Peace talks with the TTP

The reported peace talks between Pakistan and the TTP have triggered a mixed reaction among the masses: one section supports these negotiations as means of peaceful resolution of the issues, while the other sees it as the capitulation of the state to the TTP’s demands. While there is no second opinion on the fact that the deadly terrorist attacks carried out by the TTP left thousands of people either dead or homeless, with that being said, however, the dialogue seems the only feasible solution in the current setup on the following grounds.

First, the withdrawal of the US has created a vacuum in Afghanistan that provided the TTP and other terrorist organizations a perfect opportunity to reorganize themselves and establish sanctuaries to take shelter in. If Pakistan prefers military operation over dialogue, the TTP fighters will infiltrate Afghanistan into their covers and carry out unrestrained cross-border attacks against the country.

Second, TTP enjoys massive support from the Afghan Taliban owing to close ideological affiliations. So, Pakistan should never expect the Afghan Taliban to support it against the TTP in the event of a military operation against the terrorist organisation.

Third, the possibility of India supporting the TTP in carrying out cross-border attacks can not be ruled out.

Fourth, Pakistan has been facing severe economic hardships amid consistently rising inflation. The country can not afford a massive military operation that incurs an enormous cost to the national exchequer.

In sum, the ground realities point to the fact that another military operation against the TTP is expected to do more harm than bear any fruitful result. A dialogue aimed at getting the TTP into the mainstream seems the most viable solution.

ASAD AZIZ,

Khushab.

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