ISLAMABAD, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday that the government's direct talks with the Taliban would be held in a day or two.
The prime minister's remarks came a day after the government and Taliban committees agreed on a venue for the direct talks. Both sides have not disclosed the location for the talks over security reasons.
Government negotiators started peace talks with the Taliban intermediaries last month, which resulted in a month-long unilateral ceasefire by the Taliban.
In a positive response to the Taliban's ceasefire on March 1, the security forces suspended airstrikes on the Taliban hideouts in Waziristan tribal region.
The government this month formed a high-powered committee for the rare face-to-face dialogue with Taliban leaders.
"Talks between the government team and the Taliban's intermediaries are going ahead at a satisfactory pace and hoped that direct talks will start in a day or two," Prime Minister Sharif told a gathering at the ground-breaking ceremony of a bus- service between Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi.
"There will be peace and the country would get rid of extremism and terrorism," the prime minister said, adding that the restoration of peace will ensure economic prosperity in the country.
He also regretted that the previous governments had not adopted the path of peace.
Senior Taliban intermediary, Prof. Mohammad Ibrahim, also said on Sunday that the direct talks will begin in two days that he described as a big achievement.
Prof. Ibrahim, who has twice met with the Taliban leaders in Waziristan since the process started last month, admitted that some mistrust exists however he was hopeful that will be removed when the new government team meets face-to-face with the Taliban leaders.
He told Xinhua in Islamabad that the Taliban mediators are making efforts to encourage the Taliban to extend their month-long ceasefire.
"We are trying to convert the ceasefire into complete restoration of peace. But if we did not succeed, we will try in the remaining days to get the ceasefire extended," Prof. Ibrahim said.