ISLAMABAD – Members of the government and the Taliban negotiating committees reached a consensus regarding extending the ceasefire, the latter had ended last week, private TV channels reported on Wednesday.
The decision was taken at a meeting, convened by Interior Affairs Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali at the Punjab House, and had extension of the ceasefire, release of non-combatant prisoners and establishment of a peace zone high on the agenda.
Soon after the meeting, Jamiat Ulem-e-Islam-S chief and Taliban committee member Samiul Haq told journalists that an atmosphere of confidence and trust was prevailing on both the sides. The two committees have agreed to form a new subcommittee to address reservations shown by both sides, a channel reported.
Sami said that his committee would try to arrange a meeting with the TTP Shura this week. “We will ask the Taliban leadership for steps that can prove productive for restoration of peace in Pakistan,” he said. Before the meeting, Samiul Haq told reporters that no deadlock existed in the dialogue, and the talks were happening after a delay only due to unrelated issues.
Before the meeting began, Nisar met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed him on the latest developments in the dialogue. The government has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban in efforts to end years of fighting in the country's northwest that has killed thousands of people.
Earlier, Maulana Yousuf Shah, part of the talks committee, said that the Taliban do not want a deadlock in peace talks. Government negotiator Rustam Shah Mohmand stated that the latest meeting was extremely important as various issues were on the agenda. Professor Muhammad Ibrahim said that efforts to extend the ceasefire were underway.