After some hiccups, the four-member government appointed committee and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s nominees met on Thursday for the first time to finalise a roadmap for a dialogue, in a fresh bid for peace in the country.
Maulana Samiul Haq of the TTP committee read out a statement to the media and said the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. The government committee demanded that the talks should be conducted within the framework of the Pakistan Constitution and that there should be no terror strikes during the duration of the talks. It wanted a clarification on the role of the nine-member TTP committee which has been appointed to oversee the talks. Also the focus of discussion would be the areas under strife and any peace deal would only apply to these areas, the government side said, adding that the talks should be completed in a short time frame.
The government committee also wished to meet the TTP in Waziristan to establish a direct communication channel. On the other hand, the TTP nominees said the government should clarify the scope and mandate of its committee and what all it could negotiate.
They also wanted to meet the Prime Minister, the director general ISI and the chief of army staff.
The two committees met at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in the capital.
Apart from Mr. Siddiqui, who is special assistant to the Prime Minister, the government side includes Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan, senior journalist Rahimullah Yousufzai and ISI operative Major (retd.) Mohammed Amir. The TTP had nominated Imran Khan who refused to be part of it along with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) nominee Mufti Kifayatullah. The three remaining members apart from Maulana Samiul Haq on the TTP committee are Maulana Abdul Aziz and Professor Mohammad Ibrahim.