ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday agreed to pursue the peace talks with the Taliban militants further by putting them into a “formalised structure”.
Both leaders, however kept their fingers crossed over the modalities for the “formalised structure”, especially about the proposed opening of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) office in the country on which PTI chief did not receive an explicit response from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, sources privy to the development confided. The prime minister and the PTI chief also agreed on the establishment of a new committee to negotiate with the Taliban. Prime Minister Nawaz who visited Imran Khan’s residence in Bani Gala, Islamabad, with his aides Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan and Irfan Siddiqui, who is a special assistant to the prime minister. They held threadbare discussion with the PTI leadership headed by Imran Khan. PTI President Javed Hashmi, Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Secretary General Jehangir Tareen, Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari and Naeemul Haq assisted Imran Khan.
Both the sides recognised that it was imperative not only to isolate those unwilling to hold a dialogue but also those actively seeking to sabotage the dialogue process. They agreed that such failure would result in greater polarisation and terrorism within the country. According to an announcement by the PTI Media Cell, the informal meeting exchange ideas on how to expedite the peace process through dialogue and to share concerns and discuss ideas on how to proceed, should the dialogue fail.
Imran Khan and his team were informed of the latest developments relating to the dialogue. KP Chief Minister Khattak also gave a brief overview of the situation in his province. Meanwhile, the government side agreed to Imran’s suggestion that the dialogue required a formalised structure so as to identify which groups were actually participating in this process. The PTI chief credited the government with following the path of talks and noted that this strategy has at least divided the militants.
Imran said that forces opposed to the peace talks have become active again and noted that he had offered unconditional support to the government to make the peace process successful. He told Prime Minister Nawaz that utmost concern should be for the safety and security of the over six hindered thousand civilians in North Waziristan if, as the last resort, a military operation becomes necessary.
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