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TTP demands release of 400 prisoners, says Sami

Dawn Report 2014-03-28
NOWSHERA/PESHAWAR: Chief of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan`s peace committee Maulana Samiul Haq on Thursday said the militant group had demanded release of around 400 prisoners belonging to it, while the government had sought the freedom of some important people, including Islamia College University Vice Chancellor Professor Ajmal Khan.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Haq said the TTP-government negotiations were moving towards success and the Taliban had showed conditional willingness to release Professor Ajmal and other impor-tant people.

He demanded of the government to begin freeing people, whose release was demanded by the TTP, for the progress of peace process.

The TTP committee chief said both the government and the Taliban had agreed to take the dialogue to its logical end, so he was hopeful that the two sides would soon begin exchanging goodwill gestures.

He said he along with other members of the TTP committee would meet those of the government peace committee tomorrow (Friday) to discuss progress of peace process.

Earlier in the day, Mr Haq told a peace conference in Pabbi that Islamic countries should shun differences to counter threat from the West.

He said the Western countries were united to harm Islamic seminaries but Muslims could foil such bids by getting united.

On the occasion, general secretary of Wafaqu Madaris Qari HanifJalandhri said student of Islamic seminaries were protector of Pakistan`s Constitution and that any attempt to ban admission of foreigners in local seminaries would be resisted.

GOOD NEWS VERY SOON: Member of the TTP peace committee Professor Mohammad Ibrahim on Thursday said peace talks between the government and the militant outfit had entered crucial phase and the nation would hear good news very soon.

Talking to reporters in Peshawar, Professor Ibrahim said the direct TTP-government dialogue was a major breakthrough in peace process.

He said the two sides had yet to disclose their agendas but the situation would be clear within days.

The TTP committee member said bringing the TTP to the national mainstream was a difficult task, which required lots of work and patience.`They (Taliban) are now in thousands, who will take time to be in the national mainstream,` he said.

Professor Ibrahim said despite having a difference of opinion on terrorism, his party, Jamaat-i-Islami, would cooperate with the federal government for restoration of peace in the country.

He said the confidence building process began after the government and TTP held direct dialogue.

`At this stage, we can`t say whether complete confidence has been restored between the two sides. Both sides need to do lots of work for confidence building,` he said.

The TTP committee member said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had hinted at the release of non-combatants, including women and children, on humanitarian ground, which should not be linked to the talks.

TTP had provided a list of 300 non-combatant prisoners to the government demanding their immediate release.