Govt completes ‘homework’ to launch direct peace talks

* Interior minister says no deadlock; talks set to enter ‘sensitive stage’ * Some forces still want to sabotage dialogue process through terrorist activities
AFP

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Friday that preliminary but formal direct talks between the government committee and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would take place during the next few days. 
“All initial homework and consultations have been completed for the first direct contact with the TTP,” he informed, adding “some forces still want to sabotage the dialogue process by way of terrorist activities”. Addressing a news conference on Friday after chairing a meeting of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) board, the interior minister said that there had been progress in the TTP-government talks, which have entered a sensitive stage. Direct mediation between the two sides would take place shortly. 
Nisar said there is a wrong impression in the media that there is some kind of big deadlock between the two sides on the issue of deciding the place for the next phase of talks. He said the location for the talks was not such a serious issue for the two sides, and the process of negotiations has went through sensitive phases in the last few months. The minister said there would be positive development on the issue of peace talks, but it is better if the government continues to move quietly on it.
The interior minister barred all employees of NADRA from making any contact with the foreign nationals. During his visit to the NADRA head offices in Islamabad, Nisar also ordered an audit of all regional offices of the organisation. He said the number of directors general in NADRA has been reduced from 36 to 24. The minister said as a result of measures taken by the incumbent government, NADRA earned profit of about Rs 100 million during the last two months. 
The minister said the process for the appointment of regular NADRA chairman is underway in a highly transparent manner. Nisar said the audit of the facility has been started after eight years. He said that 361 ghost employees had been detected in NADRA and their salaries have been stopped. The interior minister said the services 12 NADRA employees were terminated for issuing illegal Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs). 
Speaking about the Islamabad Safe City project, Nisar said it has been approved. “An agreement to this effect would be signed with a Chinese company,” the minister added. To a question, he said work had been completed to appoint a grade 22 officer as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general, and the appointment would be made in the coming days. To a question about terrorist attack on district courts, he said the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court were holding inquiries into the incident. “A government committee is also holding an inquiry, and it would be held in a transparent manner,” he assured. The minister said that the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), “whose secret fund was criminally misused by the previous government”, would be abolished. The minister said NADRA has signed an agreement worth Rs 46.2 million for the Punjab Bar Council Cards project. 

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