PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) holds the centre stage, changing directions of the game every now and then. In short, it is TTP’s sweet will that is holding the sway.
When it decides to hit and kill us, we bow our heads and get killed. When it decides to talk and kill us as well, we oblige: we fly our helicopter to North Waziristan to facilitate its emissaries to meet their bosses and at the same time we keep collecting corpses from Peshawar to Karachi.
And now when the state’s fighter jets and helicopters have conducted surgical air strikes targeting TTP’s sanctuaries, the terrorists announced ceasefire and we feel happy to oblige and live peacefully with them for the next one month.
Think the one month period in terms of the possibility: no bomb blasts and IED attacks. This has not happened for the past so many years. So we should be happy!
What is more interesting is the fact that the day TTP was about to make the ceasefire public in the evening, its operatives attacked polio vaccinators in Khyber Agency in the morning.
Question remains what will happen to families of thousands of civilians and soldiers killed at the hands of Taliban?
If the TTP bosses were giving serious thoughts to the idea of giving peace a chance, they should have postponed the Saturday morning attack in Khyber Agency.
But who cares? Ceasefire is the buzzword. The other catchphrase these days is ‘on the same page’.
Earlier, doubts were being spewed whether the civil administration and the military leaders were on the same page or not. Now, at least, the TTP bosses are on the same page with the government. We should feel happy. We are moving to the next page!
How many pages of this untitled book written with the blood of thousands of civilians and soldiers are left? No one knows.
What is more interesting is the fact that we are hurling praises on TTP for its commanders’ kindness to bestow us with a month long ceasefire. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Shah Farman was all in praise for the outlawed TTP for the generosity it showed.
He wants the federal government to reciprocate the terrorists’ seriousness by holding serious and sincere talks.
It seems he does not know that, on its part, the federal government is not likely to disappoint him.
But what would happen to the families of the 55,000 civilians and thousands of soldiers killed at the hands of TTP? This argument seems to be a spoiler. It would surely be portrayed by the PTI leadership and its cyber brigade as ‘negativity’ and an attempt to sabotage the prospects of peace.
But, this forms a legitimate concern for the families, who suffered human losses and have every right to see TTP acted against by the military and the judiciary.
Do we think we have paid them ample amount of money in compensation sufficient to shut their mouths and do not look down on us for playing ceasefire and peace with TTP’s murderers?
Our memory is deficient and objectives suffer from short sightedness.
We have forgotten that TTP killed 55,000 innocent Pakistanis and thousands of our soldiers.
We have also forgotten that TTP caused us $80 billion losses. It made us hostages in our own cities and towns by unleashing a campaign of fear and mayhem. It destroyed our children’s schools to keep us living with ignorance and illiteracy.
It bombed our mosques to deny us our right to pray and preach. It deepened the sectarian divide in the country by targeting and killing people belonging to the religious school of thoughts not of their liking.
They denied us our playing fields and made us to host cricket teams from other countries at London, Sharjah, and Dubai.
They sent us chilling videos of their hooligans playing footballs with the heads of our slain soldiers. They targeted our military assets and caused us billions of losses in dollars, destroying our expensive military hardware.
After TTP made public the killing of FC men kidnapped in 2010, prime minister and his cabinet colleagues gave impression that the peace talks and terrorist attacks could not go hand in hand.
And now, we are being bombarded with TV reports that contacts between the negotiators of the two sides continued during the period when there was a general perception that talks had been stalled to take the fight to TTP’s bastion.
Well, those drumbeating and hurling praises on TTP for announcing the ceasefire should not forget that there is an important but voiceless segment of the society that is unrepresented in the peace process.
These voiceless people happen to be the families, who lost their near and dear ones to TTP’s brutalities. We have no right to make deals with TTP at the cost of the victims’ families, denying them their right to seek justice and get their victims honoured by bringing those, who killed their sisters, mothers, fathers and children to the book.