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Taliban send govt list of female, child 'prisoners': Ibrahim

18 March, 2014

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PESHAWAR: Taliban negotiating committee member Professor Muhammad Ibrahim said on Monday that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) list of 300 women and children prisoners has been given to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Briefing Jamaat-e-Islami leaders on the dialogue process, Professor Ibrahim said the withdrawal of forces from the South Waziristan Agency was a proposal, not a demand, put forward by the Taliban. He added that if the withdrawal cannot take place in the entire agency, it should be done in the Laddah and Makeen tehsils. According to Professor Ibrahim the release of Shahbaz Taseer and Haider Gilani, sons of Salmaan Taseer and Yousaf Raza Gilani, respectively, would be discussed with the Taliban.

He cautioned that the release of women and child prisoners can be the biggest issue in the dialogue process. Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has called on the Taliban to provide evidence of incarceration of women and children. Sanaullah says if there are any prisoners they will be released, and that this issue will not be allowed to become the reason for a deadlock in the talks.

Professor Ibrahim said that three places are still under consideration for a joint meeting of the government and Taliban Shura. While talking to a private TV channel he said they are in regular contact with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. "Three places are under consideration for the meeting of both the government and Taliban Shura, however, we cannot disclose them," Prof Ibrahim said. He said that Taliban did not demand but suggested the government release non-combatants – women, children and elderly people. He said the suggestion was aimed at making the atmosphere conducive for talks.

He said the Taliban have provided a 300-person list of women and children of TTP members who are assumed to be in the custody of law enforcement agencies. Prof Ibrahim said that most of these women and children belong to the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. While on the other hand, a member of the government negotiating committee, Rustam Shah Mohmand, said no decision has yet been finalised for the meeting of the government and Taliban Shura. Rustam Shah Mohmand said that the list of the women and children was not provided as yet.

The government said on Sunday that it would take action against those Taliban militants who oppose the peace dialogue. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said there was no "super committee" in addition to the government committee to hold dialogue with the Taliban. He denied a "super committee", comprising the prime minister, interior minister and an adviser, was working parallel to the government committee constituted to hold talks with the Taliban.


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