|End to violence, talks under Constitution|
07 February 2014
ISLAMABAD: The government and Taliban committees, in their first meeting here on Thursday, agreed to cease violence and hold negotiations under the ambit of the Constitution.Both committees also resolved to continue the dialogue and vowed that the violent acts of the recent past would not hamper the peace process.
Addressing a joint press conference after a three-hour-long meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, government negotiator Irfan Siddiqui and Maulana Samiul Haq from the Taliban committee said the committees agreed that both sides should stop issuing statements against each other and the process of talks should not be prolonged as the nation is hoping for good news.
During the talks, the government committee said it should be conveyed to the Taliban that negotiations should be held within the ambit of the Constitution and there should be an end to violent attacks in the country.
It said the talks should be focused only on the militancy-hit areas and not to the whole country. The government committee also asked the Taliban committee about its authority in the presence of the nine-member monitoring committee of the Taliban. It said there should be no activity which is against peace and security and is harmful to the talks process.
The Taliban committee demanded that the military should announce a ceasefire. It said the names of detained Taliban prisoners should be revealed and they should be released.However, the government committee said that the issues of enforcement of Shariah and recovery of missing persons would be discussed later.
Reading points of a joint press release, Maulana Samiul Haq said the committees condemned the violent attacks that happened in recent days.The government committee referred to the resolve of the prime minister that he sincerely and honestly wanted that talks were successful for peace in the country.
Irfan Siddiqui said they were holding talks with an open mind and heart and were hopeful that the talks would produce good results as the nation was praying and hoping for success of the peace process.
Samiul Haq said they welcomed the steps taken for establishing peace.“We always made efforts for an end to all sorts of bloodshed so that Pakistan becomes a peaceful country according to the Islamic teachings,” he said.
The Taliban committee also demanded a meeting with the president, prime minister, army chief and DG ISI. It informed that the government’s demands and agenda would be conveyed to the leadership of the Taliban.
Samiul Haq said the talks were held in a congenial atmosphere. He said their three-member committee would meet the nine-member committee of the Taliban in South Waziristan. He said both sides were positive about the success of the talks and the meeting was according to the expectations and aspirations of the nation.
Irfan Siddiqui thanked the Taliban committee for holding the meeting and said it seemed that there were not two committees, but only one committee was holding talks.“We are happy that the meeting was held according to our wishes and expectations and in an atmosphere of conciliation and goodwill,” he said.
He said the aim of the meeting was to rid the country of its problems and make it peaceful. “There was not even a single moment of tension and the meeting was useful and fruitful. The meeting clearly set the objectives for the future,” he added.“The progress of the talks will be submitted to the prime minister,” said a government official, who declined to be identified.
Muhammad Anis adds: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Maulana Samiul Haq have agreed to remain in contact with each other on regular basis during the ongoing talks.The Maulana made a telephonic contact with the interior minister and appreciated his role in efforts for establishing peace in the country.
Chaudhry Nisar said not only he but the whole nation was praying for success of peace talks between the two committees. He said the government had entered into talks with an open heart and would sincerely support the dialogue. The regular contact between the two leaders would help remove any misunderstanding and pave the way for successful dialogue.
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