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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain — File Photo
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain. — File photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government in its reaction to the ongoing peace process with Pakistani Taliban Friday urged the militants to formulate an “independent team” to negotiate with the state.

Addressing a gathering in Pishtakhara area of Peshawar, KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that first time in the history of the county, all the political and non political forces have endorsed the peace dialogue with the Taliban.

“I must say Taliban without wasting anymore time should announce an independent team which could hold peace talks with the government,” he said.

“This is the best chance for the government, political parties as well as Taliban and they should not loose this golden chance for peace,” Hussain added.

On Thursday, all mainstream political and religious parties and civil society groups had agreed to negotiate peace with militant elements through a broadened tribal jirga earlier formed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

Giving a positive response, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has welcomed the five-point declaration of the All Parties Conference (APC) today.

He said war on terrorism was not a problem for Pakistan only, adding that all stakeholders including Untied States and Afghanistan should have to play their roles in combating it.

The minister further said that either fruitful peace dialogue or an effective strategy to combat terrorism should be devised, however, he added that it should be at all levels and there should not be segregation in the peace process at national and international levels.

Maulana Fazl hails APC initiative

Meanwhile, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that his party’s initiative of peace dialogue with the TTP has been recognised at national as well as at international level.

He said the world community along with the US has welcomed the APC decision which is a good omen and they have shown positive gesture towards its decisions which is a “great success.”

Earlier on Friday, US ambassador to Islamabad Richard Olson called on the JUI-F chief at his residence and discussed issues of mutual interests including the peace talks initiative of the moot.

To a query, Fazlur Rehman said the JUI-F has given a “double response” to the Taliban’s peace talks offer. “They had asked for three guarantors— Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif and Munawar Hassan— and we have gathered all the political parties on one platform,” he said.

The JUI-F chief further said those who had not attended the APC were also supportive of holding peace talks and had endorsed the APC communiqué.

Fazlur Rehman said that recommendation of the representative tribal jirga for peace would be presented to the KP Governor Engineer Shaukatullah on Saturday, who would then go ahead with the peace process, he added.