Islamabad: A member of the Pakistan government’s negotiating team will soon travel to Waziristan along with the Taliban nominated committee to meet the banned group’s ‘shura’ as part of the second phase of the peace dialogue.

The committee members from both sides today met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over breakfast and discussed the modalities for carrying forward the crucial second phase of dialogue between the government and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to end the decade-long insurgency.

The Prime Minister said the government prefers the dialogue option for lasting peace.

“A member of our committee will travel with Taliban- nominated committee to meet with their shura (council) as and when they want. We will facilitate their travel,” government committee coordinator Irfan Siddiqui told reporters after the meeting with the Prime Minister.

He said there are chances that a new negotiating team will be made.

“Now we have such a phase that dialogue should be made more effective. Both committees said decisions will now have to be taken. It was proposed by us to Prime Minister that this forum with could be replaced with something more concrete so that decisions could be taken,” Siddiqui said.

He said the next phase of talks will include sensitive issues, for which the decisions will have to be taken.

Siddiqui said the Prime Minister assured them that he would consider the proposal.

The new proposals call for inclusion of representatives of the federal government, army and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the state committee.

The inclusion of Taliban shura members in the Taliban committee has also been recommended.

The focal person in this regard is most likely to be Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Taliban committee member Maulana Samiul Haq said it would be beneficial for peace talks if new intermediary committees were made. He said the meeting with the premier was constructive and Sharif appreciated the efforts of both committees with regards to peace negotiations.

“Nawaz said that he will try not to conduct a military operation,” he said.

Haq, in response to a question, said a trip to Waziristan will be organised in one or two days. He reiterated his stance against the “third enemy”, saying they should be identified and the government and TTP should work together to unveil them.

The dialogue was launched to end the insurgency that has claimed some 40,000 lives.

The current government committee includes Irfan Siddqui, retired Major Amir, Rustam Shah Mohmand and Rahimullah Yousufzai and the negotiators nominated by the TTP include Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Abdul Aziz and Professor Mohammad

The recommendation for the formation of a new committee was made by retired Major Amir Khan during a meeting of the current negotiators with Prime Minister Sharif.

The government on Tuesday decided to resume peace dialogue with the Taliban which was suspended last month after a TTP faction claimed to have killed 23 detained Frontier Corps personnel.

The Taliban announced a month-long ceasefire after fighter jets and gunship helicopters conducted surgical strikes against militant hideouts in the tribal areas.

The strikes were carried out after the killing of the Frontier Corps personnel despite the ongoing peace talks.

Following the Taliban’s announcement, the government stopped the strikes.

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Free Press Journal