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Taliban include Imran Khan, Samiul Haq in their committee

02 February, 2014

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KARACHI: Top religious scholars have announced their support for the dialogue between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), while the latter has included Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Maulana Samiul Haq in the committee it has formed for dialogue with the government.

Fifteen prominent clerics held a meeting at the Jamia Darul Uloom on Saturday where they urged the government and Taliban to announce a ceasefire so bloodshed in the country could end. The clerics said that the ongoing violence is disastrous for the country and the nation. They also expressed concern that the evil forces would try their best to sabotage peace process with the Taliban; therefore, they added that the peace process must continue at all costs.

The religious scholars also asked the parties to hold serious and realistic dialogue in the interest of the country and the nation. "If both sides are sincere in resolving the issues through dialogue, it would be a pious act for pious country, however, it is essential to make a peaceful atmosphere for the talks," a joint statement said. Those who attended the meeting are: Maulana Saleemullah Khan, Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Maulana Fazlur Raheem, Maulana Hafeez Jalandhari, Mufti Muhammad Ashraf, Maulana Muhammad Hassan, Maulana Syed Adnan Kakakhel, Mufti Mukhtaruddin and Maulana Dr Sher Ali Shah attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Majlis-e-Shura of the TTP has constituted a nine-member political shura, headed by Qari Shakil, to negotiate with the government. Sources said the other members of the TTP are Asmatullah Mauvia, Shahidullah Shahid, Khalid Haqqani, Omar Khalid Khasarani and Khan Said alias Sajna. "No objections have been raised over the names of the government's committee members despite reservations," the Taliban sources added. Sources further said that the TTP is likely to announce names of its team on Sunday (today).

The TTP Saturday announced the names of its five-member dialogue committee. Media reports said that according to TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid, the TTP committee members are: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Mufti Kifayatullah of JUI-F, Maulana Abdul Aziz and Professor Ibrahim of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). This team will negotiate with the four-member committee of the government.

Talking to a private TV channel, Prof Ibrahim said that he was offered a role by the Taliban spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid and Qari Shakilur Rehman. "I will play my role for the sake of peace in country," he said. He added that party ameer had allowed him to play a role in the dialogise.

Maulana Samiul Haq also confirmed the news reports that he has accepted the offer of Taliban to represent TTP in the peace talks. Whereas, sources have said that Lal Masjid khateeb Maulana Aziz has said he is not ready to be part of the peace talks but would pray for the success of the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the PTI has called its core committee meeting which will take a decision tomorrow (Monday) on the offer to become part of the peace talks committee. Mufti Kifayatullah did not give confirmation acceptance of Taliban offer.

End.

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