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Peace committees meet today to decide line of action

29 March, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry called a joint meeting of state and Taliban coordination committees today (Saturday) to discuss the next line of action in the backdrop of recent talks with the local Taliban.

Interior Ministry sources said that the government wants quick progress from the talks and does not favour to unduly prolong the process. The main demands that Taliban made from the government side included creation of peace zone in part of South Waziristan and the release of their prisoners who are in custody of the security forces. The creation of peace zone means the withdrawal of troops from the volatile region. Taliban, though, had said the demilitarized peace zone would provide them an opportunity to move freely but observers believe that it seems almost impractical for the government to fulfill this demand.

"It is difficult for the government to create a peace zone as the military would never agree to any such demand," said Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy, a professor of International Relations and head of institute of FATA governance and development in Peshawar University. The second demand, release of Taliban prisoners in custody of security agencies, was ruled out by Rustam Shah Mohmand, a member of the government committee, saying that the list of people provided by Taliban was not present with the government.

The joint session of Taliban-nominated and official committees for dialogue with Taliban would be chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. The meeting would review the progress made so far , and also decide about the next agenda for next round of talks with Taliban Shoora, while sources have said that all prisoners could be released as a goodwill gesture, only in case of success of this round of talks.

Sources have also deliberated that the success of the already commenced dialogue could be well discerned by the fact that many splinter groups within Taliban have also be successfully singled out. The interest and dedication of Taliban in the dialogue process can be easily discerned by the decreased terrorism in the Country, while government has also given peace a big breakthrough, which indicated government's resolve to adopt peace.

Meanwhile, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday sought more arguments on the maintainability of a petition seeking direction to the federal government to hold dialogue with the Taliban after allowing them to open their office in Pakistan.

The chief justice remarked that holding dialogue or otherwise was the policy matter and the court could not issue any direction to the government in this regard. The chief justice directed the petitioner counsel to convince that under what law the court can intervene in the policy matters.

He turned down the petitioner request to take suo motu to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens at the hands of the terrorism and drone attacks. The chief justice held that according to a judgement of the Supreme Court, the high courts had no jurisdiction to take suo motu. The chief justice deferred further hearing of the petition until May 9.


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