The Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad has said clearly that all conversations with the outlaw terrorist organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) will only take place in accordance with Pakistan’s constitution.
The political leadership was given a briefing on the status of the negotiations at the right time, and a secret parliamentary meeting is reportedly about to be held as well. It is essential that no extra-constitutional concessions are made, given the TTP’s track record in the past. The need for parliamentary scrutiny and approval stems from this as well.
Any agreement with a terrorist organisation requires extreme caution, the participation of the most qualified officials on both sides, and must receive the authorization of parliament. The Pakistani constitution is quite specific in its rules on the conduct of the nation’s foreign policy, and parliament is the top institution that offers direction in all significant policy matters. Given that the TTP is an organisation that has been functioning inside Pakistan’s borders for at least 15 years, there should ideally be broad agreement on these issues. Countless individuals, including women and children, have died as a result of TTP attacks.
They have not shown any regard for the elderly in their goals, nor have they spared hospitals or schools. For this reason, a well-thought-out plan must exist before the TTP is granted any concessions. The Afghan Taliban also bear a heavy burden because they require international recognition. In stark contrast to Pakistan’s hopes, the Afghan Taliban have shown a dubious stance regarding the TTP and have been unable to control it. If the past is any indication, the country has experienced numerous bargains, peace accords, and truces with different armed groups, and the majority of the respondents did not considerably aid.
The extremist group frequently breaks its word and resumes its attacks on military and civilian targets. In November 2021, the prior government and the TTP reached a cease-fire agreement, but the TTP couldn’t keep it for more than a month. While talks are ongoing, the Afghan Taliban have now declared another “indefinite” ceasefire between Pakistan and the TTP. Between 2004 and 2009, there were a number of peace deals between the TTP and the Pakistani government.
However, the TTP consistently disregarded these peace accords and went on with its terrorist activities.
Large and minor political parties and groups are more evenly represented in the current administration. Despite being a significant political force, the PTI was not invited to the meeting since its members had resigned from the National Assembly and their legal situation was unclear.
For such crucial issues, it is necessary for all political parties and the security establishment to take into account both the overt and covert effects of any potential agreement with the TTP. The TTP has a significant interest in this arrangement because Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been one of its main targets. Not only the KP political leadership, but also members of civil society and the families of the victims, must be involved.
Our parliament will hopefully ensure that the agreement with the TTP does not give in to unfair demands and that those who have been proven to be responsible for the worst crimes against our people are brought to justice. There might not be a long-term military solution to each combat situation, but talking does not mean giving up previously won territory.