Pakistani Taliban seeks release of 50 prisoners

Last Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 00:00

Islamabad: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud has demanded the release of 50 prisoners, including those from banned anti-Shia groups, in response to the government`s offer of talks, a media report said on Thursday.

Mehsud conveyed his demand through former PML-N lawmaker Javed Ibraheem Paracha, who is reportedly serving as a mediator for the talks.

Paracha claimed Mehsud had telephoned him and given a list of 50 prisoners who should be released, Geo News channel reported.

He said these prisoners were associated with the TTP and sectarian groups Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The report said Paracha had visited Rawalpindi`s Adiala Jail to meet Taliban prisoners.

The channel quoted its sources as saying that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and an Inter-Services Intelligence officer met Paracha.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

The report comes amid uncertainty and concerns about the prospects of peace talks with the Taliban.

On Sunday, Major Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi and two more soldiers were killed in an IED attack carried out by the Taliban.

The TTP led by Mehsud is the main hurdle to talks but there seems to be a change of heart due to changing geo-strategic realities ahead of the drawdown of western forces in Afghanistan.

The traditional rivalry of Mehsuds and Wazirs, the latter being a dominant tribe from which the Waziristan region draws it name, could be one of the factors for the TTP to agree for talks, analysts said.

The Wazirs have peace deals with the government and concentrate on fighting in Afghanistan.

It is also believed that business interests of leading tribesmen are at the centre of the new policy of militants as they want peace to promote trade.

PTI



First Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 00:00

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