Jirga Returns From Kabul As Deadlock In Govt-TTP Talks Continues

Jirga Returns From Kabul As Deadlock In Govt-TTP Talks Continues
The ongoing talks between the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani government have remained unfruitful, as the 50-member jirga of tribal elders returned from Kabul without agreeing to the militant group’s demand for the reversal of the FATA merger.

The jirga consisted of tribal elders, parliamentarians and politicians from South Waziristan, Malakand division as well as the Khyber district. Senior TTP leaders met the jirga at Kabul’s Inter-Continental Hotel for two days and deliberated over demands, including the controversial issue of Fata’s merger, according to a report by Dawn.

A senior jirga member described the atmosphere as being positive, adding, "There were long discussions. They had their own point of view and we had our own. We explained to them that the 25th Amendment that led to Fata’s merger had political consensus and parliamentary support. Even the Supreme Court of Pakistan endorsed it."

“We neither have the mandate to commit to undoing it, nor do we sincerely think it would be possible to undo it, given the broad political support including that of a larger section of the tribal people,” the member continued.

The jirga sought three months' time for mutual consultation and discussions with important political and military stakeholders, in order to draft formal proposals with their concerns, within the ambit of the Constitution.

The member said the TTP was told that while amendments to the 25th amendment could be made, changing it entirely would be impossible.

Afghanistan's Acting Minister of Interior Sirajuddin Haqqani said an end to the conflict between the TTP and Pakistan would be in Afghanistan's best interests. However, he acknowledged that Afghanistan doesn't want to coerce the TTP, as they have fought together against American forces before.

"It would be better that Pakistan and TTP come to terms, after giving each other some concessions,” Mr. Haqqani had allegedly told the jirga.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said that Pakistan will continue taking measures to ensure peaceful and stable borders, including engagement with interim Afghan authorities if required.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday, welcomed the ceasefire extension by the outlawed TTP as part of the the ongoing talks.