Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday clarified that there was no deadlock in the ongoing talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Addressing a press conference, he said the talks formally started a couple of weeks ago when a government-appointed committee met the other side near Tank. He said the next meeting in a couple of days will come up with a comprehensive agenda and would be all-pervasive. The cessation of hostilities is very much in place, he said in reply to a question.

He said there is no deadlock from the Taliban side and at the last meeting it was decided to meet earlier in the week on Monday and Tuesday and that could not happen due to some of the committee members not being available. Now the next meeting would be held soon, he said.

He also clarified doubts over the army being on the same page as the government on the issue of talks. He said the army along with the government is taking the dialogue process forward and there may be a difference of opinion, but not a difference on policy. The released non-combatant prisoners are in the internment centres of the security forces and they cannot be released without taking the army into confidence, he said.

To a question on recent statements from the army and ministers leading to speculations of a civil-military standoff, the minister said it was an irritant and “we will get over it.” He said everyone had to be on the same page to resolve issues.

The army is involved in internal security and never before was there such close collaboration and interaction with the government, the Minister said. “With General Sharif, the civil-military relations have never been so positive, frank, honest and Pakistan-focused in the 30 years of my political life,” he said.