ISLAMABAD: The government committee for peace negotiations should have come to the meeting even if for a mere two minutes, complained Jamiat Ulema Islam-Samiul Haq group (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Express News reported on Tuesday.
The JUI-S chief, who is one of the members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) committee, was talking to the media in Islamabad.
The Taliban intermediaries and government negotiators were originally scheduled to meet today at 2pm to devise a strategy for the peace process.
Earlier today, however, Irfan Siddiqui said the government side wanted to have certain unidentified issues cleared before the dialogue process formally began.
Lal Masjid chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, who is also a member of the TTP committee, had earlier said that he was not aware of the questions raised by the government negotiators, while talking to the media in Islamabad.
The JUI-S chief said that it is the responsibility of the government to hold the peace talks and the government committee should have contacted them first, further adding that the TTP committee waited for two hours for the government committee wondering whether it will show up or not.
“The government should appreciate that we have come in the middle. It is a gift from God,” Haq remarked.
The TTP committee will have three members and it has a complete mandate, he added.
Rahimullah Yousufzai stated that he got in touch with Maulana Yousuf Shah from the Taliban committee and the two will remain in touch to further the peace talks.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced on Tuesday that a member of the Taliban should also participate in the peace talks and should be added to the existing three member committee, Express News reported.
The JUI-S chief said the US pressure on the government is causing hindrance in the peace negotiations.
He added that certain powers do not want peace in Pakistan.
Nawaz had earlier said the US has been told of Pakistan’s decision to conduct peace talks with the Taliban and that no one, including President Barack Obama, had raised any objections whatsoever.
The four-member government committee – comprising Irfan Siddiqui, former ISI official Major (retd) Mohammad Amir, journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai and former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand – was formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on January 29 for initiating peace talks with the TTP.
The TTP had named a five-member intermediary team that comprised Jamaat-e-Islami leader Professor Mohammad Ibrahim, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq, JUI-F politician Mufti Kifayatullah, Lal Masjid khateeb Maulana Abdul Aziz and PTI chief Imran Khan.
However, two members of the team – JUI-F’s Mufti Kifayatullah and PTI’s Imran Khan – have declined to be part of the Taliban committee.