PML-N, JUI work out mechanism for holding talks with Taliban
Islamabad: The PML-N, set to form Pakistan`s new government, and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam have worked out a mechanism for holding talks with the outlawed Taliban, according to a media report on Monday.
The PML-N and JUI have decided that talks with the Taliban will be held through a "grand peace jirga" as suggested by all mainstream political parties in a declaration adopted at a meeting organised by the JUI in Islamabad on February 28, the Dawn newspaper quoted sources in both parties as saying.
The issue of talks with the Taliban was discussed by a committee formed by the PML-N and JUI to come up with a formula for sharing power at the centre.
JUI spokesman Jan Achakzai quoted party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as saying that an agreement had been reached between the two parties on steps to be taken for achieving peace through negotiations with the Taliban.
Rehman said that soon after coming to power, the PML-N government will frame a "serious plan" for talks with the Taliban after taking stakeholders and policy-making institutions on board.
The government will also prepare a "roadmap" in the light of these consultations, he said.
About 30 political and religious parties had participated in the meeting organised by the JUI in February.
They had agreed to negotiate with militants through a tribal jirga that had earlier been formed by the JUI.
The meeting hosted by the JUI was held two weeks after a similar gathering organised by the Awami National Party, which had also called for dialogue with militant groups but had not come up with any concrete plan.
Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf boycotted both meetings and described them as a futile exercise.
JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai said the PML-N`s leadership had endorsed his party`s viewpoint that an "indigenous conflict resolution mechanism" should be adopted.
He explained that the two parties had agreed that the grand jirga constituted in February would be reconstituted and activated for talks with the Taliban.
Achakzai said the jirga backed by all mainstream parties could not start its work because of the general election and had to wait till the formation of the new government.
He further said the national agenda of the PML-N and JUI were by and large similar as both of them want peace and economic reforms.
An unnamed PML-N leader said his party could not think of backtracking on the commitment regarding talks with militant groups.
He said the PML-N government at the centre will extend full cooperation to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa government`s efforts for peace in the province.
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