ISLAMABAD: The committees representing the government and the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan decided on Wednesday to form a sub-committee to address complaints from the two sides.
The sub-committee will comprise representatives of the federal and provincial governments and ‘other stakeholders’ and members of the two peace committees.
This was announced by the head of the TTP committee, Maulana Samiul Haq, while talking to reporters after a meeting of the two committees with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at the Punjab House here.
He said his committee would meet members of the TTP shura in three days to decide the venue and time for the next round of direct talks. He said exchange of non-combatant prisoners would be discussed at the talks and hoped that the issue would be resolved amicably.
Maulana Sami said his committee would ask the TTP shura to extend ceasefire and avoid any action which could affect the peace process. Despite Taliban’s announcement about not extending the ceasefire, he said, the meeting expressed satisfaction that no major incident had taken place.
He said the civilian and military leaderships were on the same page as far as the peace process was concerned, but did not elaborate.
Another member of the Taliban committee Professor Muhammad Ibrahim said he was optimistic that the peace process would reach its logical conclusion. The next round of direct talks would take place in seven days, he added.
Asked if release of some non-combatants from both the sides was possible at this stage, he said all issues would come under discussion during direct talks.
He confirmed that complaints of both sides were discussed at the meeting with the interior minister.
Professor Ibrahim missed some part of the huddle and joined it after attending a meeting of Central Shura of Jamaat-i-Islami.
According to an official, the government side said at the meeting that dialogue would be meaningless in the absence of ceasefire and hoped that the Taliban would extend it before the direct talks.
He said the government was committed to the peace process and had taken a number of confidence-building measures. The government wants the TTP to extend the ceasefire and release non-combatants, including government employees and foreigners.
The official said a list of non-combatant prisoners in TTP custody would be formally handed over during the direct talks.
He said the government also expected the Taliban to help identify people involved in recent incidents of terrorism, including bomb blasts in Peshawar and Charsadda.
Before the start of the meeting, the interior minister called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed with him issues concerning the peace process.
Earlier, he addressed a group of 53 participants of the 100th national management course. “People must realise that we are in a state of war and every citizen has to contribute towards attaining a peaceful Pakistan,” he said.
There are no quick fixes to the problem. The government has taken a number of steps to meet the challenge and results of the efforts will be visible in months and years to come.
Chaudhry Nisar said the internal security policy had been designed keeping in view the multi-faceted challenges facing the country. The policy aims at providing an organisational mechanism to improve coordination among federal and provincial intelligence and security agencies.
Under the policy, a highly trained and well-equipped rapid response force will be set up at federal and provincial levels to foil any extreme situation or threat to security anywhere in the country.