TIMERGARA: The first phase of talks between Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad and a delegation of the NWFP government was concluded here on Friday. The government delegation was comprised of Provincial Minister of Information Mian Iftikhar, Senator Zahid Khan and others. Government officials and Sufi Mohammad met for the first time Friday after talks were suspended Monday when the army launched an offensive against Taliban fighters in the northwest.
In the meeting that started soon after Friday prayer, Senator Zahid Khan and provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain represented the government. Both sides discussed law and order situation in Swat and Malakand and formation of Dar-ul-Qaza.
According to sources, Maulana Sufi Mohammad has demanded that the government should halt the military operation and appoint Qazis in the Dar-ul-Qaza. Sources said that both sides remained optimistic on the outcome of the talks. However Provincial authorities said they rejected Friday Sufi Mohammad’s request to halt an offensive against Taliban militants as peace talks between the two camps resumed.
Menawhile Mian Iftikhar after conclusion of the first session of negotiations talking to newsmen called the talks positive adding that another phase of talks will also be held soon to resolve all problems. Mian Iftikhar talking along with TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan said that the talks were held in an amicable atmosphere in which the two sides exchanged proposals. He said the second phase of the talks likely to be held today for concluding dialogue. Conflicting news are coming in this regard as to Provincial officials and supporters of Mohammad described the 30-minute meeting as ‘positive’ but no date for a second meeting was announced.
Replying a question Mian Iftikhar said, “We want peace in the region and prepared to live the entire life here if needed.” He said the matter of constitution of Darul Qadha will be discussed in detail in the next session of the talks.
He said after constitution of Darul Qadha the forces operation in Dir and Buner will be closed. The decision of appointment of Qazis has already taken and the formal announcement will be made soon, he further said.
TNSM spokesman Ami Izzat Khan said, “We want peace and seeking solution of the problems with mutual consultation.” He called the first phase of talks as successful.
In this meeting Islamic judges and the creation of an appellate court under a February deal in which the government agreed to put Malakand, a part of northwestern Pakistan, under sharia law to end a Taliban insurgency came under discussion. Sufi Mohammad negotiated the accord. ‘The appointments of judges of the Islamic courts will be made soon,’ said the provincial information minister.