Taliban to Respond After Consultation

Taliban to Respond After Consultation

Taliban to respond after ‘consultation’

PESHAWAR: Banned militant organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan said on Wednesday that it has taken the government’s talks offer seriously and would respond to it in the next few days after consultation.

“There is a need for steps to restore confidence and show sincerity,” the outlawed TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a press statement he emailed to newspaper offices.

However, the statement fell short of welcoming the talks’ offer that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made during his address to parliament. The prime minister announced a four-member negotiating team to talk to the militant organisations.

“We have taken the government’s move seriously and the Taliban shura will thoroughly discuss the offer and our formal response will come in next few days,” the statement in Urdu quoted the TTP spokesman as saying.

He said both former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari used the talks offer as a “weapon” against the militants “making those talks fail”. Shahidullah also dispelled the impression as “unfounded” that the banned TTP leader Maulvi Fazlullah was “against the talks”.

Following Nawaz Sharif’s announcement in the National Assembly that he has made a four-member committee for negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Punjabi Taliban chief Asmatullah Muawiya said TTP Punjab welcomes the talks. Muawiya said the only way to ensure the survival and protection of the country is through dialogue, adding that the Punjabi Taliban have always supported peace talks.