Imran will not represent Taliban, says PTI

Published February 3, 2014
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan. — File photo
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan will not act as a representative for the five-member committee nominated by the Pakistani Taliban to further dialogue with government negotiators, said a statement issued by the party’s core committee, DawnNews reported.

A meeting of the PTI’s core committee, chaired by Khan, was held in the federal capital on Monday.

During the meeting, the committee focused on Khan's nomination among five other political and religious leaders by banned militant organisation Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as representatives to facilitate peace talks with government negotiators.

Khan has been a vocal supporter of negotiating with the insurgents.

However, the core committee meeting decided that Khan would not represent the Taliban committee.

According to the party’s statement, the negotiations should be held within the framework of the Constitution in a transparent and open environment, adding that there should be a ceasefire between the government and the Taliban.

PTI spokeswoman Shireen Mazari told AFP that because a senior party figure, Rustam Shah Mohmand, was already on the government team, Khan's presence was not needed.

“The core committee of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf appreciated Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan's offer to our chairman Imran Khan to become part of their committee,” Mazari said.

Separately, the meeting stressed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should increase pressure on the US government to stop drone attacks on Pakistani soil.

Earlier on Saturday, the Pakistani Taliban had nominated the names of 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 last 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 had 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.

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