Ch. Nisar Ali Khan’s press conference, after the APC on the worsening security situation, has raised more questions than it has answered. Apart from the over-simplistic explanation for the cause of terrorism in the country; blaming the blowback from 9/11 and a dictator’s decision to conduct an Army Operation in FATA in 2004, the Interior Minister was also found to be unusually careful with his words, mindful of the consequences they may have.  

To views that strong steps should be taken against the militants, playing to the TTP, Mr Khan refrained from answering the question directly and instead, insisted that the victims of drone attacks should not be ignored. He said he had no knowledge of the conditions the TTP may put forward should the talks take place.

However, the “Father of the Taliban”, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq has given some indications. The TTP, following its manifesto, will demand “Islamisation” of the political system and the state to separate itself from the war on terror. The murder of thousands of Pakistani citizens in suicide bombings and target killings greatly discredits the notion that this is a ‘US’ imposed war, against them, and not a fight for maintaining our uniquely Pakistani way of life. Also, the constitution provides already that no law in contradiction to Islam and its teachings can be passed by the Parliament, it is an Islamic republic -- what more could possibly be needed?

Mr Khan assured the country that the decision to negotiate was “home-made” and no foreign interference occurred throughout the process. If this is the state’s wish, what does it have to offer the TTP? And while he pointed out that previous efforts for talks were “sabotaged”, there was neither a mention of several peace deals which were violated by the militants every single time, nor a single reference to a strategy which guarantees that future arrangements will not share the same fate.

Mr Khan declared that there were two options to choose from: fight or negotiate. And, a joint decision had been made that talks with the extremist factions are in the interest of the country.

While making this statement, he is accepting responsibility that this time around, it is the democratic leadership which is calling the shots, and that will have to shoulder the blame should things not go according to plan. The military has reiterated its desire to support the decisions made by the elected representatives. It is a welcome development, but the responsibility of any failure in the future will rest on the government itself, and no one else. Worth considering investing in a safety net, Mr Minister.