Pakistan peace talks begin on cautious note
ISLAMABAD (Pajhwok): The Pakistani government and the Taliban on Thursday held the first round of landmark peace talks aimed at ending a seven-year insurgency in the country.
Negotiators from both sides met at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad, the nation's capital, in an effort to chart a roadmap for future talks on how to conclude a peace deal.
At the end of four hours meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq read out a joint statement, in which the government committee demanded negotiations be held within the framework of the constitution.
The two sides agreed the scope of talks be limited to insurgency-hit areas, with government negotiators seeking an end to activities that might hamper peace efforts. Dialogue should be concluded in a short time.
Referring to the 10-member Taliban monitoring committee, government negotiators sought a clarification regarding the scope and authority of both TTP teams.
For its part, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan committee urged the government to clarify the mandate and level of authority of its four members body and its ability to implement a peace pact.
The Taliban team also demanded that meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the army chief and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief.
The government’s negotiators include Irfan Siddiqui, special assistant to the prime minister, Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former Pakistan ambassador, senior journalist Rahimullah Yousufzai and Major (R) Amir Khan.
Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Abdul Aziz and Prof. Mohammad Ibrahim represent the TTP.
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