The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has handed over a 15-point list of ‘demands’ to its nominated peace talks committee for the consideration of the government of Pakistan. The content is not surprising at all, and only reaffirms the unlikelihood of any positive outcome from the ongoing peace talks.
The first demand is that of the implementation of Sharia law in courts. The fact is that an entity known as the Federal Shariat Court already exists. It practices Islamic jurisprudence – exactly what the TTP is looking for – and is very much open for public. Perhaps if we start chopping off hands and introduce public beheadings, the TTP will find it adequately Islamic.
Secondly, the TTP wants the government to implement Islamic education system in public and private sectors alike. By that it means: no co-education. Until we build separate universities and schools especially for girls, and recruit several thousand female teachers and professors, the TTP will have to wait for its dream to come true.
Thirdly, the TTP would like to see an Islamic system of governance in place, and send the democratically elected government home once and for all. The people of the country, with their participation in the latest general elections and their constant struggle throughout the history of the country, have clearly demonstrated that they stand behind the current system, and really aren’t enthusiastic about the idea of being ruled by a Caliph. The militant organisation has been kind enough to offer us some financial advice in abolishing interest in banks. How we will then conduct business with the rest of the world, we can always figure out later.
It also wants the Pakistan government to stop US drone strikes. The TTP doesn’t care whether the government is in a position to guarantee something which it has no control over, it just wants it done. Furthermore, it seeks rehabilitation, compensation and jobs for the families of the victims of drone strikes. The government would have done that long ago if the militants didn’t present a serious threat to life of anyone visiting the related areas. It also wants equal rights for the rich and the poor. Karl Marx would have been proud. These demands are aimed to give the impression that the TTP is all for the welfare for the common people – the same people they’ve been killing since many years now.
Other unrealistic demands include withdrawal of armed forces from the tribal areas, removal of all checkposts and the release of several hundred local and foreign militants currently in jails, in exchange for a few of our people being held by the TTP. It also wants all charges against it to be dropped just like that. The state can neither surrender its territory to terrorists who have a history of using the space to launch attacks nor is it possible to let those who killed innocents walk away scot-free. Justice is as desirable to their victims as anyone else. The TTP will have to take the familiar jailbreak route in order to reunite with lost friends.
The TTP would be very much pleased if we stopped co-operating with the US in the war on terror, and also, sever ties with the superpower altogether. So no aid, no strategic co-operation, and we are supposed to pretend that the US simply doesn’t exist. The disastrous effects it will have on our economy, security, and diplomatic ties with the entire international community, the TTP just doesn’t care. Not its headache.
This set of demands clearly tells us that the TTP really isn’t serious about resolving issues through talks. It knows well that what it wants, the state simply cannot give, but nevertheless, it is insistently asking for it. The deadlock is unbreakable.