Dialogue option: Sami ul Haq calls for in-sync approach‏



The godfather of the Taliban, Maulana Samiul Haq, says that the incoming political administration and the powerful security establishment have to be on the same page for the success of any peace overture towards the insurgents.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have requested Maulana Samiul Haq to facilitate peace talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the ultraorthodox group which has claimed credit for most deadly violence in the country.

Maulana Samiul Haq is the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary, which is the alma mater of several Taliban commanders. He also heads his eponymous faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S).

Before accepting the role of go-between, I’d need an assurance that the future prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistan Army are on the same page on the issue,” Maulana Samiul Haq told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview.
“The government will have to show a strong commitment to the proposed peace process,” he added. “Currently, it’s a wish of the government – but this festering issue demands commitment and seriousness.”

Nawaz Sharif has said that he believes ‘dialogue is the best option’ for restoring peace in the country which has been ravaged by Taliban violence since 2002. The TTP welcomed Nawaz’s statement and even offered a truce to the government-in-waiting.

“It is essential that the civilian and military leaderships take a unanimous decision on the issue of peace talks with the Taliban,” Maulana Samiul Haq said. “Meaningful talks cannot be pursued if the two stakeholders have divergent or conflicting approaches to the issue.”

The Taliban have blamed the government for giving in to international pressure and reneging its commitments and thus leading to the collapse of past peace agreements.  But the government blamed the Taliban for violating truces.

“I would need an assurance from Islamabad that it would not surrender to international pressure,” the JUI-S chief said, expressing apprehensions that foreign forces, the United States in particular, could oppose such an initiative. “If Pakistan backed out under US pressure, it would spell disaster,” he warned.

Although Maulana Samiul Haq believes that talks are the only option to end the bloodshed in Pakistan, he says that the issue needs careful handling. “It’s a delicate matter. I’ve conveyed it to Mian Sahib that he should think twice before entering into peace talks with the Taliban.”

Asked if he would seek help from Mullah Omar, to bring the TTP to the negotiating table, Maulana Samiul Haq said: “The Afghan Taliban and TTP are two separate issues.”

Source: Express Tribune

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