ISLAMABAD: The government and Taliban committees, in their first meeting held here on Thursday, expressed the resolve to continue dialogue and vowed that the violent acts of the recent past would not hamper the peace process.
Addressing a joint press conference after three hours long meeting at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Irfan Siddiqui and Maulana Samiul Haq said the committees agreed that both sides should stop giving statements against each other and the process of talks should not be long as the nation is hoping for good news.
The government nominated committee consisted of Irfan Siddiqui, Rahimullah Yousafzai, Rustam Shah Mohmand and Major (R) Amir, while Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Abdul Aziz and Prof Ibrahim were members of the committee, announced by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
During talks, the government committee put forward five points:
1. The peace talks should be held within the ambit of the Constitution and there should be end to the violent attacks in the country.
2. Peace talks process should not be long. It must be for a specified period of time.
3. The talks should be held only on the militancy-hit areas and these should not be about the whole country.
4. It also asked the Taliban committee about its authority in the presence of the nine-member monitoring committee of the Taliban.
5. The committee also said that there should be no activity, which is against peace, security and harmful to the talks process.
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.
In reply, Samiul Haq said they welcomed the steps taken for establishing peace.
He said, “We always made efforts for an end to all sort of bloodshed so that Pakistan becomes a peaceful country according to the Islamic teachings.”
The committee nominated by the Taliban put forward the following points:
1. The Taliban committee demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff.
2. The committee asked about the government’s mandate and power.
3. It also asked about the capability of the government’s committee to ensure the demands of Taliban are met.
Maulana Samiul Haq said the talks were held in a congenial atmosphere.
He said that their three-member committee would meet with the nine-member committee of 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.
He said, “We are happy that the meeting was held according to our wishes and expectations and in an atmosphere of conciliation and goodwill.”
The aim of the meeting was to rid the country of its problems and make it peaceful, Irfan said adding, “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”.