The return of TTP?

Still unrepentant and unreformed  

Terrorist incidents in KP have started multiplying.  JUI(F) chief Fazlur Rehman says that local administration and police in southern districts of the province had become powerless as armed people were ruling those areas. In North Waziristan thousands of residents blocked roads and observed a shutter-down strike as part of a ‘protest movement’ launched three weeks ago against targeted killings. The Pakistan-Afghanistan trade artery was blocked at Ghulam Khan area in North Waziristan by tribal people protesting against the spurt in militancy. After the rise of attacks in south KP, things have started deteriorating in the north also where peace had been greatly restored and tourism started to flourish in recent years. Early this month four persons were killed in gun attack on a PTI MPA in Lower Dir. In Swat a tribal jirga had to be assembled to secure the release of a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), who was injured in a clash with militants and was being held by them.

This raises serious questions. Are the TTP militants being allowed to return as a result of some agreement or have they penetrated the tribal areas illegally? Last month the military secured the nod of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security for peace talks with the banned TTP. The lawmakers were told by the military and intelligence officials that the talks were being held for “strengthening regional and internal peace”. “It is an opportunity for bringing the conflict to an end,” the political leadership was told. While allowing the talks the committee did not permit the negotiating team to commit to an agreement on its own. It was clarified that the entire process would be monitored by the Oversight Committee of the Parliament. This required that the committee be consulted before brokering an agreement with the TTP. There is a need to clarify if the TTP was required to renounce militancy, surrender weapons and abide by the constitution and the laws of the country. The incidents indicate that the TTP still remains unrepentant and is bent upon wrecking internal peace. The TTP must not be allowed to initiate another spell of terror and bloodshed in the country. Parliament too needs to take a firm stand on the issue. It is no wisdom to compromise Pakistan’s hard-won dominance and sovereignty for a short term peace.

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