Finally, it is happening. All that procrastinating is paying off. The venue for the next round has been decided, but the government is keeping its lips sealed and its fingers crossed until the long-anticipated meeting actually takes place. The irony is lost on most of us it seems; the new “peace zone” has to be kept secret for fear of being attacked by anti-state elements.

While the previous round did not add anything substantial to the dialogue except for the declaration of a ceasefire, this time the talks promise to bring something more to the table. The government and the TTP are planning a face to face meet, which can only mean that something will finally give. Either the government and the Taliban will agree to concessions, (which is highly unlikely), or the talks will break down quickly. What is making most cringe however, is the extent of credibility and legitimacy the act of a face-to-face meet dignifies the TTP with. As though it wasn’t bad enough that government representatives were sitting in on the Taliban committee, now, for all intents and purposes, a working government has surrendered to the authority of a highly aggressive non-state actor; militants who have killed over 50,000 Pakistani citizens. It is as absurd as asking the Taliban to denounce terrorism; to expect them to honour the talks or any agreement that may come out of them. Time and again they have revealed that they’ve got nothing to lose. There is no way to negotiate with a party that has no stakes, no army, no people, no principle that it considers too valuable to lose.

The inclusion of the Shura is another unstable variant in the equation. The TTP leadership is divided along ideological lines and disagrees on what they want at the most fundamental level. Their goals are absolutely incoherent, as are the government’s. On a purely functional point, the talks are doomed to fail. Its all divided opinion from here on.

Perhaps it is a testament to the endemic short-sightedness of the leadership that the talks are being addressed as a form of achievement. So you’ve brought the horse to the water. Perhaps you will even make it drink, perhaps things will be agreed upon, concessions made and the negotiations deemed favourable. Only, the horse is far too clever and far too adept in psychological warring. And drink though it may today, tomorrow all that holy water is going to be a puddle in the ground. That, dear leadership, is just elementary biology.