Pakistan government peace committee to talk directly to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

The government will shortly constitute a new committee to take the peace dialogue forward with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met the government appointed committee and the TTP nominees on Thursday and was briefed about the developments so far.

An official statement released by the Prime Minister's office quoted Mr. Sharif as saying that it was his constitutional, religious and moral responsibility to put an end to terrorism and bring peace. He said that the existing committees would continue in a consultative capacity in the next phase of decision making.

Mr. Rustom Shah Mohmand, a member of the government appointed committee, told The Hindu that it was decided that the government needs to have those responsible for decision making talking directly to the TTP leadership. “Our committee will provide advice and consultation but the decisions have to be taken by those in power,” he said. As a result the government is expected to formulate a new group with members of both the provincial and federal government from the army, the administration and the intelligence to take things forward.

Substantive issues relating to the release of prisoners, compensation and foreign militants will be decided in the next phase of talks. Mr. Sharif was briefed about the meeting on Wednesday at Akora Khattak between the two committees.

It was likely that a government representative would meet with the TTP shura soon in Waziristan. The meeting was also attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Mr. Mohmand said the talks so far had achieved some objectives. The TTP was willing to negotiate within the ambit of the Constitution, it was not insisting on the enforcement of the sharia and it had called a ceasefire to which the government too had responded. These were positive achievements and the committee feels the government would have to have a new group of people from the army, ministry of interior and other agencies that can take the dialogue process forward.