Govt, TTP agree on a ‘complete ceasefire’: Fawad | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said the PTI government had reached an agreement on a “complete ceasefire” with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

He said authorities in neighbouring Taliban-controlled Afghanistan had facilitated the talks.

“The ceasefire will keep on extending with the progress in the negotiations,” Chaudhry said in a video statement.

No government can undertake any negotiations beyond the limits of the Constitution and law, he said, adding that both the government and the TTP have agreed on a complete ceasefire as per the understanding.

He said that sovereignty of the state, security, peace in the affected areas, social and economic stability will be kept in view during the talks. “The affected people of these areas will never be ignored and local people will be taken into confidence in these talks,” he added.

Read More: Taliban promise military action if TTP talks fail

The information minister said that the ceasefire will be extended in view of the progress in talks. “It is a welcoming sign that the affected areas of the country are now heading toward the complete peace after a long time.”

He said that the Afghan interim government has played a facilitative role in these talks. Fawad made it clear that the negotiations with the banned TTP Pakistan were started in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement in an interview last month.

Islamabad is believed to have reached an understanding with the Taliban government on the two-pronged strategy. Pakistan, at the request of the Taliban government, agreed to give talks a chance.

If those efforts failed, the Taliban government would take military action against the TTP and other groups threatening Pakistan.

Days before the Afghan Taliban were at the gates of Kabul, Pakistan had already began talks with the government-in-waiting to deal with terrorist outfits such as TTP and Baloch groups which have been for years operating out of the neighbouring country.

Pakistani officials in their interactions with the Taliban leadership made a clear demand that all these groups must not only be denied space to operate but also sought military action against them.

Also read: TTP demands prisoner release as condition for talks with govt

After the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, Pakistan shared a list of most-wanted terrorists seeking their extradition.

The Taliban leadership came up with a proposal, offering Pakistan their good offices to initiate talks with the TTP and its affiliates. But at the same time, the interim Taliban government promised military action against those groups, which were not willing to reconcile, according to sources familiar with the development.

It was because of this reason that Pakistan initiated talks with the TTP. The two sides reportedly held at least three face-to-face meetings. One was held in Kabul while the other two took place in Khost.

The chief of the Haqqani network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is thought to have played the role of mediator. Although there was no official confirmation, reports suggested that the TTP agreed to announce a month-long ceasefire in return for Pakistan releasing dozens of terrorist group’s prisoners.



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