PESHAWAR: After two days of talks with members of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the tribal jirga returned from Kabul on Monday.
Though some of the jirga members, as usual, were hopeful of the peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, others stated there was no immediate breakthrough in their negotiations, saying “it requires enough time as well as energy to continue the peace process and find an amicable solution to this complicated conflict,” one of the jirga members told The News upon their return to Peshawar from Kabul.
The jirga had left for the Afghan capital the day when another delegation of prominent Pakistani religious leaders had returned from the war-torn country. According to the jirga members, they thoroughly discussed with the Pakistani Taliban the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and their return to Pakistan and then rehabilitation in their native areas.
“It is difficult to say whether we got any success in talks with the militants as it requires several sessions. This is not a simple issue as there are legal complications and we need to keep these genuine issues in mind,” one of the jirga members told The News on condition of anonymity.
The government wants the Pakistani Taliban to dismantle their militant network, disassociate from other militant organisations and lay down arms before returning to Pakistan, but they stick to these demands in their talks with the Pakistani Ulema and the tribal jirga.
According to another jirga member, they held two detailed sessions with the Pakistani Taliban and mostly discussed the Fata merger. “Our talks with the Taliban were mostly about the Fata merger. We spoke in detail and explained to them that the restoration of Fata isn’t that much simple as conceived by many people,” the jirga member explained.
Asked if there was any success in their latest meetings with Taliban, he said they were not hopeless of the peace process. He said there was no way the Pakistani tribes in the tribal districts will allow the Taliban to return with arms. “The rehabilitation of the militants is also a major issue but right now we focused on the Fata merger which is their basic concern,” he said.
The tribal elder said that the merger came as a result of an amendment to the Constitution and it was the parliament that passed the law and constitutionally declared Fata as part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“If you ask me, peace talks should continue, no doubt there might be difficult phases,” the tribal elder noted. He said they had realised in talks with the Taliban that they were supportive of the peace process, but since legal issues are involved, therefore, it is not an easy task to immediately accept all their demands.
“We are going to brief high-ranking security officials about the outcome of our talks on Tuesday and will then make a future plan,” he said. The same jirga had visited Afghanistan in June and held talks with the Pakistani Taliban. The jirga members also met the Afghan Taliban and informed them about the peace process and the hurdles they were facing.
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