Committee wants both sides to announce ‘ceasefire’

Committee wants both sides to announce ‘ceasefire’

ISLAMABAD: A four-member committee formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to hold talks with the Taliban on Wednesday called for ceasefire from both sides in order to make the peace process peaceful. Addressing a press conference, Irfan Siddiqui, a committee member, said the prime minister was serious for talks with the Taliban to ensure peace and stability in the country. He said the government has adopted the path of talks with the Taliban to give peace another chance in the lager interest of the country and, therefore, the Taliban should respond positively to the government’s negotiation offer. He said that despite “bitter experiences” of the past‚ the PM has given another chance to peace talks. He said that it would be much better if the Taliban also form their committee in this regard. He also said that the Taliban leadership could directly contact him and he would convey their message to the prime minister. Siddiqui said that other three members of the committee are respected persons and have trust of the people of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Former ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah, who is also a committee member, said the government must restore its confidence before going for dialogue with the Taliban. He further said that before going for negotiations, the government must clear its stance over the issue of Taliban prisoners and urged the federal government to take a clear position in this regard and ensure a ceasefire too. He said that the government would have to review its policies against terrorism in the region after withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan. Rahimullah Yusufzai, a journalist and also a committee member, said that the Taliban respect him but he could only convey the government’s message to their leadership. Yusufzai assured the prime minister of his full cooperation and said that he would make every possible effort to bring peace and stability in the country. He said he would keep Nawaz Sharif informed about every development after contacting the Taliban leadership. 

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