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Sharif Wants To Settle Issues With India Through Talks

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Islamabad, Feb 4- As the Pakistan government and the outlawed Taliban prepare for peace talks, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said he wants to overcome both terrorism within the country and outstanding issues with India through dialogue as peace is vital for reviving the country’s economy.

“My only wish and prayer is that this process (talks with the Taliban) should move forward successfully, and whatever issues Pakistan faces, they should be solved through dialogue,” Sharif told the media.

“I also want Pakistan’s external issues (with) India, Afghanistan to be resolved through dialogue. There are so many issues pending for long on which we can move forward through dialogue,” he said.

Sharif, whose government has named a four-member committee for talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said restoring peace through dialogue is the best option. He added peace is vital for reviving Pakistan’s economy.

He welcomed the team nominated by the Taliban to hold talks with the government’s committee.

Expressing satisfaction at the ongoing dialogue process with the Taliban, Sharif said he hoped both the committees will move forward in a positive direction to bring peace to the country.

He said he was supervising the dialogue process and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was in touch with the government committee to assist it in efforts to reach a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, the Taliban promised to provide security and protection to members of the negotiating committees in areas under its control.

In a statement issued to the media, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the Taliban’s political ‘shura’ or council would guide its committee. He said the Taliban sincerely want peace talks with the government.

The TTP has proposed that its committee should include hardline cleric Samiul Haq, known as the “father of the Taliban”, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Ibrahim and Mufti Kifayatullah of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F.

Though Imran Khan is said to be uncomfortable with the proposal, a final decision is to be taken soon.

The TTP has also formed a nine-member ‘shura’ to oversee the talks.

The four-member committee appointed by the government comprises senior journalists Irfan Siddiqui and Rahimullah Yusufzai, former ISI official Major (retired) Muhammad Amir, and former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand.

 -Indiatoday

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