Dealing with TTP? – 22 Jan 2023

Bilawal’s contention that there won’t be any more talks with the Taliban sounds logical

Non-state actors have always been a nuisance and misery. Likewise, dealing with the fugitive TTP is becoming a policy mystery. The fact is that the government and the state hold divisive briefs while dealing with the terrorists and, of late, have publicly clashed over their respective perceptions. It is no secret that the coalition government is too obscure when it comes to dealing with Afghanistan, and especially the unscrupulous elements who are once again amassing and regrouping inside Pakistan. Some quarters call for a dialogue whereas the civil strata under the Foreign Office has other ideas to sell. This has literally emboldened the TTP cadres who now feel free to operate on both sides of the divide as the non-inclusive Taliban government in Kabul feels too weak to assert itself.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Zardari’s contention that there won’t be any talks with TPP is not a new submission. Rather, he and some others in the government have been furthering the perception that talks with TTP are tantamount to appeasement, and have been a legacy of the previous government. But that is not the case, per se. There is a policy confusion at work, and there isn’t any stated stance over dealing with TTP, besides IS-K and al-Qaeda who too are infringing gradually to make their horrible presence felt by rubbing shoulders with their ideological compatriots and abettors inside Pakistan.

The powerful quarters in the establishment had tried their luck by talking to TTP, and even coming close to a deal wherein it was hoped that Pakistan would walk the Ireland way to overcome the terror fissure. But the adamant attitude on the part of TTP, which demanded concessions that compromise national sovereignty and deface the constitutional spirit, has burnt fingers. This is why Bilawal’s contention that there won’t be any more talks with the Taliban sounds logical. That hands-off approach, nonetheless, would not solve the tirade and the need of the hour is to reach out to Kabul and iron out the odds in a state-centric perspective. Will the FM fly into Kabul to do the needful?

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