Should Pakistan negotiate with TTP?
According to media reports Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has expressed willingness to talk to the Government of Pakistan (GoP) and has set two conditions for the talks. It has blamed the GoP for not taking earlier ceasefire offer seriously.
The TTP spokesman expressed lack of confidence over the military but expressed willingness to talk if Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Munawar Hasan, and Nawaz Sharif came forward for being the guarantors.
The second condition is release of three of its militants, Muslim Khan, Haji Umar and Maulana Mehmood. While there are suggestions that the GoP should start negotiations some quarters strictly oppose this because they consider TTP a collection of mercenaries working against Pakistan and killing Pakistanis. They also don’t accept them as Mujahedeen fighting against foreign occupiers in Afghanistan but their accomplice.
When TTP spokesman Ehsnaullah Ehsan talked to media at an undisclosed location near Pak-Afghan border in this video released on February 3, 2013, the prime convict in the Pervez Musharraf attempted suicide attack case; Adnan Rashid was sitting beside him. One can recall Adnan Rashid was freed by TTP fighters during the Bannu Jail break in July last year.
Analysts term TTP a cluster of various militant groups and their stated objectives are: 1) assault on Pakistan and its Army, 2) enforcement of their interpretation of Sharia and 3) a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. It is often believed that the TTP is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement, with both groups differing greatly in their histories, strategic goals and interests, although both belong to the Deobandi sect.
The TTP is at war with Pakistan Army in the tribal belt but has lately extended its operations to urban areas of Pakistan. TTP’s main group consists of fighters and commanders who never took part in war against USSR or Nato in Afghanistan but they started their actions against Pakistan Army.
It is often alleged that they gets funds and arms from external source. They have started their activities near Durand Line but their main target is Pakistan not the occupying forces in Afghanistan. It is also alleged that their target is nuclear assets of Pakistan because TTP is contently keeping Pakistan Army engaged and distracting its attention from Indian border.
According to some experts about a hundred thousand Pakistanis have been killed or wounded and nearly 10,000 men in uniform martyred but TTP has been pushed back into Afghanistan from where they are now launching their operations against Pakistan. Experts have the consensus that TTP is a group of terrorists and it has no links or relations with Afghan resistance groups fighting against Nato-led forces.
Some analysts believing in conspiracy theories openly accuse that they are getting arms and funds from India and America. They even go to the extent of saying that CIA is killing leaders of Afghan resistance groups through drone attacks or through TTP. Therefore, TTP is not eligible for negotiations. Instead it must be weeded out completely else it will regroup and attack Pakistan with renewed power. TTP will actually do what the ‘godfathers’ will tell them to do.
TTP has been attacking mainly strategic installations in Pakistan and destroying equipments which have been procured at very high cost. They attacked PNS Mehran and destroyed AWACS planes which are very important for Pakistan’s maritime security. They attacked Peshawar Airbase and targeted fuel tanks there which were designated for fighter aircrafts for negotiating any aerial threat from West. They even attacked GHQ of Pakistan Army.
In Pakistan, they recruited many tribal and Punjabi youngsters in the name of Jihad but are now using Tajiks and Uzbeks for their operations against Pakistan. It is believed that Tajik and Uzbek fighters are being supplied by India operating military bases in Tajikistan. These bases are located just a few kilometers away from Uzbek border inside Tajikistan.
It is believed that TTP does not feel comfortable in Afghanistan. It fears after the withdrawal of Nato-forces from Afghanistan, Afghan resistance groups will try to eliminate them because they had caused huge damage to them.
In a May 2010 US General David Petraeus described the TTP’s relationship with other militant groups as difficult to decipher: “There is clearly a symbiotic relationship between all of these different organizations: al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi. And it’s very difficult to parse and to try to distinguish between them. They support each other, they coordinate with each other, sometimes they compete with each other, [and] sometimes they even fight each other. But at the end of the day, there is quite a relationship between them.”
Another offshoot of the TTP is The Tehreek-i-Taliban Punjab, alternatively called the Punjabi Taliban. It is also said to be a loose network of members of banned militant groups based in South Punjab. Major factions of the Punjabi Taliban are said to be Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and Jaysh-i-Muhammad. It has increasingly provided the foot-soldiers for violent acts and has played an important role in attacking Ahmedi, Shia, Sufi and other civilian targets throughout Pakistan.
The bottomline is that the mercenaries may wear different caps but their objective is common, plunging Pakistan into anarchy. These groups are getting funds and arms from outsides and hire ruthless people to kill and sabotage.
The time has come to weed them out without the slightest consideration that they are Pakistanis. The outlaws deserve no mercy, especially because they have been killing the innocent and helping Pakistan’s enemies to achieve their ulterior objectives.