No task of initiating talks with Taliban assigned to Maulana Samiul Haq: government

No task of initiating talks with Taliban assigned to Maulana Samiul Haq: government

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday dispelled the impression that any specific mission regarding the initiation of talks with the Taliban had been assigned to the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) leader Maulana Samiul Haq.

In a statement in Islamabad on Thursday‚ a government spokesman said that Maulana’s cooperation and his influence for elimination of terrorism had come under discussion at a meeting. He said that it was agreed that Maulana may contact anyone if need arises.

The spokesman said that the impression given by Maulana that the government did not listen to him is incorrect as he has not reported any progress despite passage of three weeks after the meeting.

On Wednesday, Maulana Sami Ul Haq, who heads the hardline Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania seminary and have close ties with the Taliban, said that he would no longer act as a government-backed peace broker with the Taliban after airstrikes killed 40 people in the North Waziristan tribal region.

It was reported earlier that the JUI-S leader was given the task of initiating peace talks with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in December last year by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Maulana said that he had informed the prime minister of receiving a positive response from the TTP on January 2, but despite repeated contact, the prime minister did not convey the future course of action, he added.

“The government does not seems serious and concerned. I had requested them to avoid a military operation and use of force but yesterday it started bombing in North Waziristan and tribal areas,” Maulana said in a statement.

“Both sides (Taliban and government) are in a state of war. Innocent citizens and soldiers are dying,” Maulana said. “In such a situation I want to separate myself from this bloody tragedy,” he added.

The JUI-S leader said that the prime minister sought his help in initiating peace talks and he received positive signals after contacting the Taliban leadership, but the lack of seriousness on behalf of the government forced him to quit the process.