The Army’s talks with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have remained shrouded in secrecy. What had perturbed many was the TTP’s demand to undo the merger of FATA with KP which had been effected through a constitutional amendment. For others in KP who had opposed the TTP and were on the hit list of the terrorist network any possibility of general amnesty for the TTP was a perturbing idea. While the PML(N) was averse to meddling in security affairs, some of the coalition partners, particularly the PPP, insisted that Parliament must be taken on board on the issue of talks.
In June a meeting on national security attended by the civil and military leadership, decided that the talks with the proscribed TTP would be held only under the framework of the Constitution. It was also decided that an in-camera briefing would be held on the matter and later the prime minister would take Parliament into confidence. However secrecy continues to prevail regarding agreements reached with the terrorist network. A number of incidents led to conjectures that the TTP had been offered safe passage back to Pakistan from Afghanistan in exchange for unspecified measures to be taken by the militant network.
In July Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed that local administration and police in southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had become “powerless” as armed people were “ruling” those areas. In Lower Dir a vehicle carrying a PTI MPA was fired at, injuring the lawmaker seriously while killing four of his companions. In Swat, which had passed through a nightmare during the takeover by the TTP, there were protest rallies across the district against the recent wave of militancy. The ISPR however dismissed the reports as grossly exaggerated and misleading.
Recently terrorist attacks have taken place in Swat, Mardan, North Waziristan South Waziristan and parts of Balochistan, like Harnai, bordering Afghanistan. Questions therefore continue to be raised about the ongoing negotiations with the TTP. Expressing unhappiness over terrorist activity in Swat, Supreme Court puisne judge Mr Justice Qazi Faez Isa has expressed surprise over negotiations with being held with terrorists and wondered what was being offered to them and by whom. There is a need for transparency in dealings with the TTP to avoid doubts and suspicions.