MIRAMSHAH, Feb 15: The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) rejected on Friday the declaration adopted at an all-party conference on terrorism organised by the Awami National Party and termed it a ‘part of the party’s campaign for elections’.
“We are still waiting for serious and meaningful talks with the government and the army,” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told this correspondent on phone from an unspecified place.
He said the TTP had offered peace talks in the larger interest of Islam and Pakistan, but warned that the initiative should not be construed as a sign of its weakness.
The timing of the conference was also criticised by the TTP leadership. “Organising the conference on Valentine Day reflects imperialist thinking of the ANP,” Ehsan said.
He said the TTP Shura had met on the directives of its chief Hakimullah Mehsud and discussed the declaration adopted at the conference. “The Shura found nothing new in it. It was an old story,” he said.
The TTP recently said it was ready for talks with the government and proposed that PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat Islami Amir Syed Munawar Hassan should act as guarantors on behalf of the army.
The ANP convened the conference in Islamabad to find a solution to the problem of militancy which has plagued the country, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. It was attended by all mainstream political parties except the JI and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf.
The declaration said: “Peace needs to be restored in the country so that losses of valuable lives can be stopped and the country is put on the right track. Attaining peace through dialogue should be the first priority. The resolution of the issue of terrorism should come within the ambit of the Constitution and law.”
The TTP spokesman said the absence of the JI had put a question mark on the conference.
He criticised some ‘media persons for opposing Taliban’s peace initiatives’ and said they wanted to keep the “fire burning”.