Why does TTP want peace talks?

Posted by Admin On Thursday, 13 February 2014 0 comments
EVEN in the best-case scenario of government-Taliban talks succeeding, would the Taliban fighter give up violence to go back to his old calling of madressah teacher, mosque imam, truck driver or small-time criminal? Now that negotiators are flying in to talk to him and every word by his spokesman is being analysed and he finds himself in a position to demand to speak to the prime minister or chief of army staff directly, the stature of his organisation has been raised to that of a national level one.
If he were to sign a peace agreement and go home, he’ll not even be given a chair by the constable in his village. Why would he want to give up all that money, which enables him to buy fancy SUVs, guns and rocket launchers?
Yes, when the pressure increases, he’s on the run, remittances get delayed and there are casualties in his ranks. But as soon as he has time to replenish his supplies and re-establish contacts with his financiers, his trigger finger starts to feel itchy.
This scenario has repeated itself half a dozen times since we started to negotiate in 2004. Will it be different this time? Despite this we go into appeasement mode simply to postpone an all-out war.
But is the only answer an operation in North Waziristan? This single-solution strategy is not understandable, since the government is doing precious little in any other field. While we are waiting for the mighty counterterrorism strategy to be implemented, everything seems to be on hold and the government continues to be in a reactive mode. If it can’t agree on a grand strategy it can at least announce an action plan which encompasses obvious things that need to be done so that society and the government machinery know what they have to do in this war against extremism.
For instance, they could start with doing the following.
• Adopt a zero tolerance approach after each blast. Constitute dedicated teams with not more than four to five cases per team to see the case through to trial and conviction. Currently, law enforcement is losing track of cases. These special teams of provincial police should be monitored by the interior minister personally, and periodically by the prime minister to show that he is leading the war from the front and also to ensure accountability for the law enforcement agencies.
• The tribal area administration needs to be rebuilt post haste. The prime minister should apply himself to this important facet of the war. Extremists have demolished the administrative structure to give them the liberty of action. Unless the government’s writ is re-established, extremists will retain the initiative.
• Currently, district police in most provinces consider extremism the responsibility of the federal government and let extremists be, as long as they are not active in their district. This must stop. The regular police have to be held accountable to ensure the use of the preventive powers given to them under the anti-terrorism laws.
• Taking up seriously matters with so-called ‘friendly’ countries that are believed by many to finance extremists, is essential. The hypocrisy of feting and giving a special welcome to leaders of countries, where our leaders have potential for possible refuge, but which are seen as financing extremists, must stop. Getting funds from these rich countries may be a good reason to respect their leaders, but if there is no country, what use are these funds going to be, except to enrich our leaders and provide them an exile option.
• The potential of squeezing the finances of extremists is underestimated. One never hears of prosecution of banks, hundi agents, etc. Fundraising by banned parties needs to be confronted.
• In the long run, job creation schemes need to be started in KP, south and central Punjab, parts of Karachi; areas known to be bastions of extremists. Countries which profess to be friendly and want to help in this war should be asked to help in schemes of job creation.
• Political affiliation with parties which are known to indulge in terrorism, including against other sects, should severed.
• Madressahs must be brought into the mainstream. Unless the state can control and regulate what is taught here, we can never become a nation. Intelligence penetration and watch, followed by action is required.
• Without an effective judge and witness protection programme, how can the existing rickety criminal justice system even begin to function?
These are just a few of the basic actions that need to be started immediately and highlighted, without waiting for talks or the birth of a security plan.


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