While agreeing to negotiations with the Pakistan government, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has demanded leaders of three rightwing political parties be made guarantors and also called for the release of six Taliban detainees before the start of talks.
In an exclusive video message sent to rediff.com TTP spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan said, “The government of Pakistan has offered to come for talks; we have positively responded, but the government does not appear serious.”
Ihsan said that in the past the Pakistan army breached agreements with the Taliban while the political leadership failed to convince the army regarding decisions taken during peace talks. The Taliban are now seeking the leadership of three powerful rightwing parties as guarantors, which include Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat Islami and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz.
“We want the talks to be successful and if the government is serious it will have to give us guarantors and release our prisoners. We would seek guarantors from the army too as it is the real ruler of Pakistan. We seek three people or parties as guarantors from the side of the government; first Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of the JUI-F, second Munawar Hassan of Jamaat Islami and third Nawaz Sharif of PMLN,” said Ihsan.
Talking about the release of prisoners Ihsan said, “The government will have to release a team of Swati Taliban that was negotiating with the government (in 2009) and was arrested during talks. They include Haji Muslim Khan, Maulana Mahmood and three others of their comrades. Besides, the government will also have to release our ex-spokesperson Maulvi Omer. These people will have to be freed as they will be members of the negotiating team.”
Adnan Rashid, a convict in an attack on former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who was released during the Taliban raid of Bannu Jail last year, was seated next to Ihsanullah Ihsan in the video message.