Pakistan Taliban don't trust Pak ulema in the absence of military assurance

by IANS |

Islamabad, July 27 (IANS) A delegation of Pakistani Ulema has failed to convince the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to soften their stance in peace talks with Pakistani negotiators, local media reported.

The delegation, led by Sheikh-ul-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani, flew into Kabul in a C-130 plane on Monday to meet the TTP leadership, The Express Tribune reported.

The 13-member delegation includes religious scholars belonging to all sects of the Deobandi school of thought from across the country, including Karachi, Lahore, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. They met with TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali and other Taliban leaders from the erstwhile Fata.

They urged the TTP leadership to withdraw their demand for the reversal of the FATA merger, but they refused to budge, The Express Tribune reported.

The delegation was briefed on the state of Pakistan's demands during a meeting with the corps commander Peshawar at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar before it flew to Kabul.

The Pakistani government calls upon the TTP leadership to give up violence against the state institutions, disband their organisation, and return to their areas with a promise of amnesty for their past crimes.

In their meetings with the TTP leadership, the Pakistani Ulema cited several religious edicts of Wifaqul Madaris against waging war against the Islamic state of Pakistan.

In return, the TTP leadership told the Ulema delegation of the demands they have put forward in their various meetings with Pakistani negotiators and Jirga of tribal elders from Pakistan.

Sources in the TTP told The Express Tribune that the Taliban leadership could not trust the Ulema in the absence of concrete assurances from the military establishment which wields the real power in Pakistan.

The sources also said that the TTP leadership put forward an "eight-point rationale" for their refusal to shun violence against the state of Pakistan while politely refusing to entertain the request of Mufti Taqi Usmani.

The delegation would stay in Kabul until Wednesday (today) for making a last-ditch effort to convince the TTP leadership to soften their stance, but chances of them showing flexibility are slim.

A source in the Ulema delegation told The Express Tribune that the TTP leadership listened to them patiently but refused to budge on their demands.

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