Committee’s everywhere. There is the government’s 4-member committee, announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself. The choice of members speaks volumes about the hard work put in by the government to find the most suitable people to negotiate with terrorists, in order to end the reign of violence in the country. It is claimed that the committee came into being on an emergency basis. Last-minute calls were made to members to make their ‘expertise’ available. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but the PM seems to be way off on the sort of measures that are required in the current situation.

Then, there is the 5-member committee proposed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to negotiate with the government on its behalf. Perseverance commands success. PTI Chief Imran Khan’s consistent denial and doublespeak on the issue of terrorism has earned him a spot on the TTP’s list of trusted individuals. But its easy to criticise and very hard to perform. Mr Imran Khan decided against representing the TTP, while Ms Shireen Mazari thanked the banned terrorist outfit for considering her party chief for the honour. The rest of the nominees are ‘religious leaders’, and their cordial relation with the TTP has never been a secret either.

Furthermore, there is a 9-member committee which will be announced by the TTP according to Maulana Sami-ul-Haq who is a part of the 5-member committee. So technically, the TTP will have two committees. The fact that intermediaries are supposed to be neutral, but, instead, have been selected by the TTP, doesn’t bother the government. It is just too busy “welcoming” everything militants say or do. There should be no doubt that this peace talks balloon will burst soon enough. It is only a matter of time that the reality of the situation will become clear. The ambiguity and confusion still exists because the political leadership has been extremely hesitant towards taking a clear stand and calling a spade a spade for a change.

The only productive thing that may come out of this bizarre repeat episode is that it will silence those who claim ‘peace has never been given a chance’. Will the TTP accept the constitution? Will they halt their attacks on citizens and military personnel? It is highly unlikely. Instead, they will have demands of their own. The government will be asked to release TTP’s prisoners, call back the military, and stop all state activity against its members. There are simply too many red lines that cannot be crossed. It would be wise for the PM to prepare for the real solution in the meanwhile, and not put too much time in something he knows cannot work.