Taliban want ‘permanent’ ceasefire with government

* Prof Ibrahim says efforts underway to bridge Taliban-govt trust gap * Hafiz Gul Bahadur wants talks be held in South Waziristan instead of North Waziristan, fearing if talks fail they too will have to bear the brunt of military operation

ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has said that it wants a permanent ceasefire that will end their decade-long conflict with the government, a member of their negotiating team for peace talks said on Saturday. 
Professor Ibrahim Khan, who is a leading figure in the mainstream Jamaat-e-Islami party, met the leadership of the militant coalition TTP in South Waziristan on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue of direct talks between the leadership and the government.
“This is the combined wish of the Taliban Shura (consultative body), and the negotiating committee to convert the one-month ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire,” Ibrahim told Anadolu Agency, news agency.
The existing ceasefire was announced on March 1, following a 15-day deadlock in peace talks after two fatal attacks on security forces in February, which the army responded to with bombardments they claimed targeted militant hideouts. “There is lack of trust between the two sides,” said Ibrahim. “We [the negotiating team] are trying to convert the temporary ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire, as the Taliban too want that.”
He said the TTP negotiating committee would meet with the newly formed government committee in coming days to discuss direct talks. Ibrahim said the talks were likely to take place in South Waziristan because a rival militant group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, objected to the negotiations being held in North Waziristan.
“They do not want the negotiations to be held in North Waziristan as they fear if the talks fail, they too have to bear the brunt [of military action],” said Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, the Taliban negotiation committee led by Maulana Samiul Haq on Saturday called on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and briefed him on the committee’s meeting with the Taliban leadership.
The interior minister appreciated peace efforts of the Taliban negotiation committee. During the meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq said both sides were serious about carrying forward the dialogue process. He expressed his optimism about finding avenues for restoration of peace in the country. 

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