Govt, TTP agree on ceasefire as talks continue.

ISLAMABAD -- The government on Monday confirmed for the first time that a ceasefire has been reached with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), with a senior minister saying that talks were under way 'in line with the Constitution' and the ceasefire could be extended keeping in view the progress made in the talks.

This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, according to the state-run Pakistan Television, following the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Monday. It was not clear if his remarks were based on the briefing at the meeting.

Also, according to a statement issued by TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani, the ceasefire will be effective for a month, from November 9 till December 9.

Political leadership, members of both houses of the parliament, provincial leadership as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir premier and military leadership participated in the five-hour-long meeting, which was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in the main hall of the assembly.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar and other senior military officers participated in the meeting that started at 11:30am and lasted around five hours.

Reporters were not allowed to enter the main hall due to 'security reasons'. The state-run TV later quoted the information minister as saying that the Taliban-led Afghan government had played the role of a facilitator in the talks. 'The state's sovereignty, national security, peace in relevant areas and social and economic stability will be considered during the talks,' Mr Chaudhry said.

The minister said progress on the restoration of 'complete peace' in the areas of the country was a positive development. The announcement came around a month after disclosure by Prime Minister Imran Khan that the government was in talks with some TTP groups, seeking reconciliation.

Informed sources told Dawn that the opposition expressed reservation over the initiation of the process without consensus of the parliament. They said the parliamentary committee on national security was earlier informed that talks with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban were under way.

A participant in the meeting held with NA Speaker in the chair said the pros and cons of talks with the TTP were discussed in the meeting.

Pakistan Peoples...

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