Taliban demand ‘Islamic system’

| Without mentioning Constitution, 15-point charter demands sharia laws at courts, Islamic education, financial system, replacement of existing governance system with Islamic one | Walking out of ‘US war’, stoppage of drones, troop withdrawal, release of local, foreign Taliban, dropping of all criminal charges also sought

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD - The Taliban Sunday handed over their wish list to Professor Ibrahim, one of the three TTP-named negotiators, and it is expected to be presented today to government's four-member peace committee.
No formal information was available either from Taliban committee or the government team about the outcome of Prof Ibrahim’s meeting with Taliban Shura in North Waziristan, sources said outlawed Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has presented 15 demands.
The demands reportedly include introduction of Sharia laws in courts, Islamic system of education in both public and private sectors, ending of interest based financial and banking system, and replacing the existing governance system with the Islamic system.
They have also demanded discontinuing support to the US in the ‘war on terrorism’, withdrawal of army from tribal areas, removal of check posts and giving control of tribal areas to civil armed forces, release of Pakistani and foreign Taliban captured by the state forces and dropping of all criminal charges against the Taliban.
The list of demands also include stoppage of drone attacks, restoration of damaged property and compensation for all the damage done by the drones, jobs for the families of drone attack victims, and equal rights for all, poor and rich.
The draft proposal was reportedly handed to Professor Ibrahim and Maulana Yousuf Shah who were in Waziristan for meeting with the Taliban Shura. The peace facilitators are likely to convey these points to the government committee, which is anxiously waiting for the Taliban’s formal response.
In a related development Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Samiul Haq had a telephonic contact on Sunday and expressed satisfaction over peace dialogue process. They discussed the further course of peace dialogue and the meeting of both committees to proceed further for peace. Nisar told Sami that sabotaging the dialogue will be tantamount to the enmity with Pakistan.
On the other hand, Lal Masjid cleric and member of Taliban designated committee Abdul Aziz has termed the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan "un-Islamic” and challenged the Ulema to have a debate over the issue. Aziz said the Ulema who believed that the constitution of the country is Islamic can hold an open debate with him.
Aziz has separated himself from the talks process and has demanded imposition of ‘sharia’ in the country before holding peace dialogue. In his statement on Sunday, Abdul Aziz said that terming Constitution of 1973 as Islamic was the biggest lie of the century. He said that constitution of Pakistan was drafted by Englishmen and its articles were based on their pattern.
Earlier on Sunday, TTP's Shura and negotiation committee representatives met at an undisclosed location in North Waziristan Agency for the second consecutive day and the former handed over the list of demands. Amid continued flights of unmanned US drones in the area, the meeting venue was reportedly kept changing due to fear of US drone strike.
The TTP political shura is headed by Qari Shakil and during the meeting with peace negotiators they also discussed the options for ceasefire along with other key issues. Sources said TTP nominated negotiators were seen satisfied during the meeting. To hold talks with TTP, an official helicopter was made available on Saturday to the peace delegates that took them from Peshawar to Miranshah, where they first held a two-hour long meeting with the political agent of North Waziristan and then moved to undisclosed location for negotiations with TTP.
On Sunday, Professor Ibrahim telephoned Samiul Haq and apprised him about his meeting with TTP political shura. Sources said that TTP has hinted at continuation of peace talks with the government and expressed its willingness for a conditional ceasefire. According to sources, the two-day meeting of Taliban's Shura and the negotiators ended on Sunday and Taliban handed over their list of demands to the negotiators.

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