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TehreekeTaliban Pakistan (TTP) opened doors for possible negotiations

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A day after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) opened doors for possible negotiations, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F welcomed the gesture and urged the government and military leadership to authorise a grand tribal jirga to negotiate.

Earlier on Sunday, the TTP had signalled its willingness to enter peace negotiations with the government if three senior politicians – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharf, JUI-F head Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Syed Munawwar Hasan – would act as guarantors.

Of the three guarantors the banned militant outfit has named, JUI-F and JI have welcomed the militants’ willingness to start peace talks and end the conflict. However, the PML-N has rejected the offer.

Replying to a question about his decision on TTP’s offer, the JUI-F chief on Monday suggested that the government and military back tribal jirgas for holding peace talks with the banned outfit on behalf of the government.

However, he did not clearly suggest if he would become a guarantor in any such talks.

Govt’s version

Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said that the government would reply to the TTP over their “conditional” peace talks offer in a few days.

“We are reviewing the offer,” he told reporters in Islamabad.

Malik revealed that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had expressed his inability to assume the role of a guarantor as suggested by the TTP.

Other players

JI spokesperson Fareed Piracha told The Express Tribune that his party believes in the policy of reconciliation and peace. However, any decision on becoming a guarantor would be taken only after seeing further serious progress towards the development, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2013.