Islamabad: A largely-attended tribal Jirga or council of elders has urged the Taliban insurgents and the security forces to extend their ceasefire and remove obstacles in the way of the fragile peace talks.
The council called by Jamaat-e-Islami in the northwestern city of Peshawar Thursday threw its weight behind the dialogue process in line with parliament resolutions, reported Xinhua.
The appeal came weeks after the Taliban ended their 40-day ceasefire April 10 and consequently, there has been a surge in terror attacks in the country.
The Taliban said Thursday that "talks and war cannot go together" and that they are ready to face any situation.
"The government on one hand says it wants the dialogue but on the other it has adopted the politics of threats," the Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq, however, told the gathering that tribesmen and ethnic Pashtun are loyal to the country and are not terrorists but a war of others has been imposed on them.
"The Jirga appeals to the government, the army and the Taliban to remove all hurdles that have weakened the dialogue process. The forum also urges all sides to extend ceasefire," the statement said.
A senior Taliban negotiator, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, told the meeting that the Taliban talks enjoy peoples` support and the process could move forward when the Taliban and the security forces stop violent actions and revive it.
He said the people in tribal regions are tired of war and they want peace, adding that tribesmen are defending the country`s geographical frontiers.
Another TTP intermediary Ibrahim said that dialogue is the only option to restore peace in the country as the use of force has never resolved problems. He called upon the Taliban to stop attacks on the security forces.