Involve Saudi Arabia in peace talks:Taliban

Islamabad: A top leader of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has said that his group will seek mediation by countries like Saudi Arabia if the government offers to hold peace talks. "Our shura (council) will decide whether and when can we enter into talks with the government, with the military but I think we will like to involve countries we trust…they are in the Arab world. Let`s say Saudi Arabia," said Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Waliur Rehman Mehsud.

Mehsud, the deputy of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, further said that the group had not yet received any "direct" offer of talks from the government. "Till now, we don`t have any direct peace offer. Our shura will sit down when we are approached," he told The Express Tribune newspaper. "That is how we operate. There is one centralised body to take important decisions," he said without mentioning who are members of the council or who heads it. Mehsud said Pakistani Taliban wanted a "guarantee" that once any deal is struck with the government, it would be enforced.

Recent reports have said Sheikh Khalid, a militant commander from Mardan district of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, heads the shura though Hakimullah Mehsud makes the final decisions in most matters.