Sharia law in Pakistan necessary for peace: Taliban negotiator

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Islamabad, Feb 5: Pakistani Taliban's top negotiator today said Islamic sharia law was necessary for peace as the government, martial law and democracy had failed to solve the country's problems.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, the head of the TTP's three-man committee set up for peace talks with the government, said Taliban are fighting the war for the implementation of the Constitution which has been violated by the leadership. On being asked by a reporter that the Taliban had previously said they do not believe in the Constitution, a visibly angry Haq, known as the "Father of Taliban", shot back saying, "Who said it? You tell us. Such things are said in war".

Explaining the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan's position, he said, "They want foreigners to leave, want Islamic system to be established in the country, old system in tribal areas...they want peace." "And there is no way out without Islamic system. We have not been able to solve our issues through government, martial law and democracy," Haq said after a rally organised here to mark "Kashmir Solidarity Day", observed by Pakistan on February 5 every year since 1990.

Haq, who is also part of Difa-e-Pakistan, a grouping of right-wing and extremist groups including the Jamat-ud-Dawah, said he wants the Pakistani Army not be used by "kafirs" (non-believers). He said he wants to see the Pakistani Army not in the country but posted along the border with India. The prospect of talks has been viewed with scepticism by many here.

Many people feel that the talks are likely to get stuck on demands that might be proposed by the Taliban like the implementation of Islamic sharia law and release of their cadres from jails. The TTP had originally named a five-member team - Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mohammad Ibrahim, Haq, JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah, Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan. However, cricketer-turned-politician Imran and Kifayatullah, dissociated themselves from it.

Talking about Imran, Haq said, "I feel sorry for Imran Khan. Those close to him are those who were with (former military ruler Pervez) Musharraf. Those who were part of the move that lit fire. My sympathies are with him." He said Imran was coming under the influence of such people. 

PTI

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