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EditorialTTP's troubled truce

TTP’s troubled truce

The recent announcement of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a big challenge for the newly-appointed army, as the banned group has announced ending the ceasefire and intends to launch major attacks across Pakistan. According to a statement released by the militant group, in retaliation for the attacks being carried out by the Pakistan Army and the intelligence agencies, the terrorist organization has announced that there is no truce between the two parties anymore. Earlier this year, the Taliban once again entered the Swat region and started carrying out attacks in the northern regions of Pakistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan became the first targets. On November 16, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack carried out on a police patrol in Lakki Marwat. In this attack, six policemen lost their lives. In just a month of October, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, 65 attacks were carried out in various areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and at least 98 people were killed and 5 wounded.

Like their Afghan counterpart, the TTP also demands the implementation of hardline Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. Moreover, they demand a reversal of the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In June, the government of Pakistan and the TTP resorted to a ceasefire, which was not welcomed by the general public. However, the TTP claims that they did not sabotage the peace process; the government did, and now the people will face the consequences.  The TTP does not believe in peace talks, and even if the government accepts their demands, they come up with another set of demands. It is a never-ending process.

Since the Afghan Taliban took over and released many high-profile terrorists belonging to the TTP last year in August, the problem has started worsening. In previous years, the security agencies in the country fought long and hard to vanquish this threat. However, in the process of the Afghan Taliban taking over Pakistan’s western neighbour, the threat of terrorism increased. The arrival of the Taliban in Swat and various attacks taking place in KPK and Balochistan are testaments to the loosening security situation.

Several militaries and police personnel lost their lives protecting the country from the Taliban, and if they make good on their recent statement, all would have been in vain. Pakistan needs to crush this threat once and for all. Currently, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar is in Afghanistan for a round of talks with the Taliban-led Afghan government. Her visit and this statement coincided with each other. Although the talks are structured around bilateral trade and aid to Afghanistan, the representatives of Pakistan must talk to the Afghan Taliban regarding the TTP issue. Although the Afghan Taliban claims that they do not condone TTP’s activities, the militant organization has close ties to its Afghan counterpart. They want to establish the same rules as the Afghan Taliban have implemented in Afghanistan. It is also a fact that the TTP has been given a free hand to operate from across the border, and the exchange of fire at border places has become routine.

TTP’s statement is an open threat against the government of Pakistan, the security agencies, and the people. The country is already facing political and economic issues, and people do not need another unwanted problem. The security situation must be tightened, and the problem should be nipped in the bud before the citizens of Pakistan are transported back to the dim and gloomy days of the 2010s when every nook and corner of the country had witnessed a suicide bomb attack.

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