It appears that the path towards peace is paved with ridiculous statements. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is clearly on a mission to self-destruct. Is he tired of being taken too seriously and thus is uttering words which are bound to have the opposite effect?  If so, then he’s right on target. This whole ‘give peace a chance because we’re clueless’ exercise has done absolutely nothing to curb terrorism. The government’s wish of making best friends with the TTP has distracted it from the most obvious of realities. These are mass murdering terrorists the state is dealing with, not some well-meaning, aggrieved patriots. In order to effectively deal with an enemy, it is of critical importance that it is identified and portrayed as such. Only then is it possible to rally the masses behind a decisive action if and when the time is right. The PML-N government has massively contributed to the prevalent ambiguity by drawing lines in the sand in order to justify a flawed approach towards rampant militancy.

The PM has asked the TTP leadership to condemn acts of terrorism assuming that everyone is equally eager to shoot themselves in the foot.  Why would terrorists condemn terrorism? And even if the TTP does listen to the PM this one time, what could it possibly achieve? If anything, it would legitimize the ‘third force’ theory much to the delight of the terrorists and their ever-loyal apologists. The TTP could kill absolutely anybody, and simply claim that anti-talks forces are responsible. Mr Khan will nod. Mr Nisar will nod harder. And Mr Sami-ul-Haq will clap and smile. However, the humour will surely be lost on the common people being slaughtered by a supposedly unknown entity. But, that’s obviously not the government’s concern here. It is only worried about the unavoidable derailment of the ‘peace process.’

The PM has also requested the TTP to identify the elements responsible for the Islamabad attack, and to keep a check on other forces which do not wish to engage in ‘fruitful dialogue.’ Is that how far we are willing to go to dignify their status as a legitimate entity? Why stop there? Since the PM is essentially telling the TTP to do the interior ministry’s job, perhaps the government should formally employ them for a monthly salary. An outlawed militant organisation is now the government’s policeman in the troubled region.  The government is advised against shamelessly mocking the victims of the Islamabad attack and their grieving families. The least we can do is not make a mockery out of every death the TTP has ever laid claim to.