Talks the only solution

Maulvi Faqir MuhammadThe disclosure of Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, the Tehrik-i-Taliban leader in Bajaur Agency that the TTP and the government are in negotiation with each other to work out a peace deal has raised expectations in the people of Pakistan.

Islamabad’s changed stance towards the US after the Salalah attack, seems to have led the Pakistani Taliban to conclude that it was time the TTP and the Pakistani state joined hands. The people will now expect to feel a sense of relief from terrorists who have been wreaking havoc in their daily lives. It may be that the government-TTP peace talks are one reason there have not been any terrorist attacks in the country for some time past, providing justification for this approach. These talks are in line with the policy directive given by the All Parties’ Conference and Parliament, and is an imitation of the American strategy to engage the Taliban in talks in Afghanistan.

Maulvi Faqir has further stated that the Pakistan authorities have released from their custody 145 members of the TTP to meet its condition. The timing of this release indicates that it was a condition set by the Taliban to desist from creating unrest. And in case an agreement is reached for Bajaur Agency, he said, it would serve as a role model and similar process of negotiations would be initiated in Swat and Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan agencies to install peace there.

Nothing would be more welcome than establishing peace in the country – if this effort succeeds. Reaching a lasting understanding with the militant Taliban is not an easy job, though. Nevertheless, all efforts must be made to work out a modus vivendi if in this way lives can be saved. This will constitute a first step in the process of recovering from the after effects of President Musharraf’s acquiescence to join the War on Terror. A serious fall-out for Pakistan of this alliance with the US was the enmity of Afghan resistance and the Pashtuns living in Pakistan’s Fata region, who were sympathetic to their tribesmen across the border.

Prime Minister Gilani declined either to confirm or deny contacts with the TTP, but said that talks were a continuing process. Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s expression of thanks to the Taliban for not disturbing peace during Muharram has prompted JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman to remark that “something is afoot”. The sacrifices Pakistan has made for this war, in blood and in material losses, has bought the nation to it’s knees. We need peace and we need stability. We can only hope that both sides have entered this deal with good and honest intentions and will respect the sanctity of the State as a result. – Nation