Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today directed a recently formed four-member committee to immediately initiate peace talks with the banned Pakistani Taliban.
Talking to members of the committee here, he expressed his desire to achieve the objective of peace through negotiations.
The committee should immediately establish contacts with groups and factions that are ready to take part in the dialogue process, he said.
Noting that the committee is fully empowered for the dialogue process, Sharif directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to provide required information and resources to the panel.
The meeting was attended by all members of the committee - veteran journalists Irfan Siddiqui and Rahimullah Yusufzai, former diplomat Rustam Shah Mohmand and former Inter-Services Intelligence officer Maj (retired) Muhammad Amir. Siddiqui will act as the committee's coordinator.
The meeting also touched on topics like the committee's mandate and rules for negotiations with the militants. It was decided these matters would be discussed in detail at the next meeting.
Amidst mounting speculation about a military offensive against the Taliban following a series of attacks on the security forces, Sharif sprang a surprise on January 29 when he announced the formation of the committee in the National Assembly.
Shrif said he wanted to give peace talks another chance.
He has maintained that there is only one precondition for talks - no terrorist attacks during negotiations.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan welcomed the talks offer and is in the process of setting up its own committee to join the dialogue.
Earlier, senior leaders of the ruling PML-N had publicly hinted at a military operation against the Taliban.