Peshawar: Pakistani Taliban’s top negotiator today said dialogue with the banned militant group’s political council was “positive” and its details would be discussed with the government in a day or two.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) leader Samiul Haq, while addressing the media in a live press conference at Akora Khattak in northwest Pakistan, said issues cannot be solved in a few minutes as it needs patience.

“We appeal to nation for prayers as things are complicated,” he said adding that one cannot be sentimental about the dialogue.

Asked about Taliban’s demands, he said, “I cannot share it with you. If I do then the talks will be hampered. I will meet with the government committee tomorrow or day after tomorrow. I will inform them.”

He described the interaction with the Taliban as “positive and encouraging”.

Haq, known as “the Father of the Taliban”, runs Darul U loom Haqqania, a madrassa where several Taliban leaders were educated.

Way back in the 1980s, many young graduates of the madrassa, including Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, left their books and picked up guns to fight the Russians in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Earlier, media reports said an Islamic system of governance, introduction of Shariah law and release of jailed terrorists were a part of a 15-point agenda finalised by the Taliban for peace talks with the government.

The Taliban ‘Shura’ or council, which has been meeting in the restive northwest since Saturday under its deputy chief Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, has demanded the withdrawal of the Army from tribal areas, Dawn reported.

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ibrahim Khan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-S leader Yousuf Shah, members of the Taliban-nominated committee, were in Waziristan for a meeting with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan for the last two days.

They reached Akora Khattak this morning via a helicopter provided by the Pakistani government.
Shah told reporters that while he was at an undisclosed location to meet the Taliban, he had heard announcements from a mosque that drones were flying over the area.

This issue was also raised by Haq in a telephonic conversation with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan yesterday. Nisar said anyone who attempts to spoil the dialogue process would be considered an enemy of the country.

Shah said the 12-member TTP ‘Shura’ has sent a very positive message to the government of Pakistan and two important things were discussed during the meeting including procedure of the talks.
The TTP Shura gave their demands in writing to the negotiating team, he said.

Shah said the Taliban’s demands would be disclosed to the media once it has been discussed with the government team after evolving a joint strategy for talks.

Some significant headway has been made during the talks between the members of committee and Taliban key commanders, sources said.

Shah said that the Taliban leadership kept on changing their locations due to fear of drone attacks as they were were hovering over the sky all the time.

“We took the risk for the establishment of peace in the region,” he said adding that they undertook a four-hour journey in the vehicle to reach the venue for talks.

The Taliban agenda includes introduction of Shariah law in courts, halting US drone attacks and introduction of an Islamic system of education in public and private institutions, media reports said.

Other demands include release of Pakistani Taliban and foreign fighters from jail, restoration and compensation for property damaged in drone attacks, handing over control of tribal areas to local forces, withdrawal of the Army from tribal areas and shutting down of check posts.

The reports said the agenda states all criminal allegations against the Taliban should be dropped and prisoners from both sides released.

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Free Press Journal