The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday said while the party appreciated the trust reposed in its chairperson Imran Khan, its core committee had decided that he cannot be part of the five-member arbitration committee named by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
This decision comes before the TTP committee and the four government nominees meet on Tuesday. Mr. Khan had already distanced himself from the nomination and on Monday, a PTI statement said the party had asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to facilitate the dialogue process in any way it can. After its core committee meeting on Monday, PTI said it has always been an advocate of dialogue for peace and the party reaffirmed its support for the government committee in which it was represented by former ambassador to Kabul Rustam Shah Mohmand.
PTI also said that the talks must be within the parameters of the Constitution and called for a ceasefire from both sides. Meanwhile Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday took senior journalists into confidence in Lahore about the peace talks. He hoped the two committees would talk and make some progress and he reiterated his government’s resolve for a dialogue. Apart from Mr. Khan, the TTP had named Maulana Samiul Haq, Malulana Aziz, the former chief cleric of the Lal Masjid; Professor Mohammad Ibrahim of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI); and Mufti Kifayatullah, of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) to hold talks with government negotiators.
However, JUI-F head Maulana Fazlur Rehman said he would not be part of the dialogue process as his party was not taken into confidence. He also said his party’s nominee Mufti Kifayatullah was bound to toe the party line of not being part of the talks.
Significantly, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Richard Olson called on the Federal Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday to discuss issues pertaining to bilateral relations with particular reference to the security situation in the region.
According to an official statement, Mr. Chaudhry Nisar said that Pakistan wants to further strengthen its relations with the U.S. based on mutual trust and transparency. The Interior Minister had last year accused the U.S. of sabotaging peace talks with the TTP when a drone strike killed its leader Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1.