‘No amnesty to killers!’: Religious parties oppose govt-TTP negotiations

Last week, Prime Minister confirmed talks with some fractions of the banned outfit

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Different religious parties have opposed the amnesty proposal by government to the members of banned Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and termed it a betrayal of the blood of thousands of martyrs.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Friday, confirmed in an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT World that talks with some factions of the banned outfit were underway.

After the statement, PTI government saw a serious and anguished backlash on social media platforms.

Meanwhile, many religious parties came out and condemned the PM’s sole decision. Mostly, the religious parties who criticized the government’s idea to open a door for the talks belong to the Barelvi (Sunni) and Shia schools of thought.

“Taliban are involved in the brutal murders of innocent children, women, and army soldiers. The PTI government must shun the idea to pardon them,” said the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza.

The SIC is a conglomerate of different Barelvi organizations. Presiding over a meeting of the SIC here on Monday, Sahibzada Hamid Raza said that Taliban were involved in the martyrdom of Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi and attacks on the shrines of Sufi saints.

He warned the government against making emotional decisions without taking the nation into confidence. “We will resist the government’s decision to give amnesty to killers,” he announced.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) is also vehemently opposing the government’s considerations and has expressed serious concerns about it.

PAT Spokesperson Noorullah Siddiqui said that his party was in shock after hearing that the government considered pardoning those who were involved in the killing of thousands of innocent Pakistanis.

“How the government could even think about it,” he said, adding the ruling party should at least bring the matter to the parliament.

However, President Dr. Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also made statements that the government could announce conditional amnesty for the proscribed group’s members.

Interestingly, two days after the PM announcement, Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressed ignorance about the government initiating talks with the banned TTP.

“Interior Ministry has no role in talks. If they are happening. It is not in my knowledge,” he said on Monday.

The government on Wednesday said it was open to pardoning the banned TTP members if they renounced violence, accepted the writ of the state and committed to the constitution.


Iftikhar Alam is a correspondent writing on religion, politics, agriculture, and energy. He takes people on a rich journey through the culture of Punjab. He tweets @imiftikharalam and can be reached at iftikharalam@live.com.