Army top brass weighs options in peace negotiations with Taliban

* Corps commanders meeting decides to effectively respond to any terrorist activity * Mulls proposal by govt to include army representative in negotiating team
Army top brass weighs options in peace negotiations with Taliban
AFP

RAWALPINDI: A corps commanders’ conference, held at the General Headquarters on Friday, took a comprehensive review of the prevalent internal and external security situation of the country and weighed options in the peace talks with the Taliban.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif chaired the meeting, which was part of routine monthly meetings. According to ISPR, the participants also dwelt at length on various professional matters. The meeting decided that air strikes would continue on militant hideouts in the event of attacks on military installations in the future. The meeting was briefed on the goals achieved by the surgical strikes against militant hideouts in North Waziristan. 
The military top brass expressed satisfaction over the successful air strikes on the hideouts in retaliation to a spate of deadly terrorist attacks in the country. According to military sources, the meeting also focused on the country’s internal security issues as well as on professional matters relating to the military. The meeting also discussed the selection of military representatives for negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), sources added. Gen Sharif took the corps commanders into confidence over his visit to the United Arab Emirates. However, an official press release by ISPR said, “The conference was part of routine monthly meetings.”
“The forum dwelt at length on various professional matters. The participants also undertook a comprehensive review of prevalent internal and external security situation of the country,” it added. The meeting was called at a time when the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to continue with peace process that it started with Pakistani Taliban militants last month.
Meanwhile, coordinator of the government’s negotiating committee, Irfan Siddique has said the committee has suggested to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to include a representative of the Pakistan Army in talks with the TTP. Talking to the BBC, Siddique said that the proposal was submitted during the meeting of the committee members with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said that the talks have now entered the decisive phase in which final decision would be taken, and in this connection army is a key stakeholder. Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Friday that the inclusion of army in the peace team is a must. He also said the premier and army chief must have constant contact.

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