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Thursday January 26, 2023

TTP threat

By Editorial Board
December 02, 2022

There is little ambiguity left -- if there were any to begin with -- that the TTP is back and ready to launch attacks at will, what with Wednesday's attack in Quetta, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, that killed four persons including one policeman and three civilians while injuring 26 people. The attack follows an open declaration by the TTP that it is ending its ceasefire with the Pakistan state; the orders have clearly been quickly followed. In reality, the ceasefire that has been spoken of never really existed, and attacks by the TTP continued even during its so-called existence. However, the end of the ceasefire indicates a new threat. The policemen in Quetta, whose truck was hit apparently by a suicide bomber traveling in a rickshaw, were out to safeguard polio workers doing their rounds. At the same time, there has also been conflict between militants and the Pakistan security forces in North Waziristan. The TTP seems to be on the warpath as it has indeed been for months, accelerating its activities in Dir, Swat, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and other areas of the country.

The government is taking notice but saying it will have the situation under control, with Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah acknowledging that the rise in terror activities is alarming but claiming that things will not spiral out of control. The fact is that the National Action Plan worked out in 2015 immediately after the APS attack was never quite consolidated upon. The Plan, intended to stop terrorism in its tracks was signed up on by all major parties and military heads. The failure to follow up on it has now led to yet another state of mayhem. We have seen negotiations again and again – and again and again we have seen promises broken by the TTP and more bloodshed and violence across our country.

There is also the Afghan Taliban question, something the interior minister has alluded to, saying the involvement of TTP militants inside Pakistan should be a matter of concern for the Afghan Taliban and that the TTP enjoys facilities in Afghanistan. This problem then has to be treated at both the local and the regional one and must be solved as quickly as possible if we are to avoid spiraling into another crisis at a time when attention remains focused on political maneuvering. Militant groups mushroom not by controlling territory but by recruiting followers and spreading their ideology. Tackling their hateful ideology should have been a priority for the Pakistani state -- as spelt out by the National Action Plan. After every major attack there are promises that we will not tolerate militancy any longer. Those vows are quickly forgotten and the cowardly status quo is maintained. This all must change if Pakistan is to avoid going back to the days of terror.

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