ISLAMABAD: The Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) has opposed the reported secret talks between the state and the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), asking which institution is representing the state in the talks and what the banned group has promised to do in return if the government reaches an agreement with it.
Speaking to the media here on Sunday, MWM secretary general Allama Nasir Abbas said that the TTP had itself taken responsibility for killing thousands of innocent citizens of the country. The relatives of the victims have a right to ask on what ground the government is holding negotiations with such a dangerous group, he added.
He said the talks between the government and the TTP must be clear and transparent and there should be no secrecy in them. The TTP has massacred not only innocent citizens, but also members of armed forces, police and political parties.
Party chief says victims should be taken into confidence
He said the government must take parliament and provincial assemblies into confidence before initiating any kind of parleys with the TTP. Those who are representing the government in the talks with the terrorist group should brief a committee comprising members of the National Assembly and Senate, he added.
Without naming any government’s agency, Allama Abbas said it should not be up to any single institution to initiate a closed-door discussion with the TTP. Besides, he added, there are some basic questions which must be answered before starting talks with the terrorist group. “Has the TTP recognised the state of Pakistan? Do they repent for their past deeds? Is the TTP ready to pledge not to take up arms against the state or the citizens of Pakistan? And most importantly, will they pay diyat (financial compensation paid to heirs of a victim) to the families of those whom they have killed or seek an apology from them?”
The MWM is a close political ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the first political party to have joined the PTI’s Azadi March and sit-in against the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2014. The MWM also shares cabinet positions with the PTI government in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Allama Abbas claimed that the TTP had killed around 80,000 Pakistanis, saying that 30,000 of them belonged to the Shia community. All those groups or political parties, including the Awami National Party, which had become victims of the TTP’s brutality must be taken into confidence before the start of talks with the banned terrorist group, he added.
He lauded the recent Sindh Assembly’s resolution which had expressed concern over the ongoing negotiations with the TTP. The resolution demanded that the federal government take all relevant stakeholders on board before making such a decision. The resolution also demanded involvement of political parties and other institutions in these talks.
Allama Abbas expressed the fear that the government might end up yielding not much from the terrorist group and agreeing to give it much more in turn, including release of its hardcore terrorists from jail.
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2021