ISLAMABAD: In the maiden meeting between government officials and the four-member committee constituted to hold talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the negotiators to start the dialogue process, Express News reported on Friday.
The meeting took place at the Prime Minister House today and was attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and other officials.
Defining the authority of the talks committee, Prime Minister Nawaz stressed that the terms of the dialogue process must be according to the laws of Pakistan.
The committee was given absolute power to seek assistance from any religious or political party, media person or army official in its attempt to make the dialogue process successful.
The prime minister assured the committee members of government’s all out support and said they will get all the required logistic and administrative assistance.
It was also decided that the media will be informed about the progress made in negotiations with the TTP.
The committee will today formally ask the TTP to form a similar group to initiate talks.
Meeting with Imran
Two of the committee members - Rustum Shah Mohmand and Rahimullah Yousafzai – met Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan and sought his recommendations with regard to the peace talks.
Imran emphasised that the committee should ensure ceasefire and make the talks effective.
The committee members briefed Imran about their authority and the directions given to them by Prime Minister Nawaz.
On January 29, the prime minister told fellow parliamentarians at the National Assembly that the government wanted to give dialogue with the Taliban another chance. He nominated Irfan Siddiqui, former ambassador Rustum Shah Mohmand, journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai and retired intelligence officer Maj Amir as members of the committee tasked with spearheading the peace process.
Although Prime Minister Nawaz did not appoint any of the members as the head of the committee, he announced that the interior minister would serve as a focal person for the committee. The premier would supervise the process himself.
The government has neither specified a timeframe for the peace process nor announced the modalities for the proposed dialogue with the Taliban.