Fate of dialogue with TTP???
Fate of dialogue with TTP???
The shaky start of government-Taliban negotiations gave credence to the apprehension of people in the know of the situation that the peace parleys could not see the daylight and would culminate in deadlock between the two sides leaving the door open for ‘other options’ to settle the imbroglio.
The negotiating teams of two sides have their introductory meeting in Federal Capital on Thursday (Feb. 7) with both sides coming up with queries on each other’s mandate, besides agreeing to the broader contours of the negotiations.
The team representing Tehreek-I-Taliban comprising Jamiat-I-Ulema-I-Islam(Sami Group) Moulana Samiul Haq, Khatib(cleric) of Lal Masjid Moulana Abdul Aziz and Jamaat-I-Islami Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa Amir Prof. Ibrahim raised questions about the powers and scope of government’s committee and also expressed their wish to have meetings with Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence, hence showing tacit no-trust on the four-member government team, and to have the assurance and guarantee of these powerful people on fulfilment of their demands.
On the other hand the government team comprising Special Assistant to Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui, Rustam Shah Mohmand, Maj(retd) Amir and Rahimullah Yousafzai also sought explanation from Taliban team about their mandate and how they would get their decisions implemented from the defunct Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan.
They also sought explanation whether the government team require meeting with the nine-member TTP Shoora committee, especially constituted to monitor the talks process.
Publicly the government was upbeat about the ongoing dialogue process but in private or off the record comments the key government people saw little chances of success of these dialogues because of the complexities associated with this lingering problem.
Political and defence analysts commenting on the subject said that it was premature to comment on the situation because the fate of the dialogue could be judged in the light of the wish lists from both sides and the will power, particularly of government, to implement the basic points agreed upon by both sides.
Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan is a loose conglomeration of well over 50 groups and there are not adhering to some strict discipline and the some of the splinter groups in the alliance averse to the dialogue process could torpedo the move by launching suicide attack or attacking the military conveys moving in the troubled areas.
Since the initiation of the contacts between the government and TTP, a few terrorists’ attacks were launched and despite TTP central Shoora’s dissociation from these attacks it would definitely have negative impact on the peace parleys.
At the same time defiance of truce announced by TTP would definitely damage their reputation as the sole body controlling the troubled areas. Similarly, the Military establishment had also made it loud and clear that in case of attacks on their personnel or installations they would hit back at the terrorists abodes, hence jeopardizing the peace process.
On the other hand the demand of TTP nominated team’s demand of seeking meeting with Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and DG ISI sound rational, as TTP top notches knew it well that any commitment from any quarter about some measure sans the backing and approval of Armed Forces was meaningless.
Similarly, knowing the vulnerability and weak points of the TTP in the restive Tribal Areas where some of the groups under its umbrella are having the patronage of CIA and Raw, the four-member government team had raised some pertinent questions demanding certain assurances on part of TTP from the TTP backed team.
On top of it the TTP backed team was holding these talks from a weaker position and the government team rightly asked them of their mandate and power to get the decision agreed upon in the government-TTP team meeting as neither they were part of any of the TTP groups nor the TTP leadership was under their influence.
The TTP backed team faced another blow as after the refusal of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and JUI-F central leader mufti Kifayatullah’s refusal to be part of the team another member of the committee Khatib(cleric) Moulana Abdul Aziz would disassociated himeslef on the pretext that there was no mention of Shariah enforcement in the country in the initial talks agenda.
But the real test of both government and TTP teams would start after placing of their respective wish lists on the negotiation table and then agreement on a set of demands from both sides and getting it effectively enforced from the people who really matter in the troubled areas—the TTP militants and the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
By: Syed Abid Gillani