The Pakistani Taliban Saturday demanded the inclusion of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and hardline cleric Samiul Haq in the committee formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for holding talks with the banned group.
The ‘shura’ (council) of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in session for the past three days, expressed its reservations at the inclusion of former ISI official Major (retired) Muhammad Amir and former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand in the four-member committee, Taliban sources said.
The TTP demanded the government should include Imran Khan, Samiul Haq, a cleric referred to as the “father of the Taliban”, Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Sirajul Haq and Muhammad Ibrahim, Mufti Kifaitullah of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F and Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz in the committee.
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The Shura also chose a nine-member panel to represent the Taliban at talks with the government, the sources said. This committee will be headed by Qari Shakeel. Media reports earlier in the day said Abdul Aziz had refused to take part in negotiations with the TTP. Former ISI official Amir had requested him to be part of the talks. The former chief cleric of the radical mosque in Islamabad said he prays for the success of the negotiations but cannot participate in them.