LANDI KOTAL: The government-sponsored jirga of tribal elders and parliamentarians on Monday dispatched a four-member team from among the jirga members to Dera Ismail Khan to locate Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leaders and urge them to resume negotiations with the official jirga as soon as possible.

MNA from Khyber Agency Haji Shahji Gul told Dawn that they had been awaiting the PTM response for resumption of talks with the tribal jirga since the conclusion of their second round of talks in Jamrud on April 25 at his residence. The first round of these talks was held in Peshawar on April 18.

“A three-member PTM delegation sought three days for consultations with their colleagues on April 25 after which they did not approach any member of the jirga which comprises two elders each from every tribal agency, all tribal parliamentarians, a representative each of federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments and a leading figure from Malakand division,” the MNA explained.

He said that an informal meeting of the official jirga was held at a private residence in Peshawar on Monday in which four jirga members from North and South Waziristan were assigned the responsibility of going to Dera Ismail Khan and helping locate PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen who had remained out of contact with the jirga since April 25.

“The four-member delegation of Waziristan elders will first locate the PTM leader and then persuade him to resume parlays with the official jirga,” he said. He dispelled a perception that the dialogue with PTM was suspended or contacts broken down.

Mr Gul said that Monday’s meeting was convened to devise an agreed strategy for future contacts with the PTM as all the jirga members were unanimous in their desire to continue the dialogue process.

He said they would again meet on May 10 at a venue to be decided later to take stock of the situation arising out after the four-member delegation’s contact/meeting with PTM leaders.

The MNA said that if the need arose, another small delegation might travel to Karachi as the PTM was to hold a public meeting there on May 12.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2018

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