The Long War Journal has reported that Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of the Punjab and the current Prime Minister’s brother, was involved in secret negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which involved stakes of such gargantuan proportions, that they extinguish any belief in this government’s sincerity of purpose in eliminating terrorism across the board. According to the report, files released from the Abbotabad compound from where Osama Bin Laden was recovered, include a letter written by then General Manager of Al- Qaeda to OBL revealing a complex nexus involving Sharif, TTP, Al Qaeda and ISI. According to the letter, Sharif attempted to cut a deal with the TTP as long as the latter agreed to halt all operations in the Punjab. It was Sharif who initiated the negotiations, eliciting, perhaps not ironically, a rather skeptical response from the Al Qaeda deputy. “Are the Pakistanis serious, or are they playing around?” he said in his letter, warning Bin Laden that caution was mandatory. It is with this dose of wisdom from the mouth of darkness itself, that we must conduct our future conclusions regarding all anti terrorism operations of the government and indeed, the military.

It is a betrayal of national trust and of the humanity of the Pakistani people who have undergone violence and heartbreak of an unimaginable scale at the hands of the Pakistani Taliban. Though one can argue that this incident fits neatly into the pattern of appeasement of terrorists by the PML-N since the 90s, the war on terror and its inevitable death count brought forth a narrative that many thought had been finally cemented when the attack on the Army Public School Peshawar occurred last December. However, the findings of this letter leave no doubt that mainstream political parties and politicians are negotiating with and protecting violent elements within the state. So as the PPP and MQM have their own militias in Karachi, and the PML- N doesn’t touch the Punjabi Taliban, where does that leave the Pakistani public? Who do the people trust? What is the official narrative and how can it be followed through? When the government narrates its resolve to cut all ties with extremist organisations, and the country witnesses a grand facade, a theatre of scuttling politicians pledging their support to the safety of our children, it is not enough. Not until the people see results, not until the country witnesses a shred of real proof beyond military tribunals and token executions that this government has cut off from the poison of Saudi inspired Wahabism and the violent politics of their own politicking.