Taliban, Islamist leader begin talks in SwatFebruary 19th, 2009 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Feb 19 (IANS) The talks between an Islamist group and Taliban’s Pakistan chief Maulana Fazlullah for the restoration of peace have begun in Swat, where Islamabad allowed the Taliban to impose Shariat (Islamic law).
Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader — and also his son-in-law — Fazlullah were meeting at an “undisclosed location” in Matta, Geo TV reported.
The first round of talks was held between a TNSM delegation and Fazlullah.
On Tuesday, Maulana Sufi Muhammad in his address said that the purpose of his visit to Swat is to restore peace in the area. He said peace is necessary for the implementation of Shariat.
TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad said he would return from Swat only after having achieved the objective of restoring peace and disarming the insurgents in the region.
Senior North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) Minister Bashir Bilour held a meeting with Muhammad. They reiterated that efforts for the restoration of peace would continue, Geo TV reported Wednesday.
The Taliban group has entered into a deal with the government to implement Shariat laws in parts of Pakistan’s troubled northwest.
Maulana Sufi Muhammad is heading a delegation that would meet Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, a media report said Tuesday.
Maulana Sufi Muhammad would remain in Swat till the restoration of calm, the report quoted TNSM spokesperson Ameer Izzat Khan as saying.
He said that Muhammad would hold public gatherings in the valley to persuade the people, particularly those who had picked up arms, to stop fighting after the government Nizam-e-Adl regulation had been promulgated.
Muhammad and the North West Frontier Province government Sunday signed an agreement to enforce Shariat laws in Malakand division, which comprises Swat and its adjoining areas bordering Afghanistan.
Following the agreement, the insurgents announced a 10-day ceasefire in the insurgency-hit Swat Valley, once Pakistan’s most popular holiday destination.
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Tags: adl, bashir, frontier province, geo tv, insurgents, islamic law, islamist group, izzat, maulana fazlullah, muhammad, north west frontier, nwfp, province government, public gatherings, spokesperson, swat, taliban, ttp, undisclosed location, western frontier