Fri, 19 Aug 2022

Washington [US], July 3 (ANI): Amid the ebb and flow of political order in the Pashtun belt, the Pakistani army is counting on Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) to carry the dirty work of muffling secular and nationalist struggles, primarily spearheaded by National Democratic Movement (NDM) and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

Senge Sering, President of Gilgit Baltistan Institute in Washington, writing in Baltimore Post-Examiner said that the Pakistani military's unpromising tryst continues with the TTP, though the establishment initiated a major crackdown on the organization for massacring 132 students of a military-run school in 2014.

Two weeks ago, four members of the Youth of Waziristan became victims of terrorism. The Pashtuns are critical of military-militant collusion and resultant damage to the secular fabric. Mohsin Dawar, a Pakistani parliamentarian representing NDM, while referring to this incident called the peace talks with TTP futile with a disastrous impact on the tribal culture, reported Sering.

The military establishment foresees NDM and PTM launching a region-wide protest against the armistice agreement with TTP. Ali Wazir, the prominent PTM leader and parliamentarian from South Waziristan, remains a formidable challenge to Pakistan's policy of employing terrorism for strategic benefits in Afghanistan.

In 2020, Wazir was framed and arrested for a purported hate speech crime. This is a cruel joke on a person who has dedicated an entire life to opposing extremism, hatred and bigotry. Many see the military's hand in his incarceration which could be protracted to create a much-needed breathing space for TTP in the tribal districts, reported Baltimore Post-Examiner.

Past results show that conditional negotiations like these produce short-lived peace and often favor TTP's expansion. In return for no (or fewer) attacks on its soldiers, army generals will surrender the safety and wellbeing of TTP's political opponents as well as the freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities.

Studies show that TTP sanctions female education and necessitates forced marriages of minor girls in the areas they control. They also carry out attacks on artists and musicians in the name of enforcing Islamic laws, reported Sering.

On June 24, TTP released an official statement echoing its pledge to bring Pakistan under Sharia. The statement confirmed the fears of many Pashtun leaders since TTP rebuffed the precondition of surrendering weapons for talks.

While calling the Pakistani government and military western slaves, TTP also declined to submit to the constitution. Left with no wiggle room, the cash-strapped military generals will most likely follow through with the deal, said Sering.

At this juncture, a majority would place a wager on the dwindling ruling coalition of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to chime in, since they are desperate to preserve the fragile nexus with the military.

Moreover, the Taliban's return to power is profiting both its long-standing allies and new friends. According to a recent UN report, the Al-Qaida (AQ) is able to reclaim safe havens in Afghanistan in the wake of Ayman al-Zawahiri's growing bonhomie with the Taliban's head, Hebatullah Akhundzada.

Taliban regime has also enlisted several UN-proscribed terrorists for the executive and high-ranking ministerial portfolios. The AQ is expected to join forces with the Pakistan-backed Haqqani Network to transform Afghanistan into the once-famed epicenter of terrorism.

With a new lease on life, the Afghan Taliban is leveraged to mediate a truce between its Pakistani counterpart, the TTP and the Pakistani military.

Both Taliban and TTP desire to see Pakistan become a Sharia state and consider military establishment a major obstacle in their quest. Amidst the resurgence, TTP has restored contacts with the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), which is a growing concern for the military.

This is the absolute worst time to hand huge swaths of land to TTP and AQ especially when FATF is espoused to remove Pakistan from the grey list. Such myopic and malevolent tactics will only lead to large-scale ethnic violence and anarchy in the country. A deal with TTP, which has no intentions to shun the guns, is immature and leaves an entire region to the mercy of an international terrorist network, reported Baltimore Post-Examiner. (ANI)

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