Govt, army not on same page over Taliban peace dialogue: negotiator

* Ibrahim says chances of success of peace process diminishing due to ‘trust deficit’

PESHAWAR: The Taliban side intermediary, Professor Ibrahim said on Sunday that the chances of success of the government-Taliban dialogue process were facing many odds and termed trust deficit as the biggest hurdle.
He also said that the government and army were not on the same page over the dialogue with the Taliban. In an interview to foreign media, Prof Ibrahim claimed that the government had not shared with them the list of the released Taliban-linked detainees. He underscored the need for sharing details of the released detainees so that “we can press the Taliban to free Prof Ajmal, Ali Haider Gilani and Shahbaz Taseer” who continue to remain hostage in their custody.
Prof Ibrahim said: “We had believed that the government and military were on the same page over the peace dialogue, but the army has now expressed reservations in this regard”. He said the talks’ process also suffered a stalemate due to the infighting among the Taliban factions. Professor Ibrahim Khan assured resumption of dialogue with the Taliban soon. He said that there was no other way out of the crisis except this dialogue, and expressed his strong resolve to pursue the course even if the current efforts failed.
Terming the recent abduction of 17 persons from Haider Kandao Orakzai as a matter of concern, he said that many of the abductees had been released. “Yet, assuring peace is purely up to the government,” he said. Prof Ibrahim backed Taliban’s demand for implementation of Shariah in the country. Citing the example of 19th century Afghanistan where the Great Britain suffered defeat, followed by Russia in the 80s and now the United States, he said that it all portends the looming resurgence of Muslim Ummah in the region.
Welcoming the recent offer of peace by Lashkar-e-Islam to the government, he said that the dialogue would have a positive effect on all Taliban groups, “since the establishment of Islamic state is only possible through religion and preaching, instead of violence and war. Meanwhile, government negotiator Rustam Shah said he was hopeful that the peace talks will resume, adding that the venue and date will be confirmed within next two days.

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