Peshawar: Pakistan government would seek the release of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s abducted son and two others during the second phase of direct peace talks with the Taliban set to resume tomorrow.

The talks are an attempt to find a solution to end the decade-long insurgency that has claimed some 40,000 lives.

Rustam Shah, a member of the state-committee, said today that the Pakistan government has completed its homework for pursuing talks with the banned militant outfit likely to take place tomorrow at an undisclosed location.

He said the government has also prepared a list of demands and would present it before the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ‘shura’ during the meeting.

The demands include the recovery of Syed Ali Haider Gilani and Shahbaz Taseer, the sons of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilan and slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer respectively.

The committee would also seek the recovery of Islamia College University Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan.

Rustam said the government team is planning to hold the talks tomorrow and had the weather not turned for the worse, the meeting could have taken place today.

The Taliban committee’s representative Professor Ibrahim said he was in continuous contact with the government’s negotiators.

Peace talks between the government and the Taliban struck an impasse last month after a faction of the militant group killed 23 kidnapped Pakistani para-military soldiers.

The killings resulted in multiple targeted airstrikes by the military against militant hideouts in the tribal region of the northwest.

The Taliban then announced a one-month ceasefire which was reciprocated by the government.

The government has formed a new four-member committee to hold talks with the Taliban as part of the second phase of dialogue with the banned group.

The talks were a key campaign pledge for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before he was elected to office for a third time last year.

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Free Press Journal