South Asia

TTP demands release of non-combatants

While security forces have rejected Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)'s allegations that women and children were in their custody, the TTP nominees for the peace talks now claim they have a list of 300 non-combatants, whom the terrorist outfit wants released. They include women and children. In February in the midst of military air strikes in North Waziristan and Khyber agency the director general, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had categorically rejected TTP's allegations about their women and children being in custody of security forces. He said not a single woman or child is in custody of security forces and in fact women and children have never been detained. This baseless accusation by TTP is a mere propaganda to divert the attention from real issue of their blatant and dastardly acts of terror across the country, he pointed out.

A month later as talks with the TTP have picked up steam, one of the TTP negotiators Professor Muhammad Ibrahim said that the Taliban had given him a list of 300 prisoners which he had passed on to the Interiro Minister, according to news reports. However, the Ministry did not confirm this.

The TTP nominees have also come up with suggestions for venues where direct talks could be held between the Taliban leadership and the government appointed committee. The TTP had called for a month-long ceasefire after which the government too called for suspension of air strikes targeting the terrorists. Information minister Pervaiz Rashid told the media on Tuesday that the TTP's demands would be discussed and the government committee appointed for talks would collect information on the detainees and inform the Taliban committee and the media. He said it was the government's responsibility to secure the release all the prisoners held in the tribal region, including the sons of the late Punjab governor Salman Taseer and former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Some key issues need to be worked out with the TTP as the terror attacks have not stopped with an outfit called Ahrar ul Hind, increasingly claiming responsibility for bomb blasts including the suicide strike on the Islamabad district and sessions court. While the TTP spokesperson has been publicly disclaiming such attacks, the government wants some clarity on this particularly since a ceasefire exists.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 8:12:05 PM |

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