While Pakistan’s Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed on Wednesday said that it was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which needs to answer why it killed 23 security forces personnel in custody, there are reports that the militant outfit has set conditions for the peace talks.
Mr. Rasheed talking to the media in Rawalpindi said that there were two committees, which were set up for the talks and the government would wait for a response from the TTP. He said the TTP should answer the questions regarding the killing of security personnel and not ask questions. These were the people who wanted to bring the sharia law and he asked where in this law does it say that those in custody should be killed. Peace should be achieved without bloodshed, he added.
Meanwhile, news reports said that the TTP spokesperson had called some mediapersons to demand that “killing and dumping bodies of TTP members should be immediately stopped.” The militant outfit demanded that the government-appointed committee should give an assurance that TTP men would not be arrested or killed. The TTP claimed that the government has killed several of their fighters in Karachi and elsewhere. A ceasefire was possible if this demand was met, the TTP said.
The TTP Mohmand faction, which said it had killed the 23 Frontier Corps men in its custody since 2010 had said it was in retaliation for the killing of Taliban men by security forces after the peace initiative started.
Peace talks hit a roadblock on Tuesday after the government-appointed committee announced it would not continue the dialogue process till the TTP stopped its terror strikes. It said that in the circumstances the dialogue could not continue. The day earlier the committee had refused to meet the TTP-nominated committee.
TTP nominee Maulana Samiul Haq is reportedly in touch with the Taliban leadership to break the deadlock. On Tuesday a Pakistan Army major was killed near Peshawar in firing in which three terrorists were killed and on Monday too a soldier died in South Waziristan. The ball is very much in the TTP’s court and unless it announces a ceasefire, the government committee has said it will not move ahead on the dialogue process.