Security Briefings

Talks with the banned outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are going forward, this time with the federal government also fully informed of what all is being set on the negotiating table, with an attempt for better transparency to the public as well. The parliament has summoned an in-camera session of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) to give a briefing on ongoing talks on the TTP-government talks.
The balance between the role of security forces and the parliament in these issues of such high national security importance is a tricky one to maintain. The two pillars of state must work together and discuss the best way forward in what is a very vulnerable situation. Talks can only be successful if all stakeholders agree on a path forward and these briefings are a good indicator that no matter what TTP’s stance is, it is clear that all factions of the state are united and aware of all facets of the talks and what all is at cost.
This coordination and strength of negotiating power are particularly important considering how difficult this dialogue looks out to be. TTP’s demands are not acceptable and some must be retracted for progress to be made—one of the most unreasonable demands, and one which TTP does not appear ready to compromise on is the reversal of the Fata merger. In a recent statement, TTP said that the group would not accept any compromise on the pre-merger status of ex-Fata. What the contradiction here is that the TTP in exchange says it is ready to accept Pakistan’s constitution, yet the constitution now, by way of amendment, includes Fata’s merger.
It is clear that peace is necessary, yet the path towards peace appears difficult to reach, even with the ensuing talks. The government must not forget that even during TTP’s ceasefire, terrorist attacks did not subside—just on Monday, 10 security personnel were injured when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security forces in North Waziristan, the second suicide attack on the security forces during the last one month. Therefore, it is important to enter into these talks keeping in mind that other banned outfits will be keeping an eye on the result of those negotiations as well.

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