Talking to TTP? Still?


Reports that the government might have freed dozens of TTP fighters that it previously didn’t agree to, carried in sections of the local press, are cause for very serious concern. Didn’t the previous round of negotiations break down because TTP tried to punch above its weight and approached them as equals alongside the state of Pakistan? And didn’t they end the talks unilaterally when Islamabad refused to entertain demands of enforcing their reading of Sharia law across the country and freeing their prisoners, who had been caught planning and executing acts of terrorism against the country and its people?
The only thing that has happened between then and now is that the enemy has stepped up its attacks and more security personnel are falling in the defense of the motherland than in a long time. Reports of the state still trying to make peace with these militants, if true, beg the obvious question of what could possibly have led it to believe that the door to peace was still open, or that knocking on it again was the sensible thing to do? This paper has always questioned the rationale behind offering the carrot only to those who have not committed any “serious crimes” against the state. For one thing, how will authorities know which militants are relatively ‘cleaner’ than the others except relying on the word of the people who have no problem with lobbing grenades at soldiers and civilians alike? And for another, how does it make sense to let minor criminals walk? The prisoners that have allegedly been released committed crimes serious enough to land them in anti-terror cases, after all, so what justifies whitewashing them now?
There’s no doubt that the state always has the interests of the people at heart, but there’s something to be said about a few top offices deciding, on their own, not to fight with terrorists who brought war and carnage to people’s homes and killed upwards of 80,000 people with reckless abandon, including hundreds and hundreds of innocent children. How, and why, can they be welcomed back into society. There can and should be no question of accommodating anybody who challenged the writ of the state. And there should only be swift and very severe punishment for all those who sent innocent people to early graves in the most horrible way imaginable.