The Taliban have decided in principle on a ceasefire that is likely to be announced in the next 24 hours but have demanded the release of detained non-combatants and withdrawal of the Pakistani Army from North Waziristan region, media reports said on Sunday.
The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s political shura or council met in the tribal belt to deliberate on the government’s demand for a truce to take forward a controversial and fragile peace process.
The shura decided in principle to announce a ceasefire in the next 24 hours, TV news channels quoted their sources as saying.
The Taliban demanded the withdrawal of the army from the lawless North Waziristan tribal region. They also said non-combatants, including women and children, who are allegedly in the custody of security forces should be freed.
Analysts said the army might have a problem with any demand to withdraw its troops since it established its presence in Waziristan after much time and effort.
The TTP shura includes its deputy chief Qari Shakil Ahmed Haqqani, TTP spokesman Azam Tariq, Amir Islam, Commander Ahmed, Anwar Gandapuri, Quetta division leader Pir Sahab, Maulana Abdullah and Commander Pashtun.
State negotiators and a Taliban-nominated committee have held preliminary talks aimed at ending the decade-long insurgency that has claimed some 40,000 lives.
However, there is growing scepticism that the process will produce a lasting solution, with observers pointing out that the Taliban have reneged on all past peace deals.
The Taliban have carried out several terrorist attacks even after joining the peace process.
State negotiators had earlier this week made it clear that further attacks would not be tolerated. They said that if attacks continued, “it would become difficult to continue the dialogue process”.