Talks With TTP

No matter what political controversies, votes of no-confidence and institutional disagreements may go on in the state set-up, on the issue of national security and the agenda of scourging the country of terrorism, all institutions, the parliament and the opposition need to be on the same page. This is why the recent meeting between military leadership and political leaders at the Prime Minister’s House was reassuring due to the military’s promise to the political leadership that no extra-constitutional concessions would be given to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the ongoing dialogue and any deal made with the terrorist group would be subject to parliamentary approval.
This was imperative in a number of ways. The TTP “problem” has been a serious cause of suffering and detriment to the country and most of our political efforts to curtail the issue have not been effective. The ongoing ceasefire is a welcome step but also gives way to a highly precarious situation.
Previous ceasefires with the banned group have not proceeded smoothly—the last ceasefire was broken by the TTP for a variety of reasons, some of them owing to the government’s indecision and lack of cohesion. While the TTP’s excuse the last time, that the government was slow in forming a negotiation committee, and the issue about the release of prisoners, were not valid reasons, they were a reflection of administrative failure. These missteps must be viewed with the gravity of the situation in that every breakdown in a ceasefire results in terrorist attacks, loss of lives, and instability in the country.
Any effort at tackling this debilitating problem that has plagued the country for years must be a collaborative effort, with all parliamentarians and the security apparatus presenting a united front, and keeping each other in the loop. Unfortunately, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), and other similar efforts have broken down due to a lack of cooperation and efficiency with severe consequences for the country. The TTP is highly volatile and susceptible to attacking at the slightest imagined provocation—the leadership across institutions and political parties must work together to work out a roadmap that makes us secure and to ensure this effort, like previous initiatives, does not fall through.

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