A 12-member Pashtun jirga wrapped up another round of talks with leaders of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Kabul on Monday, in a bid to resolve issues regarding the merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and modalities for the return of the group’s members.
Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, who led the tribal elders, dispelled the impression of a deadlock in the talks and told Dawn.com that the three-day talks were held in a “conducive environment” in which both sides addressed each other's reservations.
“The negotiations did not fail but are continuing. Failure and success will be judged when the process reaches an end," he said, clarifying that the talks would fail when either side decides to halt the process.
"But this is not the case," he added. “We had interactions with the TTP and the officials of the Islamic Emirate. We met the TTP separately and also together with the officials of the Islamic Emirate,” he said.
Barrister Saif, however, declined to share further details of the meetings, adding that the negotiations were underway "smoothly".
When asked about the TTP’s demand for restoration of the status of ex-FATA, he said “both sides have shared their reservations and are trying to address them.”
The Pakistani delegation had left for Kabul on July 30 for its second round of TTP leadership. The previous round of talks was held on June 1-2.
Saif told Dawn.com that the TTP reiterated its demand of the restoration of the previous status of the tribal areas.
Earlier, the TTP had said that it did not accept the merger of ex-FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. FATA was merged with the province in May 2018 through a constitutional amendment.
The TTP had announced a ceasefire for an indefinite period before Eidul Fitr. Despite this, Pakistani security forces have come under frequent attack, particularly in the volatile Waziristan districts. Attacks on the security forces from the Afghan side have also increased during this time.