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Saturday October 23, 2021

To pardon or not

September 20, 2021

This refers to the editorial ‘Talking amnesty’ (September 18). The editorial discusses a very sensitive matter and has rightly criticised the president and the foreign minister’s offer to provide the TTP a pardon if it renounces its activities. The TTP’s track record of terrorist attacks, spread over many years, is appalling and offering amnesty after the recent attacks in Dasu and Quetta cannot be appreciated.

The TTP is a banned outfit but it continues to operate by challenging the state’s writ and is bold enough to accept the responsibility of any attack carried out by them. The offer of a pardon would have been more appropriate if the TTP had volunteered itself to give up its activities for good, as was done by the Ferraris in Balochistan. Moreover, the Afghan Taliban have recently released over 700 TTP members from Afghan jails, who are likely to rejoin the movement in Pakistan. If amnesty is granted to the TTP, it might also encourage other militant groups in Pakistan. With the FATF sword hanging over our heads and Afghanistan in crisis, it is not the right time to make such offers. In any case, the fact that the TTP has rejected it, will be viewed with concern by the international community to add to our disadvantage.

Mukhtar Ahmed

Karachi

*****

This refers to the editorial ‘Talking amnesty’ (Sept 18). The idea of amnesty is nothing new and has been given to various kinds of criminals in the past.

It should be remembered that an amnesty is never an ideal solution to the problem since it always involves compromises. However, the offer can be seen purely as a damage-control exercise. It definitely reduces the numerical strength of enemies by winning over the corrigible cases, while leaving the hardened, identified criminals to be dealt with firmly. The offer of amnesty is, thus, not entirely an insensible one.

S R H Hashmi

Karachi