Taliban nominate Imran, Sami among others to mediate peace talks

Published February 1, 2014
In this Oct 5, 2013 photo, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid speaks in an interview at an undisclosed location in Pakistan's tribal areas.—AP/File Photo
In this Oct 5, 2013 photo, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid speaks in an interview at an undisclosed location in Pakistan's tribal areas.—AP/File Photo

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban have nominated the names of five political and religious leaders to mediate peace talks with government negotiators, their spokesman said on Saturday.

The names include Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, Maulana Samiul Haq, former chief cleric of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad Maulana Abdul Aziz, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), and Mufti Kifayatullah, a former lawmaker of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) from Mansehra said to have close ties with the Taliban.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government had decided to pursue peace talks with Taliban militants to end years of violence despite a recent spate of attacks.

The premier named a four-member committee comprising his Advisor on National Affairs Irfan Siddique, veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, former ambassador and expert on Afghanistan affairs Rustam Shah Mohmand and former ISI official Major (Retd) Amir Shah to facilitate the dialogue.

Speaking to Dawn.com on Saturday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the five “mediators” would facilitate peace talks between the government team and the TTP.

The banned militant group announced the names after a meeting of its central shura (council) which was held at an undisclosed location.

“The Taliban are entering talks with clear intentions and an open heart,” said Shahid.

“Our emir Mullah Fazlullah supports the five-member committee we have nominated.

"Our shura will communicate its stance to the five nominees who will mediate talks with the government team,” he said.

Speaking to DawnNews, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim confirmed that he had been contacted by the TTP to “act as a solicitor” on their behalf.

“It does not matter what side we represent. We will try to fulfill our responsibility to bring peace in the country...and hope that we will be able to achieve lasting peace,” he said.

Maulana Abdul Aziz also confirmed that he had been contacted by the TTP, though he said he would decline to be a part of the process if he feels the government was not serious in negotiations or in implementing Shariah law in the country.

Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan sent a message from his official Twitter account that the "TTP should select their own Taliban representatives 4 (for) peace talks".

However, Khan said the party would discuss how it could assist in the dialogue process at a meeting of its core committee scheduled for Monday.

Opinion

Editorial

Changing tune
20 Aug, 2022

Changing tune

AFTER about a week of remorse triggered by the blowback over his chief of staff’s controversial statement, it...
Lifting import curbs
20 Aug, 2022

Lifting import curbs

LESS than two months after the passage of the national budget, the PML-N-led ruling coalition has announced new...
Unlawful number plates
20 Aug, 2022

Unlawful number plates

A CRACKDOWN against vehicles plying the roads using ‘AFR’ (applied for registration) number plates, as well as...
Pawn sacrifice
Updated 19 Aug, 2022

Pawn sacrifice

Concerns over torture allegedly perpetrated against Gill are valid and must be looked into forthwith.
Frozen conflict
19 Aug, 2022

Frozen conflict

THE recent discovery of the body of an Indian soldier lost in an ice storm on the Siachen glacier 38 years ago yet...
Deadly rains
19 Aug, 2022

Deadly rains

THERE seems to be no end to our monsoon misery. Deadly rains continue to lash several parts of the country,...