South Asia

TTP links extension of truce to release of prisoners

While the first round of direct talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shura was held in a friendly atmosphere, perceptions differed between the terror outfit and the two teams appointed for the peace dialogue on moving forward.

The main question was the continuation of the ceasefire announced by the TTP on March 1. The former ambassador to Kabul Rustom Shah Mohmand, who is on the four-member government appointed committee which met the TTP shura, told The Hindu on the phone that the talks held in Orakzai were conducted in a candid and free manner and all the issues were discussed. He said the perceptions differed on the issue of release of prisoners held by the government and the insurgency as such.

The government-appointed committee was trying to bridge the gap and bring about some convergence in the discussion, he said. The main focus was the extension of the ceasefire and the TTP linked it to the release of prisoners by the government. The TTP has not yet agreed to extend the ceasefire unless it sees some action by the government in terms of release of a few prisoners.

The committees are trying to have another interaction with the TTP shura soon. He said the talks had not broken down and the process was not disrupted. Also the release of some high profiles captives held by the TTP would come about once the government released “non combatants”, according to a list submitted by the TTP of women children and elders.

This could run into trouble as the security forces have been repeatedly denying they have women and children in their custody.

The TTP, according to news reports, has also been accusing the government of continuing raids and not adhering to its ceasefire declaration. Dawn on Friday reported quoting an insider that the talks were deadlocked due to TTP demands. However, member of the TTP-nominated committee Professor Ibrahim said there was no deadlock, according to news reports. He also said if the government released some prisoners, some trust could be built.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 6:13:26 PM |

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