In this week’s Ground Zero program, aired on Khyber News, we discussed the overall law & order situation & the ongoing fight against TTP, the slight decrease in terror incidents across the country, and the speculations surrounding the resumption of peace negotiations between TTP and Pakistan.
Haroon Rasheed a senior journalist & security affairs expert) and Rasheed Safi (senior journalist and political commentator) were invited to Ground Zero.
Key highlights of the Program:
Despite the low-intensity fight that is going on against militants in southern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the overall security situation remains at ease. The improvement in the security situation can be attributed to largely two factors; one is a consistent pressure on Afghan authorities to stop TTP from using Afghan soil and the other one is the targeted operations by law enforcement agencies against militants in Pakistan. Commented Haroon Rasheed.
If we analyze the overall situation there seems no urge for talks between the TTP and Pakistan. There were reports of an informal Jirga of some tribesmen who visited Afghanistan and reportedly had a meeting with TTP leadership but that initiative was taken by the locals on their own. The foreign office of Pakistan had come clear on the matter and denied claims of negotiations with the banned TTP. The Afghan Taliban wants negotiations between Pakistan and the TTP but the actual problem is demands for negotiations. The demands put forwarded by the banned outfit; especially the demand of undoing the merger of the former of FATA and demand to allow TTP to establish a semi-autonomous region which are not only unacceptable for the State but for the people as well. The resumption of the peace process between Pakistan and the banned TTP in my view could be possible if talks begin on terms other than the above-stated terms.
Similarly, the demands from the TTP to lay down arms and surrender unconditionally are also not acceptable to TTP. No group would let go of the space created through armed movement, so in such circumstances, resumption of talks seems a distant reality, said Haroon Rasheed
There are reliable reports of infighting within the TTP, the alleged poisoning of Sarbakaf Momand one of group’s top commanders is a clear example of such infighting. Therefore Pakistan would not want to engage with TTP facing a challenging situation from within and would rather continue with the ongoing IBOs against them.
Unfortunately, no political party has come clear on the militancy problem in Pakistan, the incumbent political alliance and opposition (apart from PPP & ANP) have any clear policy on the matter. Policial parties in Pakistan are rather a busy confrontation with each other for political benefits, commented Rasheed Safi (Senior Journalist and Political Commentator).