THE Pakistani chapter of the Taliban has put forth another demand as a precondition to hold talks with the Pakistan government.
According to the Taliban spokesperson, the release of Muslim Khan and Mullah Omar, along with five others, would serve as a first step where the first two members would after being released become the main negotiators for the Taliban.
Further, it is being demanded that Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Syed Munawwar Hassan would become the guarantors in the peace process.
Either the Taliban have a very deep insight into Pakistani politics that enables them to predict the fact that the guarantors they are demanding would be the ones having more power in the future government, or it could be just another ploy to have their own way by getting key leaders released and to strengthen themselves further.
Keeping in view the previous attempts, it would be a natural conclusion that the Taliban want things to happen their own way.
They have never adhered to any deal. Taking the Swat deal as one example, it becomes pretty evident that it was never the Pakistani government that backed out but the Taliban that disobeyed the terms of the deal by not giving up arms.
Surely, the release of around 16 key Taliban operatives by the current Pakistani government at the behest of the Afghan peace council exemplifies clearly the stance of the Pakistani government regarding how serious they are about negotiations.
This positive move, however, backfired as Pakistan witnessed a renewed spate of violence within its borders. So, it would not be wrong to conclude that the more prisoners Pakistan releases, the more empowered the Taliban become and thus increase their momentum.
The new demands made by the TTP, along with the accusations made by Ehsanullah Ehsan regarding the Pakistan government and the army not being serious about the peace talks, must be taken as another skewed attempt to encash our weakness, that is, the need to end this decade-long war, and get their key leader freed from captivity.
That the JUI, JI and PML-N leaders have already expressed that such a guarantee is ill-placed and premature shows that the demand is impracticable and absolutely hopeless.
PROF KABIL KHAN Peshawar
Double standards AT the summit in Chequers British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to get Afghanistan and Pakistan into a commitment for a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban so as to allow Western troops a more or less orderly withdrawal from the scene of their defeat.
Two days later we read in Pakistan’s newspapers that the US was threatening Pakistan not to have a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban or else it would stop all military and economic support.
We ask: what is this? Once it has been established that peace in Afghanistan and peace in Pakistan are interrelated as Foreign Minister Khar has also been highlighting at the summit, why should Pakistan support a peace deal in Afghanistan but not be allowed to have one in Pakistan?
Does the US want us to fight their war alone now on Pakistan’s territory while they are going home quietly?
Pakistan can still survive without depending on the US aid without compromising our sovereignty.
ALI ASHRAF KHAN Karachi