close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
January 14, 2013

No peace deal between military and militants

 
January 14, 2013

ISLAMABAD: While the military authorities have refuted rumours of having struck a clandestine peace deal with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, it was Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a pro-government “good Taliban leader” from North Waziristan who actually persuaded the TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud to direct his militia not to target the Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan, in accordance with a 2006 military-militants peace contract.
Several international news agencies have reported while citing a pamphlet released by Hakimullah Mehsud that the Pakistani Taliban and the military authorities have cut a clandestine deal after which the TTP chief has informed his followers and local people in North Waziristan of his decision by issuing a pamphlet inscribed with the message. He has ordered his fighters through the pamphlet to stop attacking the Pakistani forces in North Waziristan and concentrate on targeting the Nato forces in Afghanistan instead. However, the ceasefire does not apply to the rest of the country, where there are often fierce clashes between the military and militants.
Thousands of Pakistani soldiers are stationed in North Waziristan -- often described as a safe haven for al-Qaeda and Haqqani militant network. Despite repeated demands by Washington to uproot the al-Qaeda network, the Pakistan establishment has refused to launch a military operation in North Waziristan. After killing Bashir Ahmad Bilour last month in Peshawar, Hakimullah Mehsud had offered the Pakistani authorities to broker a peace deal, provided the government injects teachings of Islam in the Constitution and comes out of the ‘US slavery’. But Hakimullah’s unexpected orders not to attack the Pakistani security forces is quite intriguing because he had vowed in his December 28, 2012 video message that a ceasefire with the authorities was out of the question unless his preconditions were accepted.
Hakimullah Mehsud said in his 40-minute video: “We believe in dialogue

but it should not be frivolous. Asking us to lay down arms is a joke. The Pakistani Taliban would take direction from the Afghan Taliban and Mulla Mohammed Omar, on how to react to the US drawdown in Afghanistan. We are Afghan Taliban and Afghan Taliban are us. We are with them and al-Qaeda and willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda”, he had added.
Following the TTP’s truce offer, the media had reported that neither the military nor the government was in a mood to concede to the TTP demands for a deal, mainly because they were tantamount to surrendering the state authority to the militants. A subsequent January 4, 2013 meeting of the corps commanders, presided over by General Ashfaq Kayani, rejected the conditional talks with the Pakistani Taliban and linked the possibility of parleys to laying down of arms and surrendering to the state authority.
The military top brass was of the view that no negotiations could be held with those challenging the writ of the state. The meeting was followed by media reports of a paradigm shift in the Pakistan Army’s doctrine -- recognising the homegrown militancy as the biggest threat to national security.
A day after the corps commanders meeting, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan sought guarantees from the military for any peace dialogue with the government, adding that the political leadership has no powers. “Although, we have not yet received a response from any quarter to our dialogue offer, our leadership still hopes for a positive reply. The Taliban leadership believes that the army’s doctrine was aimed at us when they say that they face internal threat or threats from western borders. That is why we will look for the army’s assurance,” Ehsanullah said on January 5. But he had ruled out any ceasefire with the government.
However, in a surprise gesture of goodwill towards the Pakistan Army, with none of his preconditions for talks having been accepted by the government, Hakimullah directed his fighters to stop attacking the Pakistani troops in North Waziristan. This led to questions if the TTP had agreed to the khaki leadership’s condition of laying down arms and surrendering to the state before holding peace parleys, or the two sides had struck a secret deal, making the TTP stop targeting the Pakistani troops.
But informed sources in the security establishment rule out both the possibilities, saying the military would never negotiate with those who are beheading Pakistani soldiers. A khaki official in Rawalpndi reminded that the TTP had beheaded 22 Levis personnel on December 27, 2012 shortly after having offered a peace deal. He refuted reports of a secret military-militants pact and cited [to substantiate his claim] the January 13 killing of 15 soldiers of Pakistan Army in the Miramshah area of North Waziristan in a TTP-sponsored bomb attack.
Intriguingly, the security forces convoy was attacked in North Waziristan where Hakimullah has supposedly ordered his henchmen not to attack the Pakistani troops.
Approached for comments, some tribal sources in Waziristan said that Hakimullah has actually ordered his fighters to abide by the 2006 peace accord which was struck by Gul Bahadur with the military for maintenance of law and order in the North Waziristan area.
They said that Gul Bahadur, the pro-government “good Taliban” who is known for hosting al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked foreign militants and the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, had frequently served as the chief negotiator in the past between the military and the militants. Bahadur rose to fame in 2005, when a military operation was launched in North Waziristan to expel foreign militants. But in June 2006, Bahadur entered into a ceasefire with the authorities that culminated in the September 2006 North Waziristan peace pact between the military and militants.
However, Bahadur’s most recent efforts which made Hakimullah direct his militia not to target the Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan seem to have fizzled out at the very outset, after the killing of 15 soldiers in North Waziristan.