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TTP Chief Hakimullah Mehsud. — File Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Although the army generals will discuss the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) ‘peace offers’ at a corps commanders’ meeting to be held on Friday, they want the political leadership to formulate a response to the militants’ suggestion for a ceasefire.

“It is for the government to decide whether or not to hold dialogue with the militants. We are continuing with our operations geared towards eliminating terrorism,” a senior military officer told Dawn on Wednesday.

He said that although the offer was yet to be fully dissected it could be a tactical move by the militant outfit given its timing and the conditions that had been set.

“Political leaders should capitalise on the situation,” he said and referred to pressure on the terrorist group generated by the army’s counter-terrorism operations.

Militant leaders in back-to-back statements sent to the media last week offered a ceasefire if the government ‘adopted Shariat after changing the Constitution, revised foreign policy and ended its engagement with the war on terror in Afghanistan’.

TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, while confirming the truce proposal, has refused to disarm.

The army doubts the seriousness of the offers and sees the move as an attempt to ward off pressure, but at the same time it is shying away from rejecting them outright because of apprehensions that it may be criticised for not latching on to the ‘offers’ by those believing that the truce offer could provide a break in the violence unleashed by the TTP.

The reluctance to take a final decision on the offer partly stems from the past record of peace deals with Taliban, most of which — Shakai (March 2004), Sararogha (February 2005), Miramshah (September 2006), Khyber (September 2008) and Swat (April and May 2008) — ended in failure.

Except for the two Swat deals, which had some involvement of the ANP, the rest had been directly negotiated by the army.

Other than the poor track record of the peace deals, the dilemma for any (government) negotiator is deciding on the final goal, agenda of the talks and, importantly, whom to negotiate with. The TTP is not a unified entity; it’s rather an umbrella organisation comprising various militant groups, the officer said.

The first offer came from Asmatullah Muavia, a militant coming with Lashkar-i-Jhangvi background and currently operational head of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, while the second one was made by Hakimullah Mehsud.

“Whom should we talk to?,” the military officer asked.

It is not new for the army to pass the buck to political leadership. A national consensus appeared to be emerging in October for a decisive push against militants after the attack on Malala Yousufzai, but at that time too the military said it was for the political leaders to decide about an operation in North Waziristan and all of a sudden the consensus dissipated. A new ‘army doctrine’ framed in 2011 had identified the warfare being conducted by the TTP and other militant groups as the biggest threat to national security.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had articulated the new doctrine in his well-known independence night speech at Kakul. “No state can afford a parallel system or a militant force,” he said at the premier military training academy.

He also called for clarity on dealing with the threat of terrorism, warning that “otherwise, we’ll be divided and taken towards a civil war. Our minds should be clear on this”.

The ANP, which lost Bashir Bilour in a suicide attack on Dec 22 and has borne the brunt of TTP strikes against secular parties, has cautiously welcomed the talks offer.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has shown government’s inclination to consider the offer made by Hakimullah.

Comments (63) Closed

Indian Jan 04, 2013 09:02am
The genie now negotiates with the masters. Is the genie smart or the master's abilities are questionable?
sfomann Jan 03, 2013 08:13pm
What possibly could you negotiate with these people. They even tried killing a teenage girl who was fighting for a basic education for girls
Mariam jan Jan 03, 2013 05:57pm
Then Crash Taliban if you Can LoL
Farukh Jan Jan 03, 2013 07:31pm
The people of Pakistan have not created this monster, rather it is our so called the defenders of Pakistan who have created them. They were used against the USSR and when USSR left Afghanistan and USA and the west invaded Afghanistan our policy makers sided with the invaders and termed them as terrorists. Being betrayed by their masters they turned their guns on the innocent people of Pakistan and the poor soldiers who are killed on daily bases but the generals and the elites in the army are cashing them for dollars. The brutalities Pakistan Army are not very different from the barbarism of Taliban. Army in the name of operation has killed and tortured thousands of innocent civilians and is still continued that is why the number of so called Talibans is increasing and not decreasing. If what I am writing here is not true then let the free media be allowed to the regions where operations are taking place. The daily routine is when the Talibans carry out any attack and kille innocent people they disappear soon but the army picks, torture and even kill these civilians and throw their bodies. Today people are just fed up with both Taliban and our so called army who has been killing its own people.
Bilal Jan 03, 2013 08:40am
PPP, ANP and MQM have been showing spine. The Taliban apologist like PML-N, PTI and JI need to change their perception to be the part of national level consensus. Militancy can only be eliminated once the whole nation unites to give it a final punch. Armies can't do it on their own.
Aht Jan 03, 2013 08:15am
@ Mr.T, Army can not decide themselves anything in this democracy Government! All rules been follow from democracy government.
Mariam jan Jan 03, 2013 05:57pm
america are cowards bombing villages, fighting light armed Taliban with helicopter gunships, tanks, bombers, even unmaned drones hahaha you out of brave pilots ? all of your pilots turned scaredy cats so they fly unmaned drones? instead ? LOL
M R Khawaja Jan 03, 2013 12:31pm
These Animals should be killed and hanged in public they do not desrve talking to.Question is who is willing to kill them Government/Army or they should be killed by their own people. I think their own people who had great courage should do the job with Government help to clean up their socity to make it educated/human socity.
akhter husain Jan 03, 2013 03:18pm
Army needs specific orders in such matters,from government.Had there been a marshal-law then the chief of army was responsible for these decision making.
Arshad Jan 03, 2013 09:22am
Millitary should eliminate the root cause of terrorism i-e change foriegn policy about Afghanistan. We can't save us by destroying others.
baseer Jan 03, 2013 06:50pm
Please dont allow terrorists to defame the Shariah. Let them come out with a legal frame work which they consider to be Shariah and let the people of Waziristan have a referrandrum on it. If it is acceptable to them then it should be acceptable to the government. Negotiations and concessions earned by force will only weaken democratic process. Peace in the sub-continent rests on how effectively Pakistan deals with PTT.
Akhlaq husain Jan 03, 2013 11:34pm
Since when the army start asking the opinion of civil government on natioal affIrs. Army has alwYs de idedunilaterally on national affairs. Then why it is not taking a decisive action aginst ttp?
Anwar Amjad Jan 04, 2013 01:12am
Negotiations should take precedence over use of force to resolve issues. Bloodshed should always be avoided if possible. If negotiations with the militants in the past failed it does not mean that all efforts to resolve the issue peacefully be given up.
Camaal Jan 03, 2013 08:44am
"It is not new for the army to pass the buck to political leadership." Excuse me? I thought it was the political leadership that set the policies, and government organizations such as the Army were instruments to implement the policies. If the Army takes action on its initiative then it is accused of setting policies (an extra-constitutional act), if it awaits direction from the political leadership then it is accused of "passing the buck." In effect, whatever happens (or doesn't happen) it is always the Army's fault. It is the political leadership that needs to get its act together, and set the agenda of eliminating extremism and terrorism through all intruments at its disposal, including the military, courts, public opinion, etc. Stop unnecessarily bashing the military, because without them the last thing you will ever see is the business end of a Taliban's gun.
Abuzar Jan 04, 2013 04:52am
Two wrongs does not make one right. We are only Answerable to our actions. (Actions only, not thoughts)
Ali Jan 04, 2013 01:04am can anyone trust criminals who have killed innocent unarmed children. Another great advice from the great army who's generals are too busy running commercial businesses and earning money. I wonder if Kayani has any other worries except for how to save Aslam Baig from punishment for his criminal role in IJI etc. shame on you
ahsan7979 Jan 04, 2013 07:54pm
Ditto to Khan
Sourav Roy Jan 04, 2013 03:37pm
Killing doesn't give proper solution.
Indian Jan 04, 2013 08:57am
That is intelligence not cowardliness. Hate US as much as you like and blame them for current terrorist situation. However, remember Pakistan Army and ISI actively trained these people in return for financial aid from US. So why should only US be held responsible? It was the lack of strategic vision on part of Pakistan (if there was any) that these trained mercenaries were their own people, who would continue to live in Pakistan after US had left the place for good. Time to pay the price.
Arjun Jan 04, 2013 05:29pm
Pakistan Army and its ISI is the main cause of instability of this entire region.We Indians,Pakistanis and Afghans can be in peace if Pak's Army is dissolved.Even the Indian Army or the Afghan Army along with other foreign armies can help you people. Consider it seriously! From, Chandigarh, India
dean Jan 04, 2013 05:02pm
Taliban should be eliminated once and for all, so country can progress and prosper Govt should not make any deal with these killers of innocent people.
ahsan7979 Jan 04, 2013 07:50pm
Sooner or later there has to be negotiations. The question is, do you want more bloodbath before that? i would say negotiate now while they are under pressure and dictate your own terms. To disarm and penetrate in them would be the key.
ahsan7979 Jan 04, 2013 07:52pm
You both are crazy!
ahsan7979 Jan 04, 2013 07:51pm
For Indian?
The man Jan 04, 2013 08:23pm
I'll tell you what america did, It killed 3000 of our civilians in drone strikes. It has sentenced an innoccent pakistani women to 78 years imprisonment.
Manhoos Jan 04, 2013 06:01pm
Mariam Jan, it's because of people like you why Taliban will always be gaining momentum. YOU live in denial. You know the enemy is withing and the enemy within is the most dangerous. With people like you, Pakistan will always have a confused ideology. Its time to face the fact that Taliban is the real enemy and needs to be wiped out using force, not negotiations. Enough with the negotiations. These animals gain momentum everytime the army becomes easy on them.
Indian Jan 04, 2013 08:51am
Time to get rid of both.
Jawad U Rahman Jan 03, 2013 06:01pm
This is unbelievable ! Lesser armies have gone to war over the blood of one soldier, and the sixth largest army in the world is acting so weakly in front of a few thousand thugs. The very fact that our core commanders are meeting to consider the 'offer' smells of defeatism and weakness. The response to the outrage of the soldier's abduction and massacre should have been an overwhelming assault and complete annihilation of the perpetrators.
Zia Jan 04, 2013 11:14am
absurd if army is pressurizing Govt to accept peace deal - what answers they have for the soldiers families, brutally killed, children brutally murdered. This shows weakness only as I understand
Shahnawaz Jan 03, 2013 07:57pm
Our generations will suffer for centuries if, we fail to declare open war against Taliban and deny the rule of Illiteracy. The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan have to rid of fear ad face them. Sacrifices will be needed for ultimate freedom. So called Sharia can always be molded to transform into brutal dictatorships. Say No to Taliban, Say no to Extremism.
aslam Jan 03, 2013 06:42pm
no more peace deals now. militants had already ruined our country by bombing at educational institutions,play grounds,markets to kill innocent people and to disturb our peace. they want time to regain we need no peace agreement to save anything,as we had already lost everything.
P Setra Jan 03, 2013 05:46pm
As attacking India is one of the conditions, they may just be trying to weaken/divert government forces so that they may gain even more power. They seem very destructive, whichever way you may think.
Frank riizo Jan 03, 2013 05:45pm
GPS coordinates please
Ahmed j Jan 03, 2013 05:11pm
Very biased reporting by Baqir Sajjad Syed. One could make out by his inclined journalism by allowing the comments which favours his mind. This is unlike a reputable paper of Dawn's calibre. Let the people with different views must be given a chance to be heard. In the same newspaper's blog another article by Murtaza Haider is written which is based on scientific research and has statistical data. The comments in this column totally negates Haider's findings. Beware of yellow journalism and do not lose your credibility.
Ishrat salim Jan 03, 2013 05:06pm
Fahim sb...half the world power including America could not eliminate this menace in Afghanistan and requested Pakistan to arrange meeting with TTP of Afghanistan, so if Pakistan Army has suggesting this in view of the resources constraints and internal problems being hatched by external forces, what is the problem with that ? did not expect that sort of comment from a person of Pakistani origin from Canada....
Ishrat salim Jan 03, 2013 05:00pm
You are so very correct in your analysis.....only if intellectually bankrupt people could come out of their shell to accept the truth.....
Tribal Mento Jan 03, 2013 05:00pm
I believe that state is a powerful entity and only state should have a monopoly over the violence. unfortunately, in our case, the state has lost its monopoly over violence and a state's proxy group has unleashed a brutal violence over its people. If state wants and sincere enough to eliminate these Frankenstein monster read (monsters of the id), then it can do it within a matter of days. Negotiating with them will be akin to creating a state within a state.
khan Jan 03, 2013 04:52pm
Mr. saeed Rahman first of all we know that OUR BELOVED PAKISTAN is facing a lot of difficulties in war against terror. Target killing, suicide attacks, drown attacks and many more. Have we ever noticed that why these all happens in our Nation. off-course not........ Secondly you said about "good" and "bad" terrorist. A terrorist is not always bad because there is no perfect definition of terrorist till yet. We can't differentiate between left and right. The main thing is that we can't blame our ARMY for all these. Under Constitution Army is to defend the boarder not to interfere in administration. Off-course Army by himself have never. Our Government called for the Army. So the problem is the failure in Governance..
Bilal Jan 03, 2013 04:37pm
@ Fahim Khan, Canada. . US Army is paid much better but they failed in Vietnam and Afghanistan, no body questioned them but they are always praised no matter what they do, Why Pak Army is targetted ??? because its the only hurdle in the nefarious design of the enemies of Pak. Quit using the old propaganda themes against Pak Army and think of a new one because every enemy of Pakistan is working vigorously on it.
Capt C M Khan Jan 03, 2013 04:37pm
@Adnan..Americans did not kill the 40000 inocent Pakistanis men.women and children. Americans did not destroy over 800 schools. Americans did not kill 5000 of our tax paid money Pride of Pakistani soldiers. It is these beasts including Jhangvis. We must go after them with all our army, HUNT THEM AND DEAL WITH THEM. No other way to keep the lives of remaining Pakistanis safe.
ahsan7979 Jan 04, 2013 08:06pm
Taking action is in Govts hand. Implementing is armys job if needed. Dont forget that. I see a lot of army bashing here and in general in the media. Who is willing to sacrifice their blood for the country. Are you?
Adnan Jan 03, 2013 10:10am
So are Americans because they killed millions of human beings...
akhter husain Jan 03, 2013 03:11pm
You are very right,but we are always afraid to take big and meaningful decisions when ever needed and want the army to do the job for us.It is not because of incompetence but fear of losing the vote bank. After all a bank is a bank no one would want to lose.
Parvez Jan 03, 2013 11:03am
This reflects very poorly on the capability and intentions of our security forces.
Saeed Rahman Jan 03, 2013 01:33pm
Its unbelievable that our powerful Army wishes to negotiate deal with terrorsts who have attacked, killed & maimed all over Pakistan. Have our law enforcement & Army become so impotent to eliminate bunch of rag tag militia terrorists or there is more to what meet the eye? That is there is some so called "good" & "bad" terrorists who are allowed to exist because these were created by the Army!!! Please stop dithering & take decisive action before this cancer destroys the entire country. Make a move NOW.
Shahid Masud12 Jan 03, 2013 03:13am
No peace / peace negotiations with the terrorists
Fahim Khan, Canada Jan 03, 2013 03:49am
Is this not clear enough that you are employed and paid to defend Pakistan and its citizens, not to run housings, educational institutes, industries and financial houses where you have shown your expertise instead of eliminating killers and trouble makers.
Cyrus Howell Jan 03, 2013 04:10pm
You are the Army.
Dr Mazhar Jan 03, 2013 06:05am
I don't think you can do any successful dialogue with these criminal talibans, they just need time to regroup themselves meantime. Only way to tackle terrorism and weaken talibans, Government should do development work, give employments and education to people living there. Poverty and lack of business leads to terrorism. Talibans, Lashkar-e-jhangvi are killers of thousands of innocent people.
Iftikhar Husain Jan 03, 2013 01:26pm
That means we should follow all the killers.
Mr.T Jan 03, 2013 06:27am
This statement should not be given, even though it is right. Army should speed up the operation and eliminate the roots of ttp, as political parties giving only political media statements...
karim Jan 03, 2013 01:47pm
Army has been insincere in this fight since the beginning.
Goga Nalaik Jan 03, 2013 10:07am
Military operations should be intensified against these criminals of humanity. All political parties as well as medias should support Pak army. We must not give time to these criminals to organize themselves.
Saeed Rahman Jan 03, 2013 01:41pm
Yes, I agree that the whole nation need to join together. We, as a nation is being laughed at, by other countries because we can't even call terrorist, terrorists & deal with them accordingly ie crush them. Army is losing its popularity in general public rapidly for not taking decisive actions to crush evil. I sincerely hope they wake up and start taking some action.
Aslam Jan 03, 2013 07:41am
Government should show spine and face it.
F Hyat Jan 05, 2013 01:37am
No negotions until they disarm.
janaan Jan 06, 2013 08:03pm
no negotiations until animals like Hakimullah and Wali ur Rehman are eliminated.
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 07:48pm
There is a face only a mother could love.
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 07:54pm
Should. Should. Should. Should. Should.
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 07:57pm
Ever since the Korean War first class generals have been hard to find. In Pakistan they are like Ottoman pashas. They can't get up off the cushion.
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 08:42pm
That is just the problem. A "security force" is not an army. It is a police department. The Taliban have a army.
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 08:51pm
Money blinds strategic vision, eh?
Cyrus Howell Jan 05, 2013 09:00pm
You are wise, Camaal.