ISLAMABAD: The government negotiators holding talks with the Taliban are anxiously waiting for a reply from the leadership of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to the conditions set by them.“We have put two conditions — talks will be held within the parameters of the Constitution and their scope will be limited to insurgency-affected areas of the tribal belt,” a member of the government’s committee told Dawn.He said now the ball is in the Taliban’s court and the future of peace negotiations, which began on Thursday, would be determined by their response.
“For us the thing of foremost importance is to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution during the talks.”He said if the militants refused to accept the Constitution, as explained by Maulana Abdul Aziz at a press conference on Friday, the situation would put the government in a tight spot.Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, one of the three members of the TTP negotiating team, had told the media that the Taliban would hold talks only if the government agreed to enforce Sharia.But the government negotiator said: “I hope the TTP will not come up with a condition which will scuttle the peace process. They should and must let its committee hold negotiations so that the two sides can find some common ground.In reply to a question, he said the negotiations could go on if the TTP demanded a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners, but if the Taliban didn’t accept the Constitution “the government cannot defend its stand to hold talks with the militants”.
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