Split in TTP on Negotiation Issue
By Zaheerul Hassan
As results of elections 2013, formulation of newly elected governments has almost been completed. Political and military leaderships under the constitution of Pakistan believe in peace process with Taliban. In this regard, PML (N) and PTI have promised in their election campaigns that both parties will carry out negotiations with local Taliban for establishing permanent peace.
But ambitions of newly elected government received a great setback when on early morning of 29 May 2013; U.S. Drone Strike killed four men in Pakistani Tribal area near North Waziristan.
According to Pakistani officials, one of those killed in the strike was Wali ur Rehman, the number two commander of Pakistani Taliban. But, since couple of day’s rumors of having differences between deceased Wali and Hakimullah were on peak in TTP circles. The TTP commanders having close ties with kimullah Mehsud started considering Wali as rival of their number 1.
Actually, Waliur Rehman was not the only one who advocated talks with the rulers but there are others local Taliban groups operating in the FATA who have the desire of coming down from the mountains.
Anyhow, despite Pakistani government of condemning drone attack, TTP spokesman has denied any future talks with the government and threaten to continue with the spreading of militancy.
However, hitting of Wali and TTP announcement of closing the doors of negotiations with the government, have made a crack and visible split within TTP and its sympathizers. The moderate Taliban groups against Hakimullah Mehsud wishes are now in the opinion of saying goodbye to militancy.
TTP chief, Hakimullha is also closely associated with Mangal Bagh and Maulana Fazlullah militant leader of Swat presently sheltered in Afghanistan. Moreover, Maulvi Faqir, former deputy `commander’ along with four accomplices identified as Shahid Umar, Maulana Hakeemullah Bajauri, Maulana Turabi and Fateh of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan from Bajaur, have been arrested by Afghan security forces when they entered into Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in February 2013. Despite Pakistani demand, Afghan government has not handed over of the TTP spokesman Maulvi Faqir and other militants to Pakistan.
Thus, targeting an individual who was interested in negotiations with the government, not handing over Maulvi Faqir, providing shelter to Maulana Fazlullah in Afghanistan, continuation of drone attacks and supporting anti Pakistan elements in Balochistan are very big questions mark over U.S. sincerity in culmination of war on terror. Pakistan bordering Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nooristan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities from where Maulvi Fazl-ullah and his militant group are operating against Pakistan. The attack on Malalah Yousafzai was also been carried out by the militants operating from Afghanistan.
Anyhow, Pakistani foreign office has shown concern over the strike and issued the statement, “Drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law”.
It is the first drone attack after election May 11, 2013. Notably, Pakistani Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif, PPP, PTI winner of KPK (Northern western province of Pakistan) and other leading political parties have repeatedly declared the drone attack counterproductive. The newly elected political parties are determined to end the drone attacks, and have held out the prospect of peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
CIA launched drone strike comes six days after President Barack Obama speech, in which he promised to close down the operation in Afghanistan by 2014 and vowed to rein in the use of drone strikes. According to the carefully calculated data by Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates 369 total CIA launched drone strikes in Pakistan from 2004-13, of which 312 occurred under Obama’s direction. In these attacks till today (May 29, 2013) between 2,545 and 3,537 people were killed, 417-851 of which are civilians, and 168-197 of which are children.
On 9 May 2013, Peshawar High court has declared that US drone strikes in the tribal belt are illegal, inhuman and the sovereignty of the country. The court has directed the government to move a resolution against the attacks in the United Nations. The court urged, “If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US”. The High Court issued the verdict against the strikes by CIA-operated spy planes in response to four petitions that contended the attacks killed civilians and caused “collateral damage”.
In terms of finical and lives, Pakistan has suffered with a closely losses from September 11,20O1, to date. As per media reports, country’s supreme Intelligence agencies while defending a petition in the Supreme Court stated that Pakistan has lost 49,000 lives. As per their statics, more than 24,000 people including civilians and elements of security forces have been killed in terrorist attacks during the period between 2001 and 2008. Another 25,000-plus people died during military operations against Taliban insurgents in tribal regions since 2008.
Attorney’ General of Pakistan report also confirms that armed forces have suffered 15,681 casualties while fighting Taliban militants in the tribal areas. Moreover, due to foreign sponsored militant, 5,152 civilians have been killed and 5,678 injured in bomb blasts and suicide attacks since 2008. Similarly, 3,051 insurgents were killed and 1,228 wounded in security operations during the same period.
The report further stated that 235 suicide hits, 9,257 rocket attacks and 4,256 bomb explosions in the last five years. More than 200 members of tribal peace committees, or Lashkars, including volunteers and chieftains, were also killed and 275 wounded in targeted attacks in the last three years. TTP insurgents also destroyed 1,030 schools and colleges were destroyed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from 2009 to 2013.
On 6 June, 2013 Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while talking to the journalists’ stated that war on terror and sectarian problems has to be exterminated from the society. He very rightly acknowledges that certain states are involved in militancy of FATA and Baluchistan. He urged that newly elected government and its agencies will take steps of stopping foreign funding to the militant groups operating in the country.
In fact, all political parties, military brass should join hands one point agenda i.e. “no more sympathy for anti-state elements and militants” . Moreover, Pakistan has to fight against external dangers constitute a real existential threat to the country. The puppet government headed by Karazai is openly supporting militancy in Pakistan. Therefore, there is dire need to remain vigilant against the evil designs of the forces arraigned against us.
The US and its 40-odd allies failed in Afghanistan, having fought for 10 years but remained successful in creating instability and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. In this connection India and Afghanistan are supporting TTP and militants of Baluchistan. Their objectives are to force Pakistani to forego with the Gas pipeline project, not letting down Pak-China to continue work on Silk route and Gawadar Port. The US feels frustrated at the looming failure of its designs against China because its adventure in Afghanistan fell through and is trying to take its frustration on Pakistan. We have to squarely confront these forces and given the sincerity of purpose can ward off the danger.
In short Pakistan should adoptee twin strategies: to achieve a peaceful settlement through talks with the local Taliban, who want to live peacefully under the constitution and, secondly, take actions against those who are involved in anti-state activities.
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