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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Tread with caution

It is still unclear what prompted the government to unilaterally engage the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in peace talks and strike a ceasefire agreement without taking parliament into confidence. The TTP is a group of militants and the government is giving them undue leverage by striking a ceasefire agreement. The development also negates all the previous claims of the government and military establishment that the TTP was an Indian agent and was being funded by New Delhi. It is no less than a joke and one of the biggest u-turns by the PTI government that it is negotiating with the killers of our soldiers, citizens, and innocent children. Any deal with militants will not be possible unless its conditions are made public and the parliament is taken into confidence. The government needs to exercise extreme caution while dealing with the TTP.

The price ordinary Pakistani civilians and soldiers paid in the struggle against Taliban fighters, is real and high. Reportedly, since Pakistan’s army began moving into the tribal areas along the Afghan border to confront the Pakistani Taliban in 2004, more than 8,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed. On its part, the Pakistan army had also inflicted heavy casualties on the militants who had wreaked carnage in the Army Public School (APS), Peshawar, which prompted the Pakistan army to deal with all militants irrespective of good or bad Taliban.

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Now, the civil-military leadership claims that the back of the terrorists has been broken and only sporadic incidents of terror are happening in the country. Government wants an end to this bloodshed but at what cost. Unfortunately, it was Pakistan’s past regimes that supported the culture of the gun and backed militants in Afghanistan by declaring them as strategic assets. The strategic assets of the past have become an uncontrollable monster now. Without military action and operations against militants and criminals, the country cannot progress. There has to be an end to all this militancy. All stakeholders must be taken into confidence before striking any deal with the TTP. Those militants who are ready to quit violence must be engaged in talks, while those who are not ready to lay down their arms should be eliminated.

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