Pak military leadership briefs selected law-makers progress of talks with TTP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan military leadership on Tuesday briefed the participants of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on the ongoing talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP).

The meeting of the PCNS chaired by PM Shehbaz Sharif was attended by the tri-services chiefs, heads of other security agencies, senior members of the assembly and Senate, members of NA and Senate standing committees on defence, officials of the ministries of defence, foreign affairs, interior, Kashmir affairs, health and federal secretariat of the national security division.

According to sources, the military leadership briefed the parliamentary committee on the security situation including the progress of the talks with the TTP.

The meeting was briefed on the rounds of talks so far and it was informed that talks with the TTP are underway with the facilitation of the government of Afghanistan.

The briefing said that the committee was discussing within the framework of the Constitution of Pakistan while the final decision would be taken with the approval of Parliament, future guidance, and consensus.

The file photo shows Speaker Pakistan’s National Assembly, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (right) chairs a session of the country’s lower house in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 27, 2022.

The PCNS meeting also apprised the country of the threats posed at the domestic level and from abroad. Sources said that steps were taken to address the threats to the country’s security and the meeting was also briefed on administrative matters on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The briefing said that Pakistan has played a positive role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, and Pakistan will continue its constructive role for peace and stability in the neighbouring country.

Over 100 lawmakers and officials attended the meeting to discuss the negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban, or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is a separate movement that shares common roots with the militants that took power in Afghanistan last year, local media reported. 

The TTP, which has carried out some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since 2007, on June 4 extended a cease-fire with the government for an indefinite period, after two days of talks with a delegation of Pakistani tribal elders that were facilitated by the Afghan Taliban. 

“6th in-camera meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was held on Tuesday, the 5th July 2022 at 3:00 p.m. in the Chamber of National Assembly, Parliament House,” the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan parliament, said on Twitter. 

Page one of list four of the participants

“The agenda will include the Briefing on current issues of National Security.” 

Last month, Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership after a meeting in Islamabad agreed that talks with the Pakistani Taliban were taking place within the ambit of the constitution and any decision on negotiations with the outlawed group would be taken with parliament’s approval. 

After the meeting, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would hold an in-camera briefing in parliament to inform legislators about the progress in negotiations. 

The TTP is asking Pakistan to scrap a 2018 law that did away with the semi-independent status of the former tribal regions that dates back to the British colonial rule. The law aimed to grant equal rights to millions of residents in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) once they were incorporated into Pakistan’s authority as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 

The Pakistani Taliban also want Pakistani troops to pull out of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, release all TTP fighters in government custody and revoke all cases against them.