The spillover of a volatile security situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover has been witnessed in Pakistan with a surge in terrorist attacks. Most of these attacks at home have been claimed by the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Just past week, the insurgent group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at the outskirts of Quetta that martyred four Frontier Corps men.
With this threat of terrorism currently looming in Pakistan, President Arif Alvi’s statement that the government may consider conditional amnesty for TTP members lacks nuance. On Friday, during an interview with a leading local television channel, Alvi said that “the government could consider making a declaration of amnesty [for the people] who forgo their TTP ideology and want to come with the intention of adhering to the Pakistani Constitution.” While the president took no names, he further went on to state that a reason for this consideration lays on the fact that the country cannot “fully disown the however many thousand Pakistanis who are abroad.” This is a stark difference in Islamabad’s narrative that has blamed New Delhi’s involvement with the TTP for terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Connoting the presence of Pakistanis among the ranks of the militant group will not only bode well with the international community but may also jeopardize the country’s relationship with China. The TTP have targeted Chinese nationals in Pakistan during their recent terror attacks – China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, narrowly escaped an attack by the TTP in April at the Serena Hotel in Quetta.
Moreover, hundreds of parents who lost their children in the brutal Army Public School attack that took place in 2014 are still awaiting justice. The Peshawar massacre was claimed by the TTP, following which the civil and military leadership launched the National Action Plan that led to largely destroying the group’s command and control structure. Any hint of providing conditional amnesty will make many of these parents’ loose trust in the country’s justice system as militants would be exempted from prosecution regarding all their crimes and without any preconditions.
The government is in talks with the Afghan Taliban who have assured Islamabad of taking actions against the TTP. The president should focus on this process than giving statements that could cost the country’s national security. Failure to punish perpetrators deforms the authority of law.