In a ‘spontaneous’ meeting that was probably arranged well-before-time over the phone,Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan met and decided that they were not so different after all. The Prime Minister wanted Imran Khan to endorse the steps going forward and it seems that he has succeeded. All Imran Khan wants in exchange for this support is that the government include the attacks on polio workers when they re-enter into discourse with the TTP.

Nawaz Sharif has essentially done two things by making this trip to Banni Gala.The first is admitting that the ‘one-of-a-kind comprehensive national security policy’ was nothing but fluff designed to look more substantial than it actually is. In reality all the PML-N was saying was exactly what PTI’s stance has been for years. We will try talking. If that fails we will fight…maybe. Just what PML-N means by failure in this context is not understood. But then maybe it is not meant to be. That would give them the power to decide just when (if ever) the country will move against an enemy that is using negotiation as an excuse to rebuild its strength.

Secondly, the loudest opponents of the government’s methods of negotiation have now been silenced. Nawaz Sharif will benefit greatly from this. KPK is the frontline of this conflict. And now PML-N can count on the ruling party in the province for cooperation.

For Pakistan as a whole, this is horrible news. Who are the people that do not want to talk supposed to turn to? PPP, a party that has condemned every attack and asked the TTP to clarify their stance time and again, but has failed to do so itself, by supporting the negotiations? Or the MQM, who have indeed urged the government to launch a military offensive, but cannot be taken seriously on account of their own violent tendencies? In this mix-up, there is no one credible to say what makes sense. No counter-narrative against the talks exists. No politician is representing a substantial sect of the public that believe that the failure of talks is inevitable. The government is playing in to the hands of the TTP by letting this charade continue. And now, with no one to stop them, they are wilfully heading in a direction that is at complete odds with what is best for the country. Failure is inevitable.