12 prisoners of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have reportedly been freed by the Pakistan authorities as part of ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the banned group, according to a report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
After almost 14 years of conflict, the government and the TTP announced a month-long ceasefire on November 8. It was reported that the group had demanded the release of 100 of its imprisoned fighters as a pre-condition for the peace talks.
According to RFE/RL 12 prisoners were transferred from a prison in Jandola area of South Waziristan to the Afghan province of Paktika, where they were handed over to the TTP.
It was reported by RFE/RL that more prisoners are likely to be released in the coming days. However, it was also reported that the released fighters did not include any important commanders. The move comes on the eve of the end of the month-long ceasefire.
Pakistan has over the years signed three peace deals with the banned group, however, none of these lasted more than a few months.
The RFE/RL claimed that the current round of talks was being held between senior Pakistani military officials and TTP leaders, with the mediation of the Afghan Taliban.
The talks have been criticised by parents of the children martyred in the Army Public School (APS) attack in December 2014 and also by Pakistan’s main opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).