After hiccups, Pak and Taliban start peace talks
Islamabad: The Pakistani government and a Talibannominated committee met for the first time here on Thursday to discuss a roadmap for parleys under the constitution to end a bloody insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
The government committee demanded that talks should be held under the ambit of the constitution and that any peace pact agreed on should be enforceable only in “troubled areas” or the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. A joint statement issued after the meeting said both sides floated recommendations during the nearly four-hour talks.
Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the “father of the Taliban” and a member of the committee nominated by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), read out the statement which said state negotiators called for stopping all activities that may affect peace efforts.
The state negotiators also called for talks to be smoothly concluded in a short timeframe. The talks were to be originally held on Tuesday but were postponed after state negotiators sought clarifications on several unspecified issues.
Thursday’s meeting was the first test for the ruling PML-N’s efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the insurgency launched by the TTP in late 2007. It was held amid growing scepticism over whether the initiative can yield any deal, with detractors pointing out that all previous peace pacts with the Taliban had collapsed within months. The Taliban have carried out hundreds of bombings that have claimed about 40,000 lives, according to official figures. AGENCIES
Charar-e-Sharief jihadi resurfaces H izbul Mujahideen leader Mast Gul, involved in the 1995 siege of Charar-e-Sharief shrine in Jammu & Kashmir, was behind a suicide attack on Shias in Peshawar that killed nine persons, a Pakistani Taliban commander has said. Mufti Hasaan Swati, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander for Peshawar area, said that he had tasked Mast Gul alias Haroon Khan to carry out attacks on the Shia minority, including the suicide bombing of a hotel on Tuesday. AGENCIES