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Imran, Fazl refuse to represent Taliban

04 February, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman refused to represent the Taliban in the dialogue process with the committee formed by the government.

A statement issued by the PTI on Monday said that Imran Khan will not play his part as a representative of the committee proposed by the TTP.The statement expressed full confidence in a four-member committee announced by the government, stating Rustam Shah Mohmand from the government's side would represent the PTI in peace talks.

It also urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to fully assist the peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban. "The PTI believes that peace can only be restored through dialogue," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the JUI-F announced disassociation with the dialogue process and refused to become part of the committee constituted by the Taliban. Talking to newsmen after chairing a meeting of party's central leadership, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that his party had expressed complete disassociation with the whole dialogue process. "We will remain disassociated from the current talks process but are ready to extend cooperation if so sought by the government," Fazl said.

To a question, he said Mufti Kifayatullah, who was named by the Taliban in their committee, was bound to accept the decisions of the party and he would not be a part of any committee.The JUI-F chief regretted that the prime minister neither consulted him and his party on the issue of dialogue nor took him into confidence on the matter.

He said it was he who proposed to the prime minister to bring the issue of talks' process on the floor of parliament.Maulana Fazl was of the view that the current dialogue process was also against the spirit of decisions taken at the All Parties Conference (APC). "It was decided by leaders of all the parties represented at the APC that the tribal Jirga will take forward the dialogue process with the Taliban but the decision of the APC has been ignored," he said.

He told a questioner that he could express good wishes for the success of dialogue but was not hopeful.Earlier, it was decided that the committees formed by the government and the Taliban to hold the peace dialogue will meet here today (Tuesday) at 2:00pm.

The decision came following a telephonic conversation between Maulana Samiul Haq, who is a member of the committee nominated by the Taliban, and Irfan Siddiqui, who is the coordinator of government committee.

During the conversation, Maulana Samiul Haq informed Ifran Siddiqui that they were serious about the dialogue process. Maulana Samiul Haq also spoke with Major (retd) Amir.

Meanwhile, the committee nominated by the Taliban held its first meeting here on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Maulana Samiul Haq and attended by Professor Ibrahim and Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Addressing the meeting, Samiul Haq expressed the hope that the government would find a better solution to problems while holding a dialogue with the Taliban, according to sources.

On the occasion, Professor Ibrahim Khan said that they had decided to have a direct meeting with the Taliban leadership to learn about their stance on peace talks with the government. He said that so far they came to know about the Taliban's stance and demands through the media so it was decided in Monday's meeting that direct meeting with the Taliban leadership was necessary to fully understand their viewpoint and other issues related to the peace talks.

He said that the committee would also contact the PTI Chairman Imran Khan in order to convince him to take part in the dialogue process.

Professor Ibrahim said that being a member of the committee his sole objective and desire was to play his role in the success of dialogue for peace.

Professor Ibrahim said he was much optimistic about the negotiations with the Taliban while underscoring that problems could only be resolved through dialogue.

He further said that the Taliban would first demand the implementation of Shariah law in Pakistan, and said if the government had really wanted to impose it in the country in a democratic manner, it could have easily done in the past 65 years.

Professor Ibrahim said that the Taliban committee was fully authorised to make any decision. He also urged the media to play a constructive role in the success of the dialogue.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq cautioned that several attempts would be made to sabotage the dialogue process. He added that the Taliban's demands would be known after the committee had a meeting with them.

Commenting on the absence of Imran Khan, Maulana Samiul Haq hoped the PTI chairman would make the right decision.

Maulana Samiul Haq added that the committee would meet again in the next few days. He said the procedure and place of the dialogue would be finalised after meeting with the committee formed by the government. He said every effort would be made to complete this process soon‚ but it was not possible to give a time frame at the moment.

The JUI-S chief said the Taliban had not set any conditions for the talks yet. He said Maulana Yusuf Shah would be the coordinator of their team.

Our Peshawar Bureau adds: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said it was disappointed by the decision taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) head Imran Khan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressing their inability to represent the TTP in the peace talks with the government.

The TTP spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, told several reporters in a phone call from an undisclosed location it was hoping that Imran Khan and JUI-F's Mufti Kifayatullah along with the JUI-S head Maulana Samiul Haq, Jamaat-i-Islami's Prof Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and the Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz would agree to become a part of the TTP negotiations committee. "It is sad that Maulana Fazlur Rahman is so unsure of himself that he stopped Mufti Kifayatullah and the JUI-F from representing the TTP in the peace talks," he remarked.

Shahidullah Shahid also said that they were considering some names as replacement for Imran Khan and Mufti Kifayatullah in the TTP negotiations committee. "The names of journalists Orya Maqbool Jan and Ansar Abbasi are also under consideration. Their names were considered earlier also but they weren't named as we didn't want to announce a long list of people to represent the TTP in the talks," he added.

The TTP had earlier denied its involvement in the hand-grenade blasts at a cinema hall in Peshawar in which five people were killed on Sunday. The responsibility for the attack was made by Jundullah, a small militant group that had been making tall claims about several attacks in Pakistan and once in France without providing any evidence of its involvement.

End.

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