Govt considering release of TTP’s non-combatant prisoners: Rustam


ISLAMABAD: The government is seriously considering release of non-combatant prisoners of the Pakistani Taliban.
The prisoners were perhaps arrested without any evidence of their involvement in terrorist activities, said one of the members representing the state in the peace talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “The Taliban have not made any formal demand for the release of their prisoners but have only expressed their wish of progress on the issue,” BBC Urdu quoted Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former diplomat and member of government’s team for talks with Taliban. 
“The government will seriously consider freeing those prisoners against whom no concrete evidence exists,” he added. However, Shah did not clarify whether any such move will also coincide with the release of innocent civilians abducted by Taliban. Maulana Samiul Haq, head of the Taliban coordination committee, had recently said that neither side had denied freeing non-combatant prisoners in each other’s custody. Rustam Shah also supported creation of a free zone for the Taliban in the restive tribal region, a demand which has been seen with much cynicism in Islamabad’s power corridors. 
“Taliban needed to be facilitated and should have a free zone facility to move easily. Having a free zone facility for them, they will talk without fear and danger,” the ex-ambassador was quoted as saying. Denying any deadlock in talks, Shah said: “It a gradual process and progress will come in stages.” On Saturday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had held a meeting with the government and the Taliban intermediary committees to review matters in connection to the first face-to-face parleys with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which took place last week in a remote part of Orakzai Agency. 

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