Saturday, March 22, 2014

“The nation would soon hear good news”

The go-betweens were never meant to work out, so here is the real thing- direct talks (hopefully).

It appears an important element will be prisoner swapping, Taliban is expected to release the civilians it has captured in exchange for the govt to set free some dangerous thugs. Unpleasant reality that has to be faced.

Again it would be a good idea (but perhaps futile) to insist that Taliban forswears violence and tolerates (it does not have to accept) the framework of the Pakistani constitution.
“The process of talking directly to the Taliban will start in two to three days, both sides have agreed on the venue”, he told reporters following the meeting also attended by the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Sami further said that reports that the Taliban had rejected the notion of holding talks outside Waziristan were mere speculation. The TTP had proposed its stronghold of North Waziristan as the venue, while the government wanted to hold talks in Bannu.

Maulana Samiul Haq, however, stopped short of specifying if the negotiations would be taking place in Bannu. “Both sides are showing flexibility and a willingness for success of the talks,” Haq added, saying the chosen place would be declared a “peace zone” but without specifying its location.
Another member of the committee, Maulana Yousuf Shah, said that Saturday’s meeting between the two committees were an important breakthrough. “The nation would soon hear good news,” he said.

Sources had told DawnNews earlier that the meeting also deliberated on the list of ‘prisoners’ under government detention shared by the Taliban. The two sides also discussed the release of persons kidnapped and held hostage by the militants, the sources said.

The interior minister told a press conference on Friday that direct talks between the government committee and Taliban Shura would begin in a few days. A sensitive phase of the peace process was about to start and it would bring to an end all misgivings and misconceptions, he said. He indicated that a month-long ceasefire announced by the TTP would continue beyond the March 31 deadline but did not elaborate.


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