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ہفتہ، 23 فروری، 2013

Negotiating with TTP terrorists

 Who is the authorised leader of the TTP terrorists? What authority does he have from so many independent operators? What is their relationship with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)?

Once again, some political
parties have offered ‘peace’ negotiations to the terrorists, and once again, they have received a slap in the face. In fact more than a slap, a bloody gift of dead bodies.

The Awami National Party (ANP) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa held an All Parties Conference (ANP) and decided to invite the Taliban to negotiate. It may be remembered that the veil of Islam that the Taliban wore to deceive the simple, religious-leaning people of Pakistan has been shredded to pieces by the combined statements of the country’s ulema and mashaikh. The true face of the terrorists is thus exposed.

The so-called ‘peace negotiations’ offer led by the ANP was the most disappointing act of opportunism. The ANP has, for a long time, bravely confronted terrorists and earned the respect of the nation. This sudden U-turn could only be opportunism before elections. And who is the one receiving this offer? Who is the authorised leader of the terrorists? What authority does he have from so many independent operators? What is their relationship with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)? These are not the only questions, there are many more:

 a. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has called for the top three politicians of the country, namely Mian Nawaz Sharif (PML-N), Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) and Syed Munawar Hasan (JI), as guarantors from the government. Who is going to be the guarantor for the TTP?

 b. The offer of talks has come from Ehsanullah Ehsan, who has always accepted responsibility for various terrorist attacks, including attacks on the security installations of Pakistan on behalf of the TTP, slaughtering soldiers and killing high-profile politicians. Will Ehsan and other TTP leaders face the courts for gruesome acts they have been committing/accepting?

 c. Presence of a convicted murderer Adnan Rashid with Ehsanullah Ehsan, while the latter offered talks, speaks volumes about the seriousness of their offer. Would Rashid be handed over to the government to fulfil judicial/legal requirements?

 d. In their ‘message for peace’, the TTP vowed to attack another political party (MQM), besides labelling Pakistani soldiers as ‘murtad’. This probably conveys that they would continue deciding who is right and who is wrong and violence would continue. In such circumstances, would negotiations be successful?

 e. Who was responsible for the failure of earlier peace agreements? Did the TTP ever fulfil its obligations in accordance with various clauses of former agreements?

 f. What is the TTP’s mind on compensation for loss of life and property that occurred during the decade-long terrorism?

 g. Will the TTP still attack girls schools in FATA/PATA or try to kill Malala Yousafzai when she comes back?

 h. Does the TTP look for some policy by the government of Pakistan for seeking state amnesty?

 i. Will the TTP be ready to disband their outfit if the negotiations are successful?

 There are several other points to be seriously thought about:

 1. Would dialogue with militants who have killed thousands of Pakistanis in suicide bombings, beheaded soldiers and bombed schools not amount to surrender by the state to them? Wouldn’t it amount to selling the blood of thousands of men, women and children who have fallen victim to the insane violence?

 2. Has the objective of the TTP, i.e. enforcing their brand of Islam, been achieved? If not, how do they intend perusing their agenda in future? What is the real agenda behind their offer?

 3. The TTP has not announced to renounce violence or lay down arms against the state. They have not announced to accept a democratic form of government. In such circumstances, what will be the outcome of such negotiations?

 4. If assuming that all terms of the TTP are accepted by the government of Pakistan, would the TTP wholeheartedly accept the constitution of Pakistan and the writ of the government and renounce violence against the citizens of Pakistan? If not, would a compromise not amount to legitimising violence?

 5. What is the basic motive behind calling for the top three politicians of the country as guarantors?

 6. What formula do the political parties supporting negotiations have in their mind? What will be the role of the TTP in future decision-making? Who will compensate/give justice to the relatives of those who have been killed by the TTP? 

 7. Will society at large accept murderers, convicts and terrorists going scot-free as a result of conciliation or dialogue?

 8. What will be the effect of dialogue on the anti-TTP militant groups like Ansar-ul-Islam? Would it lead to infighting between various groups in order to prove their superiority?

 9. How can the people of FATA, who have been the worst affected, be included in such negotiations as stakeholders?

 In the last few weeks, the nation has gone through a renewed scene of horror and killings of the Hazara community. Terrorists strongly tried to fulfil the age-old dream of Pakistan’s enemies by creating communal animosity.

The Hazara Shias acted peacefully, but firmly, in demanding justice. One takes the hat off to their discipline and patience in extremely trying and provocative circumstances. Even the spineless government of Pakistan was forced to take some measures. If this government does not succeed in stopping the atrocities committed by the LeJ, then this government has no moral or legal justification to rule the country. In such a case, this government must resign. It has failed in every field — the economy, law and order, welfare of the people and other matters related to it. It is known that the terrorists are clearly identified. Then why is there delay? Why is the political elite not ready to give full support to the armed forces to confront the terrorists? They want to cling on to their vested interests. They want to cling on to their benefits and comforts. It must be clearly understood that it is not only the ruling political parties who are guilty, the so-called ‘opposition’ and the ‘guarantor’ parties, in particular, are equal partners in crime. If they do not understand then they will not be clinging to their power base; they will only be clinging on to the mass of dead bodies of innocent citizens.

 By Naeem Tahir

 The writer is the former CEO Pakistan National Council of the Arts; Chairman Fruit Processing Industries; Chairman UNESCO Theatre Institute Pakistan; COO ‘ICTV’ USA, and currently Senior Vice President APML (Central). He can be reached at

 Sources: Daily Times

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