YOUR front-page headline (Aug 20) and editorial (Sept 11) are highly disturbing. Nowhere in the Prime Minister’s speech was there any indication that Pakistan is offering talks from a position of strength as one of your editorials so aptly put it.
The TTP must publicly state that they recognise Pakistan, accept its constitution and admit they are a part of it. Now that the coalition forces will be leaving Afghanistan, the raison d’etre for jihad no longer exists.
The TTP is waging a war (suicide attacks) against Pakistan for siding with the infidels; however, now that the foreign forces will be leaving Afghanistan, the TTP must re-assess its cause for attack.
Dawn mentions (Aug 23) in a news item that the ‘Muaweea’ faction is averse to the talks whereas the Punjabi Taliban welcome the Prime Minister’s offer, showing that there are numerous splinter groups besides the TTP that are operating in the country. What guarantee does Pakistan have that there will be no more suicide attacks after the signing of the agreement.
Zahid Hussain in “Scorpion’s tail,” writes that Taliban groups are notorious for reneging on their agreements and attacking the Pakistan Army despite repeated agreements.
Therefore any agreement that the Pakistan government signs with the TTP must categorically state that after this agreement any form of attack anywhere in Pakistan will render this agreement null and void. We must convey to the Taliban that Pakistan is no banana republic and any aggressive move will be met with full force. Unless and until the TTP lays down its arms, the question of talks is futile.
Further, the Parliament must immediately introduce a law that a Pakistani citizen proved aiding the Taliban will be declared a traitor.
As far as introducing the TTP brand of Sharia, the government must be very firm on sticking to the Sharia as given in the constitution; having said that, man-made laws are not perfect and can be amended but the amendment must be endorsed by the parliament.
WG.CDR.(Retd) AHMED SHAH JAN Peshawar
What is the outcome?
The basic aim of the recent APC called by the government seems to be doable as the Taliban have also welcomed the talks’ offer.
In response to the government’s offer, the Taliban have asked for an end to all the operations taking place in the North West and an end to drone strikes by the US as well.
Taliban have also asked for compensation for those who were killed during the operation and the release of their prisoners as a precondition for talks.
The state has reached a surge in violence which has posed a major threat to our state entity. The government and the military leadership are on the same page which is a positive sign. The TTP is different in organisation from the Afghan Taliban: it lacks a central command and is a coalition of various militant groups who are challenging the writ of the state.
The TTP emerged as an organisation which included people from all walks of life. They united for a common cause and established the TTP as platform for the attainment of their objectives.
There are a few questions which need to be answered. Let’s assume that the state has accepted every demand of Taliban for the sake of peace and stability and has also absolved all previous experiences of talks with Taliban and aggression; what comes next. Can we allow a group to act as a state within a state and challenge the writ whenever it feels like to vent violence within the state? What will be their status after the acceptance of their demands? Will they go back to their previous status as a commoner? Nobody has thought what will be the outcome.
SOBIA AMIR Islamabad
Strong will needed
Talks with militants is a commendable step and shows a sense of seriousness on the part of the government to put an end to this mayhem. However, it may not necessarily yield the desired results.
Failed talks may lead to an all-out war and attack on strategic assets, the lives of security personnel and innocent citizens.
The details of a counter terrorism strategy have not been revealed yet; one can only hope that the government has done the required homework to address issues which may not hinder the process. Many factors could hamper the effort including the issue of drone attacks.
The issue of drone attacks had hampered negotiations in the past. We have the resources and we have the ability. What is needed most is a strong will and combined efforts of civilian and military administration to stop letting history repeat itself by addressing the issue of drone attacks at their earliest.
ZULFIQAR ALI Quetta