Pakistan, Taliban dialogue process has begun, militants ‘halt’ attacks

Pakistan government-TTP talks have kickstarted.
Pakistan government-TTP talks have kickstarted.

Pakistan government and deadly militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have already kick-started dialogue process with militants ‘agreeing to halt attacks’ for some time.

Islamabad, Aug 31/Nationalturk – In a significant development, which can have positive impact on Pakistan’s politics and economy, Pakistan government and deadly militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have kickstarted dialogue process with militants ‘agreeing to halt attacks’ for some time.

“The talks between Pakistan government and Taliban have been held. The talks touched range of issues, including prevention of sectarian violence and snapping of ties with al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ),”  British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted government officials as saying.

Stating that the talks were in progress, they said, “The benefit of dialogue has started trickling down in advance and government had already completed much homework in this regard”.

The officials, however, refused to provide more details and information about talks and benefits it was having.

This is the first time that a senior official of PML-N government has confirmed contacts with the Taliban.

Asked how the fresh dialogue was different from the previous such talks, the official said, “You’ll see the difference.”

‘Govt has persuaded TTP to stop deadly attacks’

The security analysts here believe that Pakistan government has ‘persuaded’ TTP to stop deadly attacks in the country. August 8 suicide bombing at the Quetta Police Lines was the last major attack claimed by the TTP.

BBC also quoted an unnamed  prominent TTP leader as saying that initial round of talks were held on a range of issues, including the cessation of sectarian attacks in Pakistan, and the dissociation of the TTP from more radical groups such al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi involved in sectarian clashes in Pakistan.

He, however, did not disclose anything about people, who were mediating on behalf of the Pakistan government.

‘Killing of TTP’s second-in-command hurt peace process’

Sources said killing of TTP’s second-in-command Waliur Rehman in a US drone strike in tribal area of Pakistan had damaged the peace process. “However, contacts were reestablished with TTP after Pakistan government’s successful damage control efforts”.

Rehman, who was second to Hakimullah Mehsud in TTP hierarchy – died in a missile strike by a US drone in North Waziristan in May this year. After his killing TTP had withdrawn their dialogue offer and blaming Pakistan government for Rehman’s killing.

The TTP say that anti-Pakistan militant groups are under increasing pressure to negotiate a peace pact with the government before the 2014 withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan.

‘Pakistan PM, Army chief favour talks’

BBBC quoted an unnamed Western diplomat in Islamabad as saying that Pakistan PM Nawaz and Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani are on same page about talks with the Taliban. “They agree that peace talks are possible if the militants cease fire and accept country’s Constitution”.

“This is red line the violation of which is not acceptable to both the sides,” he said.

The TTP is already divided over Pakistan government’s dialogue offer. The group sacked the Punjabi Taliban chief, Asmatullah Muavia, earlier this month after he welcomed the prime minister’s offer for talks.

One Taliban commander has already accused him of laying down his cards prematurely.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his speeches has said that country was willing to hold talks with TTP if they eschew violence and accept country’s constitution.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News

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