Some Taliban ‘opponents’ want to sabotage peace talks: negotiator

* Rustam says Taliban leadership ready to hold talks directly if provided guarantee of protection
Some Taliban ‘opponents’ want to sabotage peace talks: negotiator

ISLAMABAD: Government committee member Rustam Shah Mohmand said on Wednesday that some opponents of the Taliban want to sabotage the peace process. 
Speaking to media after addressing a seminar over the 2014 NATO troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role, Rustam Shah said the Taliban had condemned and disassociated themselves from the recent terror attacks in the country. He added that this was a difficult journey but the dialogue process should move forward. He said that talks will not be held outside the framework of the constitution, no area will be given to a group nor will anyone’s agenda be followed. 
According to Rustam Shah, the implementation of sharia was not part of the dialogue and the Taliban had agreed to a ceasefire. He said that dialogue will only be held with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and no other group. A meeting between Taliban and the government negotiating committees which was scheduled for Wednesday was postponed until today (Thursday). 
Rustam Shah said that the meeting between the two committees is not going to be held today (Wednesday), both sides would meet on Thursday instead. He said the dialogue process with the TTP is complicated and both sides would face difficulties during this journey. Shah said if a guarantee of protection is provided, Taliban leadership can hold talks directly with the government.
He said the dialogue process would move forward within the limits of Pakistan’s constitution. “First priority of the government is to maintain ceasefire while Taliban leadership also agreed to it,” Shah said. Another member of the committee, Professor Ibrahim, said that the government negotiating body has not replied to the demand of scheduling a meeting with army chief and DG ISI. However, he said the Taliban committee was satisfied with the developments so far. 
Meanwhile, member of Taliban committee Maulana Samiul Haq, talking to a private news channel, said the demands of TTP were placed before the government’s committee, which has expressed satisfaction. Haq said that the blasts in Peshawar were a conspiracy to sabotage peace process, however TTP has denied any links to these blasts. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has said that progress is being made in talks with the Taliban. In an interview to BBC, he said no hindrance has so far surfaced in the ongoing dialogue process.

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