May be the time has come to take the sternest action against all the militants groups, particularly the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that has killed the largest number of civilian and armed forces personnel. They have been openly challenging writ of the government by killing innocent people and officers and soldiers of Pakistan Army and also attacking the sensitive installations. Their claiming responsibility of attacks leaves no justification for negotiations but completely weeding out this most ruthless group and as the saying goes ‘enough is enough’. It is also the time TTP sympathizers also change their attitude.
During the election campaign meeting of ANP, MQM and PPP were attacked but PMl-N and PTI were spared. Now PML-N rules at federal and Punjab levels and PTI rules Khyber Pakhtunkwah and both the parties are pleading negotiations with this banned terrorist outfit. They tend to ignore the point that unless TTP stops its attacks and also lays down arms no negotiations should be held, simply because they are not only killing and sabotaging but also very proudly claiming responsibility of these heinous crimes.
Soon after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced a phased withdrawal of troops from Malakand division, an attack using an IED by TTP killed two senior military officers and a soldier in Upper Dir on Sunday. Four other security personnel were killed and 10 injured in bomb and rocket attacks in North Waziristan and Bannu areas. According to a statement released by the ISPR, Maj Gen Sanaullah, General Officer Commanding for Malakand division and Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed and a soldier were martyred.
Some of the quarters fear the attacks might derail planned peace talks between the government and the TTP. Strangely, while hundred of security personnel have been killed the civilian government is still pleading negotiation. The response of the two most vocal proponents of peace talks with the Taliban, PML-N and PTI has been very mute. Although the TTP claimed responsibility for killing the senior officers, the Prime Minister neither addressed the banned outfit nor did he say anything how his government would deal with perpetrators of such attacks.
According to media reports a separate handout issued after the Prime Minister had called Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the evening, was also silent about the government’s strategy after the incident. It only said Prime Minister had conveyed his “heartfelt condolence over the martyrdom of General Officer Commanding Malakand Division Major General Sanaullah, Lt Col Tauseef and Sepoy Irfanullah”.
The statement, like the resolution adopted by an all-party conference was ambivalent; it neither addressed the TTP directly nor expressed the government’s resolve to weed out the terrorists as Mian Sahib used to say in the past. It is necessary to remind that in his first address to the nation he had indicated use of force against militants. The PTI leadership only condemned the attack and offered condolences to the bereaved families and praised the services of the armed forces, but said nothing about the perpetrators.
Condemning the killing of army officers, former president Asif Ali Zardari urged people to guard against extremist mindset and appeasing militants. He very rightly said that the greatest threat to democracy emanates from the militant mindset seeking to impose their agenda through force. He also reminded that “If there has been any doubt about the futility of appeasing the militants these must be removed by the incident of Upper Dir”.