23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

MIRAMSHAH: Three negotiators returned to the headquarters of North Waziristan on Sunday evening after holding consultations with a shura of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on their negotiations with the government.

According to sources, Prof Muhammad Ibrahim, Maulana Yousaf Shah and Maulana Haseeb, who had arrived here from Peshawar on Saturday by a helicopter, held consultations with members of the TTP’s political shura at an undisclosed place in Shawal area of South Waziristan.

The sources said the shura headed by Qari Shakeel had demanded withdrawal of troops from the tribal areas and release of prisoners. “We don’t have complete details of the Taliban’s demands, except these two,” an official said.

After overnight stay in Miramshah, the negotiators will leave for Peshawar on Monday by a military helicopter.

The talks were held in a Taliban-controlled area.

Officials of the administration had been waiting at a checkpost since 10am to receive the Taliban’s negotiators who had gone on Saturday to seek advice from the TTP leaders about the dialogue with the government. They stayed with the Taliban overnight.

A military helicopter was ready at a helipad to take the negotiators back to Peshawar.

Taliban had received them at a checkpost near Civil Colony from where they were driven to an unspecified place.

The Taliban have three councils — political, supreme and Ulema’s. The plan for negotiations will be discussed by all the three shuras and the final decision, the sources said, would be taken by Ulema.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is reported to have telephoned the TTP negotiators’ chief Maulana Samiul Haq and asked him why his representatives’ return had been delayed.

According to the sources, Maulana Sami informed the minister that the delegation had to frequently change its location because of drones hovering overhead.

The Maulana said that if the dialogue process was sabotaged from outside it would be tantamount to enmity towards Pakistan.

Local people said drones were continuously hovering over the region.

Reports of television channels quoted unnamed sources as saying the Taliban Shura prepared a draft containing 15 demands.

The demands are: 1) stop drone attacks; 2) introduce Sharia law in courts; 3) introduce Islamic

system of education in public and private institutions; 4) release Pakistani and foreign Taliban prisoners; 5) restore property damaged by drone attacks and pay compensation; 6) hand over control of tribal areas to local forces; 7) withdraw army from tribal areas and close down checkposts; 8) drop all criminal charges against the Taliban; 9) release prisoners from both sides; 10) grant equal rights for all -- poor and rich; 11) offer jobs to families of drone attack victims; 12) end interest-based system; 13) end support for the US ‘war on terror’; 14) replace the democratic system of governance with Islamic system; and, 15) end all relations with the US.

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