TTP wants talks, calls on govt to lead on ceasefire

Published February 21, 2014
TTP spokesman Shahid Shahid. — File photo
TTP spokesman Shahid Shahid. — File photo

PESHAWAR: Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid on Friday said the Taliban were ready for talks despite the fact that the recent bombardment in North Waziristan was proof of the government's insincerity, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to journalists at an undisclosed location, the spokesman added that the war has been started by the government and it should also take the lead on a ceasefire.

A day before the TTP’s latest statement, dozens of militants, mostly Uzbek fighters, were killed as air force jets and army’s helicopter gunships carried out punitive strikes against terrorist hideouts in the tribal regions of North Waziristan and Khyber.

The attacks in North Waziristan and Khyber followed the breakdown in government’s talks with the Pakistani Taliban in the aftermath of TTP Mohmand chapter’s claim of killing 23 Frontier Corps soldiers and the death of a major in an attack on an army vehicle near Peshawar.

Speaking to reporters today, Shahid said the Taliban were aiming to resolve issues through talks whereas the government was more focused on establishing its writ and the supremacy of the Constitution, which he said did not have a single element reflecting Islamic injunctions.

He said the TTP was serious about the dialogue, adding that the negotiators representing it were more independent than those representing the government.

Speaking to media representatives later, Professor Ibrahim Khan of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), who is also a negotiator for the TTP, said the Constitution was based on the injunctions of Islam and democratic in spirit.

Khan said the constitution had been signed by key religious figures, adding that he would comment on Shahid’s statement if the subject is later brought up by the TTP's political shura.

The JI leader called for the implementation of Islamic system in the country as laid down in the Constitution.

He said the Taliban negotiation committee would convince the TTP leadership to accept the Constitution after its implementation in letter and spirit.

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