ISLAMABAD - The government-TTP peace talks would stay course despite concerns aired by some quarters that blast in Islamabad could be an attempt to sabotage the peace process.
The banned United Baloch Army (UBA) has reportedly claimed the responsibility while many believed it might have been the handiwork of TTP's splinter groups opposed to the peace negotiations.
On the other hand, the TTP spokesperson in a statement put the volley of speculations to end by condemning the blast. Still some quarters aired their concerns that prospects of future talks between the outlawed TTP and government have diminished following the blast that left nearly two dozen innocent people dead.
Even the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan declined to comment on the potential hands responsible for the blast, saying it's premature to draw conclusions until the investigation is complete.
Maulana Samiul Haq who is regarded as father of Tehreek-i-Taliban of Pakistan blamed the foreign hands. But he did not say a word about the future of talks with the TTP perhaps on the assumption that TTP had nothing to do with it.
On the other hand, critics blamed the TTP perhaps for its capacity to carry out such actions at such a scale. The main opposition party PPP is not expecting anything concrete from the talks with TTP and believes that militant outfits were gaining more time in the name of talks to regroup themselves. The PPP instead blames the interior minister for wasting time to act and get the areas under TTP control to re-establish government's writ.
On its part, the government is totally clueless about the perpetrators of the blast largely because of lack of credible intelligence input at this point of time. Maulana Yousaf Shah, one of the key members of TTP-designated team to help facilitate peace talks with the government, has blamed 'hidden hands' in the blast, and an attempt to sabotage TTP- government talks. But he sounded confident that peace process would continue and the talks will be held as planned, thereby giving a clean chit to TTP for any kind of involvement in Islamabad blast. "Peace process will continue and such attempts cannot derail the talks between government and TTP, he told The Nation.
Yousaf Shah was of the view that spadework being done by the government and TTP committees will continue unabated to take the peace talks to a logical end. The TTP is fully committed to ceasefire and peace talks, he said, hoping that talks would bear fruits.
On the other hand, some knowledgeable sources are convinced that Islamabad blast was the work of TTP splinter groups that do not want peace to bloom. They seemed less inclined to believe it could be the handiwork of UBA. They are of the view that infighting raging within TTP ranks could be one of the factors that promoted the splinter groups to resort to subversive tactics to kill the government's peace initiative. They argued that these splinter groups wanted to derail the peace talks with a clear objective of seeking enforcement of Shariah in the country with force. These splinter groups regard Pakistan as what the sources described as 'Darul Harb' and are trying to gain leverage by sabotaging the government-TTP talks.
The TTP says that all its major sixteen factions are supporting talks and only few small groups are opposed to the peace process.