Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan committee member Maulana Samiul Haq and Irfan Siddiqui smile as they interact prior to a joint press conference following their meeting in Islamabad on February 6, 2014. – AFP Photo
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan committee member Maulana Samiul Haq and Irfan Siddiqui smile as they interact prior to a joint press conference following their meeting in Islamabad on February 6, 2014. – AFP Photo
Photo from February 4, 2014 shows members of the TTP's peace talks team, Maulana Abdul Aziz (R) Maulana Sami-ul-Haq (C) and Professor Ibrahim Khan (L).—AFP Photo
Photo from February 4, 2014 shows members of the TTP's peace talks team, Maulana Abdul Aziz (R) Maulana Sami-ul-Haq (C) and Professor Ibrahim Khan (L).—AFP Photo
Policemen stand guard outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, where negotiations took place between government representatives and Pakistani Taliban negotiators, in Islamabad on February 6, 2014.—AFP Photo
Policemen stand guard outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, where negotiations took place between government representatives and Pakistani Taliban negotiators, in Islamabad on February 6, 2014.—AFP Photo
The image shows members of the high-powered committee designated by the government to facilitate talks with the Taliban. — File Photo
The image shows members of the high-powered committee designated by the government to facilitate talks with the Taliban. — File Photo
Special Assistant to the PM Irfan Siddiqui speaks during a joint press conference following their meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad on February 6, 2014. – AFP Photo
Special Assistant to the PM Irfan Siddiqui speaks during a joint press conference following their meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad on February 6, 2014. – AFP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Negotiators for the Pakistani government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) met Thursday for a first round of peace talks aimed at ending the militants’ bloody seven-year insurgency.

The two sides gathered at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad for a preliminary meeting to chart a “roadmap” for future discussions, amid deep scepticism over whether dialogue can yield a lasting peace deal.

Following the meeting which lasted almost four hours, Maulana Samiul Haq read out a joint statement to the media.

According to the press release, the two sides met under a cordial environment.

The government committee demanded that talks be held within the framework of the constitution, and that the scope of the peace talks be limited to only the insurgency-affected areas of Pakistan.

The government committee also said that all activities which may affect peace efforts should immediately be stopped, and that talks should be smoothly concluded in a short timeframe.

Referring to the 10-member Taliban monitoring committee, the government negotiators sought clarification regarding scope and authority of both TTP teams.

On the other hand, the Pakistani Taliban committee urged the government to clarify the mandate and level of authority of its four member committee, and its ability to implement a peace pact.

The Taliban team also demanded that their meetings be held with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the army chief and the DG ISI.

Journalists were not allowed to ask questions following the joint press release.

The government’s negotiators include Irfan Siddiqui, special assistant to the prime minister and coordinator of the committee, Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan, Peshawar-based journalist Rahimullah Yousufzai and retired Major Amir Khan.

Negotiators from the TTP’s side include Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Abdul Aziz and Professor Mohammad Ibrahim.

Initial peace talks failed to get under way Tuesday when the government delegation refused to meet the militants’ negotiators, citing confusion about the make-up of their team.

The TTP had initially also nominated Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and former Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) lawmaker Mufti Kifayatullah in their committee. However, both later refused to be part of the committee.

In a statement Tuesday, the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said that Mualana Samiul Haq and his two colleagues had their blessing to go ahead with the negotiations without Khan or Kifayatullah.

“The three-member committee is final now and we have our full confidence in it to hold talks,” he had said.

The Taliban committee is now expected to travel to Waziristan to convey the progress of the negotiations to the TTP leadership.


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Comments (26) Closed


Mustafa
Feb 06, 2014 01:19pm

Would maulana Abdul Aziz be wearing a burqa?

Radial
Feb 06, 2014 02:12pm

those negotiating on behalf of TTP should be arrested and tried for treason and for participating in a conspiracy to murder pakistani citizens.

Khalid
Feb 06, 2014 03:10pm

Is this the same cleric who ran away from the lal masjid wearing a burqa? preferring to run away in a woman's clothes than to be a martyr?. On whose payroll do you think he is?. How shameful that these illiterates are now the leading mullahs of our country?

sheryaar
Feb 06, 2014 03:41pm

good to see that sense is prevailing on both sides. well alot have been said about taliban wanting to impose sharia in Pakistan.. personally i dont see any harm in doing so. Its the law of Allah and it will reduce alot of crimes if punishment are imposed as per sharia... furthermore our politicians will never want to impose sharia as they are themselves corrupt and they know the punishment of sharia... so on this issue i would totally support taliban... but they should cease fire immediately . if they dont then army has the right to defend themselves and attack them with full froce.. but i hope alll goes well and these negotiations succeed....Ameen

Hasan
Feb 06, 2014 03:50pm

Impossible. No peace is possible with Taliban. Either kill them all or die ourselves

syed imriaz ahmed
Feb 06, 2014 04:06pm

negotiation without including a victims is a farce ..

M.Sajid Khan
Feb 06, 2014 05:54pm

Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif should be charged with treason for violating the constitution of Pakistan. How can he agree and accord his approval to negotiate with the terrorist who have been challenging the Constitution itself. How can a sovereign government would allow itself to sit across the table to talk to representatives of a terrorist group who have been waging a war against the country and in the process have killed thousands of Pakistani citizen including army and security personnel.

Last Word
Feb 06, 2014 07:27pm

Taliban clearly wants the tribal areas to be ruled by them again, an experiment which had failed in the past. The civilian govt should tread with extreme caution and not fall into the same trap again and pay a bigger price than last time.

Aslam Butt
Feb 07, 2014 12:47am

No mention of innocent victim of TTP? thousands upon thousand of them.

umair
Feb 07, 2014 01:06am

Nothing will come out from these talks since taliban's demands will be unacceptable by government and people of Pakistan. Their main demands will be to release taliban prisoners, impose strict sharia law, ban on girls education, hijjab will be required for women, no music and so on...

Tim
Feb 07, 2014 01:45am

Where is the drone when you need it most.

independentthinker
Feb 07, 2014 02:24am

Just look at the face of the TTP representative - does he look like someone who will be able to make rationale decisions to carry us through the 21st century? I hope we make them all disappear, before they cause any further damage to our beloved country.

Nab
Feb 07, 2014 04:04am

@Hasan: Bohat Ala, Then what's a difference between you and TTP. They are already working on what you have just suggested kill if you don't agree. Prophet PBUH did negotiation with enemies.

rehan cheema
Feb 07, 2014 05:04am

@Hasan: This is extremism that you are suggesting.

hamid
Feb 07, 2014 07:09am

Peace talks with murderers? Why is the TTP negotiator not arrested?

Kashif Rathore
Feb 07, 2014 08:04am

this creature called maulana Abdul Aziz is useless meaning we and pakistan have no "use" of this creature..utterly useless.. put him in a burka and send him to venus...

Rubi
Feb 07, 2014 08:09am

maulana Abdul Aziz needs to put his burka back on it is more stylish with it he looks like a criminal.

Ayaz
Feb 07, 2014 12:37pm

These talks seems to be a mere drama. Except Rahim Ullah Yousafzai both sides are essentially Taliban; it is just a matter of degree. For instance, Rustam Shah of PTI is pro-Taliban but representing the government. And Sami Ul Haq who is representing Taliban also leads the DPC which is a party composed of retired military Generals. I think everybody knows this.

Ali
Feb 07, 2014 01:13pm

Those mullahs should be arrested immediately! They are equally involved in killing thousands of Pakistanis. They are representing TTP, isn't that enough evidence? THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY SHARIA LAW!! These bunch of illitrates cannot rule us. There are still a lot of educated pakistani youth that wouldn't let these illiterates to rule the country. This is it- enough is enough! I and every pakistani should come out and fight these TTP and our army should use one big military operation to finish them off. We do not want our coming generation to see and hear anything about the TTP's existsnce. May Allah bless Pakistan and save us all from these evils.

Chaudhry
Feb 08, 2014 06:43pm

@M.Sajid Khan: You have a valid point, but the people of Pakistan voted (or the elections were rigged) for Nawaz Sharif knowing that he supports Talibans. Who will try him?

Salahuddin
Feb 08, 2014 06:47pm

@Khalid: Its beyond our PM capability to understand.

jamal
Feb 08, 2014 06:52pm

@Khalid: Some one should ask Nawaz Sharif and Iftikhar Chaudry who blame Musharraf for Lal Masjid where these clerics were hiding with guns and mortars behind children and women.

bakhtiar
Feb 08, 2014 10:27pm

@Rubi: why is the govt. letting him run around free? Are both on same page.

Lahori
Feb 08, 2014 10:29pm

@M.Sajid Khan: Every Pakistan will agree with you.

umar
Feb 08, 2014 10:31pm

@Mustafa: Our PM will know?

independentthinker
Feb 09, 2014 11:47pm

@rehan cheema: When you are faced with extremism - you respond with extremism. They don't understand any other language. By responding in any other way, they will consider it our weakness. Please remember there were wars fought, even in the time of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). You cannot sit back and let evil take over, without fighting to preserve your values and principles.