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Taliban peace talks: Pakistan government comes under criticism

Posted on Feb 04 2014 | IANS

Islamabad, Feb 4 : The Pakistan government was criticised Tuesday as its committee for peace talks failed to meet representatives of the Taliban committee, whose member Maulana Samiul Haq alleged that the government was not serious about holding a peace dialogue.

Haq said the government should approach the dialogue process with seriousness, as its negotiators backed out at the last moment, Geo News reported.

"The government's committee does not understand the importance of peace talks," Haq said.

Earlier Tuesday, the government committee formed to initiate peace talks sought clarifications from the Pakistani Taliban committee over the status of its committee and excused itself from meeting with the negotiating team.

Spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Shahidullah Shahid, said the three- member committee nominated by the Taliban was final and the government would have to hold talks with them.

The Taliban spokesman said no new name would be added to its committee and Maulana Samiul Haq has been informed about it.

Shahid's statement followed an announcement by coordinator of the government's committee Irfan Siddiqui seeking clarification over the status of the Taliban's committee after Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and Mufti Kifayatullah, leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, declined to be part of the Taliban's team for dialogue.

Later Tuesday, Siddiqui said his team was ready to hold talks with the Taliban's committee.

Siddiqui's statement came after the Taliban issued a statement reposing confidence in the three-member committee nominated to hold talks with the government.

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