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Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir visited India recently
- Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: The Haqqani network has started its efforts to push the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to negotiate a peace deal with the Pakistan government.


A delegation of Pakistani tribal elders recently met Khalil Haqqani, brother of Sirajudin Haqqani, in Paktia province of eastern Afghanistan and requested him to use his influence to make peace between anti-Pakistan and pro-Pakistan militants in North Waziristan. These elders were worried about mounting pressure from the US on Pakistan to start another operation in North Waziristan. Khalil Haqqani first consulted Sirajudin Haqqani and then sent messages to some TTP leaders not to fight against Pakistani forces.


It is also learnt that the TTP leadership has yet not reached any decision. TTP head Hakimullah Mehsud is reportedly hiding somewhere in the Orakzai area. He is reluctant to trust the Pakistani security establishment but has recently sent a message to JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman that “we can think of making peace with the Pakistan Army but without surrendering.”


Maulana Fazlur Rehman shared this offer with government officials but the government wanted some mandate from opposition parties to restart peace efforts with the TTP. Some elements in TTP do not trust Pakistani security establishment, especially ISI. These disgruntled commanders of TTP are hiding in Kunar province of Afghanistan.


According to some credible sources in the Afghan media these commanders have established contacts with Afghan Intelligence officials. Sources in Kabul have claimed that Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, Hakimullah Mehsud’s deputy, is living in an area close to Asadabad, the headquarters of Kunar province. He recently travelled from Kabul to Delhi. Afghan intelligence arranged a meeting of some local journalists with Faqir Muhammad recently in Asadabad.


He had turned against the Pakistan Army after the drone strikes in Bajaur in 2006. He joined hands with Maulana Fazlullah of Swat and now they are fighting against Pakistan Army in Swat and Bajaur. His fighters recently abducted some children from Bajaur and imprisoned them in Kunar under the supervision of Afghan intelligence.


Maulvi Faqir was also involved in attacks on some Pakistani border posts in Dir. He conducted those attacks from Kunar province where US troops are present in heavy numbers. Maulvi Faqir is opposing a peace deal with Pakistani government while another important TTP commander from South Waziristan, Maulana Waliur Rehman Mehsud, is in favour of such a deal.


Waliur Rehman also supported a peace deal between Shias and Sunnis of Kurram in February 2011 which was brokered by Haqqani Network. Initially TTP opposed the efforts started by Khalil Haqqani because some local TTP commanders in Kurram were involved in crimes like kidnapping for ransom and they were not interested in any peace deal.


Khalil Haqqani used an old confidant from Kurram, Fazal Saeed Haqqani, as a bargaining chip and he parted ways with TTP. Fazal Saeed Haqqani established his own group and expelled all criminals from his area by force.


Pakistani security establishment also helped Fazal Saeed Haqqani and the local elders successfully bargained a peace deal after a decade long bloodshed. According to sources close to Sirajudin Haqqani, Afghan intelligence was interfering in Kurram and has provided arms to different tribes for fighting against each other. When Haqqanis brokered a deal between the local tribes the Afghan intelligence contacted Sirajudin Haqqani and offered him to become part of the peace process initiated by President Hamid Karzai.


This scribe reported in this newspaper on Sunday that Karzai recently approached Sirajudin and even offered him governorship of Paktia. Sirajudin confirmed this information to BBC on Monday evening and said that Afghan intelligence and Americans contacted him many times. His confirmation will strengthen the impression in Pakistan that the US started accusing Haqqani Network of attacking its Embassy in Kabul after Haqqani’s refusal to become part of the peace process initiated by Washington and Kabul.


President Hamid Karzai suspended his talks with Taliban on Saturday and landed in Delhi on Tuesday. His visit to India in the current tense situation will raise many questions in Islamabad where many people accuse India of using Afghan territory to destabilise Balochistan and FATA.


Pakistani establishment is already disturbed over India’s growing influence in Afghanistan and now the reported contacts of Maulvi Faqir Muhammad with India and Karzai’s visit of India will create more misunderstandings between Kabul and Islamabad.


Top government sources in Islamabad have clearly said that Pakistan Army will not conduct any operation in North Waziristan under any foreign pressure because it will create more enemies for Pakistani state in FATA and Afghan intelligence will adopt these enemies of Pakistan as their new sons like they adopted Maulvi Faqir Muhammad.


Many analysts think that Pakistani establishment signed peace deals with Taliban between 2004 and 2009 but there was no positive result and any new peace deal will also fail but many people think otherwise.


They think that most of the peace deals in the past were sabotaged by US drone attacks. These deals were masterminded by security establishment but this time political forces must take the lead.


Any future peace deal between TTP and the Pakistani government could bring dividends only if it is approved by Parliament. Prime Minister Gilani has openly said that he was prepared to talk with Taliban and Haqqani Network but all those who gave him support on September 29 in APC for talking to people in FATA have parted ways within one week.