Talks With TTP

There are reports that the government’s talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan are progressing well. No indication about this has been made publicly available or released to the opposition, but according to reports, the government looks prepared to release around two dozen ‘low-level’ operatives of the banned outfit as a confidence-building measure for the negotiations to progress.

The government is well within its rights to speak to a proscribed group to try and bring it back into the fold. But this particular group has caused the death of incalculable Pakistanis, not to mention that the government itself has identified links to Indian funding.

The unilateral approach the government looks to be taking is not wise. There is a reason for developing consensus in a democratic setup. The government has to ensure whatever discussions it involves itself in are followed through by its successor. This has not even been considered by the ruling party.

Taking lessons from the way the National Action Plan was developed would be helpful. The government has indicated that it is cautious in its approach, but perhaps it could do with a little more care in terms of the ramifications even successful peace talks might bring about.

If we look at the trend so far, the only dissenters the government has chosen to speak to have used violence as a means to get their agenda across. The TLP uses violence during its protests while the TTP has carried out monstrous attacks, leaving behind scars from which we are still healing. Other factions or movements that might even be peaceful have not even been approached. The government must look to nip this precedent to get violent to get demands across in the bud. If talks are on the cards, the legitimate grievances of other Pakistanis that have not threatened the state or its inhabitants should be addressed first.

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