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EDITORIAL: Last Thursday, the so-called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ensconced in Afghanistan, declared the end of a month-long ceasefire reached with the government of Pakistan during negotiations mediated by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), saying since it had not heard back from the mediators or the government, its fighters reserve the right to resume attacks wherever. Resume they did their evil deeds by killing two policemen, one in Dera Ismail Khan and the other in Tank district, as they escorted polio vaccination teams. The very idea of negotiating with the terror outfit, which has claimed more than 80,000 Pakistani lives, was an affront to the martyrs’ blood. Sceptics had also pointed out that in the past, several agreements were struck with different violent extremist groups only to fall through. Yet despite the anger and dismay it faced on the home front the government took the risk of talking to TTP terrorists, apparently, for the sake of an argument.

According to reports, during the informal talks, this side had made it clear to the TTP representatives they had to abide by the Constitution of Pakistan, and that there would be no groupings, safe havens, movement of armed bands, and weapons carrying; and that none of this was negotiable. But acting like a victor the TTP set its own conditions which, among other things, enforcement of their version of Sharia (Pakistan’s laws are already in consonance with the Sharia) and restoration of the erstwhile tribal areas to their pre-merger status. These demands had snowball’s chance in hell of success. TTP leaders surely knew that, and yet put them on the table evidently thinking they could resume their nefarious activities — as they have — and find protection under the wings of their hosts. They seem to have that assurance despite the fact that under the terms of the peace agreement they had signed with the US the Afghan Taliban were to ensure that no terrorist group would use Afghan soil to launch attacks on other countries. Unfortunately, the Islamic Emirate has fallen short on that commitment, advising instead Pakistan to negotiate with the terrorists who have claimed thousands of innocent lives and challenge the writ of this state. The IEA leadership may have a soft spot for the TTP militants for giving it a helping hand in the fight against the US and other NATO forces, but the commitment given to the international community ought to be honoured in all cases, including the TTP.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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