Pakistani Taliban asked to form committee for talks

Islamabad, Jan 31 (IANS) The four-member committee formed by the Pakistan government to hold talks with the Taliban Friday called upon the Taliban leaders to appoint their own team to start the dialogue process.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday formed the committee to interact with the Taliban.
Sharif met with the members of the panel Friday and gave them some guidelines.
The panel coordinator, Irfan Siddiqui, said the dialogue team has urged the Taliban to complete their consultation process at the earliest and constitute a negotiating team for the talks, Xinhua reported.
Siddiqui, also the special assistant to the prime minister, said the committee has sent its first message to the Taliban and is now waiting a response.
He said the committee members sincerely hope that there would be no delay in initiating the dialogue process.
The committee also asked the government and Taliban not to make any statement that could vitiate the atmosphere.
“If the Taliban constitute a committee, then we will go for talks and decide the agenda,” Irfan Siddiqui said.
The Taliban also started consultations Friday to respond to the government’s offer, a Taliban leader said.
The Taliban political council will forward recommendations to the central leaders who are likely to take a final decision Saturday.
Earlier, Sharif briefed the committee about efforts made by the government for the dialogue process.
Sharif said the committee has full mandate to hold talks with Taliban and there would be no obstacle in this regard.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also briefed the committee in this regard.