Contrary to media reports, no TTP prisoners released so far: sources

Published November 23, 2021
In this file photo, Taliban fighters pose with weapons in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province. — Reuters/ File
In this file photo, Taliban fighters pose with weapons in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province. — Reuters/ File

Security officials as well as the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have rejected as false reports that a group of over 100 TTP prisoners has been released amid peace negotiations between the two sides.

The remarks came in the wake of media reports that the government had released over 100 TTP prisoners as a goodwill gesture in the wake of the ceasefire announced by the militant group.

“Media reports about the release of 100 TTP’s prisoners are not true. However, the TTP fully honours the ceasefire agreement,” TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani told Dawn.com.

“The negotiation teams have not yet sat on the table so reports about conditions and demands are premature,” Khorasani added, in response to earlier reports that the TTP has floated several demands, one of which was stated to be the release of prisoners.

Meanwhile, security officials too denied the release of any TTP prisoners.

"I can confirm that no one has been freed so far," an official familiar with the negotiations process told Dawn.com.

“Nothing so far,” another security official said summarily on the topic.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, when reached for comment, said he has asked "relevant people" and will revert soon.

Ceasefire agreement

Earlier this month, Chaudhry had confirmed for the first time that a ceasefire had been reached with the TTP, saying that talks were under way “in line with the Constitution” and the ceasefire could be extended keeping in view the progress made in the talks.

The same day, a statement issued by TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani had confirmed the temporary truce, adding that it would be effective for a month, from November 9 till December 9.

The announcement had come a little over a month after Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated that the government was in talks with some TTP groups, seeking a reconciliation.

"There are different groups which form the TTP and some of them want to talk to our government for peace. So, we are in talks with them. It’s a reconciliation process," the premier had said during an interview with TRT World.

Two days after the ceasefire agreement, however, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf had clarified that that no decision had been taken yet to grant amnesty to members of the TTP, emphasising that the state was "very clear and sensitive" on the issue.

Responding to questions about the truce deal in an interview on DawnNews programme Live with Adil Shahzeb, the NSA had said the government was aware that agreements with the TTP in the past had not held, adding that at the present stage, talks were being held and the government would see if the TTP was serious.

Afghan Taliban's role

Days after the ceasefire announcement, acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had said during his visit to Islamabad that the Afghan Taliban were mediating between the Government of Pakistan and the TTP.

He added that the two sides had not yet reached an agreement, but the process had seen a “good” start, leading to the announcement of a month-long ceasefire.

Dawn had earlier reported that the interior minister of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has been playing a mediating role between Pakistan and the TTP, bringing the two sides under one roof to engage in face-to-face talks.

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