Pakistans intelligence officials and a senior commander of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have, reportedly, revealed to the Associated Press that the two sides have been in negotiation with each other for the past six months. For the present, the talks were concentrated on striking a peace deal in South Waziristan but, if successful, their mandate would be extended to cover the entire tribal belt to reach a comprehensive settlement. This is a development that the people of Pakistan will support. The TTP was opposed to the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan and it would not have taken up arms against Pakistan had it not arraigned itself on the side of the Americans, the commander said. However, the ISPR has denied that any such negotiations are going on with the TTP. Apparently, as the AP report indicates, the task has been taken up by former civilian and military officials and tribal elders and official involvement would take place if the talks show any promise. At this stage, a tribal elder involved in the peace process said, it is a very difficult stage and despite the three rounds that took place in the past two months, there had been no progress. Having joined the US-led war on terror, Islamabad finds itself in a tight corner. Our participation has resulted in mass casualties, 30,000 among the civilian population and 5,000 security forces, and terrorist attacks keep occurring unabated. Mondays armed clash with militants in Orakzai took the lives of two officers of the Pakistan Army, besides causing injuries to a number of others. The economy has suffered a grievous loss, virtually bringing down the house of our political and social stability and ruining the climate of security. Should the negotiations come to a successful conclusion Pakistan would be spared further depredations. But the catch is the US, itself keen to secure peace in Afghanistan through talks, is opposed to Pakistan following the same route and keeps putting its pressure on for militarily checking the militancy scourge, even for launching an armed action in North Waziristan, which, Pakistan believes, is not the source of terrorism and, thus, against our national interest to incur the enmity of the tribesmen there. Under these dire circumstances, we have no other option but to pursue our own interests, whatever the outside pressure, if the cycle of violence has to be reversed and life to return to a secure and normal condition. Only then, would we be able to set the ball of economic development rolling.