ISLAMABAD, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The proposed peace talks between the Pakistani Taliban and the government faced deadlock on Tuesday after controversy surfaced over the refusal of two members to join the Taliban negotiations team.
The Taliban on Sunday had appointed a five-member committee of senior religious and political leaders for talks with the government's committee. However two members later quit the Taliban team, creating uncertainty about the future of the dialogue.
The government committee could not hold their first meeting in Islamabad with the team representing the Taliban on Tuesday on the plea that the Taliban committee is weakened and that they need some clarifications.
Head of the Taliban committee, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, regretted refusal by the government committee to hold talks with his team.
"I think there is some pressure on the government and that is why its team is reluctant to meet us," Sami-ul-Haq told a news conference.
He said the Taliban have given complete powers to the three members to go ahead with talks with the government team.
"I will appeal to the government not to miss the opportunity for elusive peace," Maualana said after presiding over a meeting of the Taliban committee.
Coordinator of the government dialogue team, Irfan Siddiqui, said Tuesday the government side wanted to have certain unidentified issues cleared before the dialogue process formally began.
The Taliban had named a five-member intermediary team that comprised Jamaat-e-Islami leader Professor Mohammad Ibrahim, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, JUI-F politician Mufti Kifayatullah, Red Mosque Islamabad's prayers leader Maulana Abdul Aziz and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.
However, two members of the team -- JUI-F's Mufti Kifayatullah and PTI's Imran Khan -- have declined to be part of the Taliban committee.