According to a report in a leading Pakistan news portal, the decision came following a telephonic conversation between Maulana Samiul Haq, who is a member of the Taliban committee, and Irfan Siddiqui, who is representing the government.

"We want to have an open dialogue with the Taliban committee," Siddiqui was quoted as saying.

The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday formally announced a five-member committee of senior political and religious leaders to mediate peace talks with government negotiators.

The Taliban committee comprises Maulana Samiul Haq, cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, Jamaat-i-Islami's (JUI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief Muhammad Ibrahim and Mufti Kifayatullah of the JUI-F.

However, Imran Khan has so far not accepted the Taliban proposal to join its committee.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week formed a four-member government team to hold peace talks with the Taliban.

The committee includes Irfan Siddiqui, the prime minister's advisor on national affairs, Rahimullah Yusufzai, a senior journalist, Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador and expert on Afghanistan affairs, and Amir Shah, a former ISI official.

Sharif expresses satisfaction over Taliban peace process

Sharif has expressed satisfaction over the ongoing peace process between the government and the Taliban.

Sharif hoped that both the committees will move forward in a positive direction to bring peace to the country, according to a report on Radio Pakistan.

He said the government is serious about ending terrorism through dialogue as peace is vital to revive the economy.

Sharif added that restoration of peace through dialogue is the best option for the country.

The Prime Minister said he himself is supervising the dialogue process and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is fully in touch with the government committee to assist in bringing about a positive outcome.

He said Pakistan also intends to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbours, including India‚ to establish peace and stability in the region.

Pakistan Taliban offers security to negotiators

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has offered security to the members of the Pakistan government's negotiating committee in the areas under its control, a media report said on Monday.

TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid in a statement said the political shura (council) of Taliban would guide the five-member committee nominated by it for the peace dialogue with the government, Dawn reported.

The spokesperson said the Taliban sincerely wanted peace talks with the government.

The TTP spokesperson said the government should not repeat the mistakes of its predecessors when negotiations were used as a weapon against the Taliban.

He said the TTP’s central council had decided after deliberations to form a committee that could easily approach the government team and also represent the Taliban's point of view in a better way.


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