TTP negotiators yet to meet Taliban leadership
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: The negotiators of Tehreeki-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have not yet decided when they will meet the Taliban leadership to convey concerns expressed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with them at a meting on March 6.
The government has also yet to form its new empowered committee to hold direct talks with the Taliban leadership.
`We will decide in a couple of days when we will meet Taliban leaders,` Professor Ibrahim, a member of the TTP committee, told Dawn on Tuesday.
At the March 6 meeting, the TTP negotiators assured the prime minister that they would meet the Taliban leadership in two days to convey his concern over the recent terrorist attacks by TTP`s splinter groups. It was also agreed that one member of the government committee would accompany the Taliban negotiators.
The TTP committee is reported to be waiting for a call by Taliban for the meeting. The TTP is also waiting for the formation of a new government committee before deciding on its future line of action.
The government has virtually dissolved itscommittee or limited its role in maintaining contacts with the TTP. On the other hand, the outlawed TTP has reportedly decided to hold talks with the new committee through its existing team.
`I believe that Taliban are waiting for the new government committee and will decide their future line of action after its formation, Prof Ibrahim said.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Rustam Shah Mohmand, a member of the government committee, will go to the tribal areas to meet Taliban leaders.
But when contacted by Dawn, Mr Mohmand said: `I don`t have any official intimation to accompany the TTP negotiators.
Another member of the government committee said Taliban had shown flexibility and agreed to hold direct talks with the government `unconditionally`. He said that earlier the TTP had made three main demands -release of non-combatants, freedom of 65 Taliban and declaration of some parts of Mehsud area as a peace zone (where talks can take place).
`We told the Taliban negotiators that the demands should be tabled during direct talks with the new government committee and they agreed,` he said.