One more member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) nominated committee Maulana Abdul Aziz has on Friday virtually opted out of the talks and said he won't come to the negotiating table if the peace dialogue was not held under the framework of Islamic Law.
Two of the five TTP committee nominees, Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Mufti Kifayatullah of the Jamiat Ulema e Islam (Fazl) have opted out already. The three TTP nominees and the government appointed committee met on Thursday for the first time. The government appointed committee had demanded that the talks be held within the framework of the Pakistan Constitution.
Maulana Aziz, the chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, which was stormed by the military in 2007, told the media that this was not acceptable to him. He said he would remain as a TTP nominee in the committee but would not take part in talks.
Meanwhile some confusion was created by Mr Khan in an interview to Bloomberg where he said that the peace talks would probably fail. However, in a press release issued by his party, he expressed the hope that the dialogue process moves forward and peace comes to Pakistan with an end to bloodshed and hatred.
He said all those who kept harping on how TTP terror was related to a demand for imposition of Shariah stand totally exposed as the TTP agree to talk within the parameters of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Khan also referred to the nine accords the Pakistan Army had signed earlier with the TTP, there had been no conditionality of imposition of Shariah. The issue is moot since the Constitution of Pakistan provides for Shariah and states no law can be made repugnant to Islam, he said.
Mr Khan stressed that he had always opposed military action including the sending of the military into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in 2004.