The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mohmand chapter claimed to have murdered 23 FC personnel on 1st March 2014. A video was later released which showed the decapitated bodies of the slain soldiers who had been under the captivity of terrorists since 2010. 12 security personnel of the Khasadar Khyber Force responsible for providing security to polio vaccination teams and a child were killed in two separate attacks in Khyber Agency on the same day. 12 people, including an additional session judge and a female lawyer, were killed in an attack on F-8 district courts complex in Islamabad on 4th March. 6 FC personnel lost their lives to an IED blast carried out in Hangu District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on 5th March. 11 persons were killed in a suicide attack targeting Police in Sarband area of Peshawar on 14th March. 24 more people lost their lives in a blast at a vegetable market in Islamabad, on 9th April. Before some proceed to add the numbers to ascertain whether the death count is ‘high enough’, it is pertinent to point out that not all attacks have been mentioned here. Neither the hundreds of severely injured security personnel and civilians nor the assassinations carried out by sectarian organisations which are now allied with the TTP have been included. They can always be added to the list if these statistics fail to produce the desired effect.

This is the real face of ‘peace talks’, not the one Pervez Rasheed, Nisar Ali Khan and other ‘leaders’ present before the people, and expect them to applaud. All aforementioned incidents of abhorrent violence occurred during the much celebrated 40-days long TTP-government ceasefire which has now officially expired. During this period, the government suspended all military and police action against terrorists while they clearly refused to reciprocate. The government also set free 19 “non-combatants” linked with the TTP in exchange for the release of zero non-combatants by the militants. Previously touted as a unified organisation with a monopoly over terrorist activities across the country, the ‘ceasefire’ period revealed the TTP to be incoherent, divided and duplicitous. Its co-operation with the government amounted to nothing more than issuing statements of condemnation following deadly attacks for which affiliated terrorist groups openly claimed responsibility. This allowed the government to remain ‘engaged’ in an obviously futile exercise while innocent civilians and security personnel continued to be targeted with impunity. One cannot stress enough on the uncertainty of what is to come. If anything, this ‘peace process’ has helped build consensus around the narrative that negotiations with terrorists cannot and will not produce results. Judging from its history, the country has made it a point to learn valuable lessons the hardest way possible. If this doesn’t teach us, nothing will.