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Pakistan, TTP agree to indefinite ceasefire as peace talks gain momentum

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan government and banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has agreed to extend ceasefire for an indefinite period as negotiations are being held to end longstanding conflict, it emerged on Tuesday. 

The development comes as previous ceasefire agreement expired last night (May 30). However, no official statement has been issued from both sides in this regard. 

The latest extension in ceasefire, however, is being considered significant progress in talks between the Pakistani government and leaders of the terror outfit. 

The two sides reached an agreement to extend the ceasefire following separate meetings with Afghanistan’s Acting Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund in recent days, Dawn News said in its repot quoting unnamed sources. 

“Compensation for the dead and wounded, enforcement of Shariah regulation in Malakand, withdrawal of military from the [northwestern] borders and reversal of Fata [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were key demands from the TTP side,” the report said. 

However, the Pakistan government was not ready to reverse the merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and disband the TTP as a terrorist group. 

Meanwhile, a 50-member Jirga of notable tribal leaders will leave for Kabul today (Tuesday) to hold talks with the TTP leaders based in Afghanistan. 

The Jirga will be headed by Maulana Saleh Shah while trial elders from South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Orakzai, Kurram, Khyber, Mohmand, and Bajaur, as well as the Malakand Division, will be part of it. 

Besides tribal elders, former KP governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, Senator Dost Mohammad Khan Mehsud, Senator Hilal Mohmand, GG Jamal, etc, will also part of the Jirga. 

A member of the Jirga told The News that they would ask the Taliban to lay down arms, return home and live peacefully in Pakistan. 

He did not confirmed the reports that the Pakistan government had agreed to reverse merger of tribal areas with KP, pullout 60% of Pakistan Army troops from tribal districts and to allow Taliban to return to Pakistan along with their weapons. 

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