.
TheNation talked to spokespersons for the three leaders to know if they were willing to provide the necessary guarantees on behalf of the government. All were very cautious to say anything till something concrete came out of the talks offer by the Taliban.
“The statement by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson is vague. It is not clear as yet if the TTP wanted to have talks with present government whose term is going to expire soon, or with the caretaker government”, Senator Pervaiz Rashid told this scribe, adding, that the PML-N was not in a position to say anything on record at this stage.
“How could one act as guarantor on behalf of a government whose own survival was not guaranteed”, he further remarked.
The PML-N Senator was of the view that we should wait till the details are known.
Central Secretary Information Jamaat-e-Islami, Anwar Niazi was also very cautious about saying anything on record on Taliban’s offer for talks and the guarantees sought from party chief Syed Munawar Hasan. “Nothing is clear at this stage. We should wait till the situation gets clear”, he said, adding, his party would consider Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s proposal when the two sides show seriousness to sit on the negotiating table.
Maulana Amjad, a spokesperson for Maulana Fazalur Rehman, said his party would consider the TTP’s pre-condition about guarantees from the JUI-F chief, and then take some decision on it.
He, however, said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman was willing to act as mediator between the government and the TTP provided the former gave him the full mandate to negotiate terms of the agreement.
“The government should take the offer seriously and hold productive talks with the TTP”, he affirmed. Upon insistence to give a clear cut answer if the JUI-F chief was willing to act as guarantor, Maulana Amjad said his party would definitely consider the proposal once the government sets some modus operandi to negotiate with the TTP.
“The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has now thrown the ball in government’s court”, he remarked.
Political analysts think that TTP spokesperson’s statement has put these parties, especially the PML-N, in a difficult situation, politically.
They believe that the PPP, the MQM and the ANP may exploit it to get political mileage by bracketing them with the Taliban.