Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 27 (ANI): The re-emergence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) across the Malakand Division in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has led to disquiet amongst the locals as the province faces law and order challenges on an almost day-to-day basis.

Members of a jirga in Safi tehsil of Mohmand district announced a sit-in outside of Mohmand Rifles gate, against the worsening law and order situation, targeted killing, extortion and enforced disappearances, reported Islam Khabar.

It further stated that the peace march will start from Safi and reach district headquarters, Ghalanai, where the participants would stage a sit-in. The jirga has requested all the elders, political and religious leaders, and students to participate in the protest.

Safi Grand Aman Jirga leader Malik Zahid Khan Safi said that the sit-in would be held against extortion, targeted killing, and enforced disappearances of tribesmen. He demanded the government to ensure immediate recovery of the missing persons, reported Islam Khabar.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Pakistan has increasingly complained of attacks across the border from Afghanistan, an issue that has become a source of diplomatic tension.

Recently, hundreds of protestors gathered at Mingora Bazaar in Swat and the third largest city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to condemn the recent terror incidents and demanded action to stop the resurgence of terrorists in the valley.

The agitators comprised a large number of youths, elders, lawyers, transporters, traders, doctors and students who held placards inscribed with slogans against the terrorists and seeking peace in the terror-stricken valley. Similar protests also took place around this time at Ali Masjid when angry tribesmen staged a protest demonstration and blocked the main Peshawar-Torkham Highway for several hours against the highhandedness of police.

Protesters said they had witnessed the worst terrorism from 2007 to 2009 when the militants challenged the state's writ and caused a lot of bloodshed and fear, taking many lives and destroying businesses and properties, and displacing hundreds of others.

TTP, popularly known as the Pakistani Taliban, recently set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad after the outlawed group reappeared in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swat valley.

Taliban militants reportedly had occupied hilltops of Swat district's Matta subdivision a few months ago which created panic in a number of neighbouring districts, reported The News International.

Initially, both the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Shehbaz Sharif governments kept quiet on the issue. After the issue came to the limelight, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that they were in touch with the Afghan government about the Taliban's appearance in Swat.

For several months, the Shehbaz Sharif government has failed to come up with a plan to deal with the potential resurgence of the outlawed TTP.

Meanwhile, a representative organisation of the Chamkani tribe of Kurram in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province recently gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club and protested against the deteriorated law and order situation in the district.

They said their area was backward and lacked all basic necessities of life, adding that the restoration of peace was a must for the development of the area and for people while demanding the government to take practical and effective steps to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, in August, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Assembly approved an adjournment motion for a detailed discussion, on the "deteriorating law and order situation" in Malakand Division and Waziristan after some opposition lawmakers expressed grave concern.

The adjournment motion read, "A wave of unrest is sweeping across K-P, especially Malakand Division and the merged districts, amid back-to-back incidents of target killing".

The Assembly witnessed a rare consensus as treasury lawmakers supported the opposition's call for discussion on the "precarious situation" following reports of the re-emergence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in some parts of the province.

Opposition Members of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) pointed out that terrorists had regrouped and re-emerged in the Malakand Division, where they had started attacking security forces and killing people in targeted attacks, reported Islam Khabar.

Concerns were expressed over the movement of militants in various parts of the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Malakand Division.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former federal minister Murad Saeed has accused the country's Shahbaz Sharif-led government of being responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in the division.

Talks between the two sides began in October 2021 to seek a political solution to the issue. The talks that were held at the request of the Afghan Taliban led to a one-month ceasefire in November. However, the truce could not last long as differences emerged soon.

The ongoing peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan government reached a stalemate as the outlawed group refused to give in on its demand for the reversal of the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Despite a series of meetings between the two sides in recent weeks to break the impasse, there has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down arms in case of a peace deal.

Meanwhile, the current political instability in Pakistan and the lack of international funding to the Pakistan Army to fight terrorism has made the military less interested in waging war against the TTP, leading to a resurgence of militancy, extortion and terrorism in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The danger is that the longer the TTP continues to operate in KPK, the more likely it will spread to the rest of Pakistan. This is a threat that the Pakistani establishment should be prepared for in the coming days, reported Islam Khabar. (ANI)

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