Taliban peace process enters ‘decisive phase’

* Taliban committee reaches Miranshah to discuss with TTP leadership place and time for future round of direct talks with the government negotiating committee * Meeting will review progress made so far in dialogue and evolve future course of action

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui said on Thursday that the-two member Taliban talks committee would give a report about its talks with the Taliban leadership after its return from Miramshah, North Waziristan within two days.
Talking to newsmen, he said the talks had entered a crucial stage and after the report from the Taliban committee, a decision would be taken on how to take forward the talks process. Irfan Siddiqui said after the report it would be clear whether the Taliban would hold direct or indirect talks. The Taliban would make some demands and some demands would come from the government, he explained. The indirect talks between the government and Taliban had regained momentum after a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan.
The Wednesday’s meeting at the Bani Gala residence of Imran Khan had been followed by the second round of talks between the Taliban committee and the delegation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban in North Waziristan. Before arriving in Miranshah, the Taliban negotiating committee met Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali on Wednesday evening to discuss the future strategy for peace talks. Irfan Siddiqui said the first stage of establishing contact with the Taliban had been completed despite various hurdles. 
He said just one and a half month ago nobody could even think that there would be so much progress in the negotiation process with the Taliban, but the present situation was before everybody and there was hope in efforts to curb terrorism. Siddiqui said that during the process of negotiations, for the first time two members of the committee met the leadership of Taliban and the latter gave their response in writing, which was very encouraging. 
After the attack on a police bus in Karachi and killing of 23 detained FC personnel, the government made a demand of unconditional ceasefire to Taliban, which they did. He further said after the completion of the first stage, the government committee, with consensus, requested the prime minister to establish a new committee, which could take decisions. 

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