Members of the grand jirga, tasked by the government to hold talks with leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), have proposed to hold another sitting with the PTM on May 10 as they hope their decision will be honoured both by the government and Manzoor Pashteen’s party.
The grand jirga members are waiting for a response from the PTM since its members are scattered across district Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan. The PTM members are also busy preparing for a gathering scheduled for May 12 in Karachi.
The jirga members said there is a Constitution in place but there is also a traditional way for resolving issues among Pashtuns and the jirga members will have to follow their traditions as well.
“Let the PTM Leader Manzoor Pashteen place his demands before the jirga and then we will decide which government institution we need to negotiate with,” Malik Fida Muhammad Khan, a jirga member from Frontier Region Peshawar told The Express Tribune. “We want to initiate talks as soon as possible.”
When asked about strength of jirga, Fida said the jirga members always seek consent of the parties before making any decision. “We take signature of the parties on a written agreement,” he added.
Malik Waris Khan, tribal elder from Khyber Agency, who is also part of the jirga said both the PTM and the government want negotiations, which is why they have been asked to step in.
“Yes, I believe since we have been asked by both the parties and both have trust on, therefore we hope the PTM and the government will accept our verdict,” Waris said. “We will identify what we consider right and what we believe is wrong.”
The grand jirga, according to lawmaker Shah Jee Gul Afridi, will go to any extent to resolve issues within the framework of the law and the Constitution. Afridi said four jirga members will contact the PTM for talks and then eight jirga members will negotiate. “PTM has never refused negotiations.”
Talking to media after the meeting, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Information Minister Shah Farman said the K-P government will act as a facilitator for holding negotiations between the jirga and the PTM.