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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Civil society, HR activists reject PM’s planned deal with TTP

October 14, 2021

Islamabad/Lahore: Civil society, human rights activists organised a demonstration in front of the National Press Club to protest against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announced “reconciliation, forgiveness and peace plan with Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and to show solidarity with APS parents and families.

The protesters were holding placards and shouted slogans to demand justice for the families of terrorism victims. They reminded the government of the agony and grief of APS victims and their families and the loss of 80,000 lives at the hands of terrorists. They demanded that the decision must be placed before the Parliament for discussion.

According to another report, Khawateen Mahaz-e-Amal (Women’s Action Forum - WAF) finds it hard to believe that Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced negotiating a ‘peace deal’ with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) when peace, as concept, policy and strategy, is neither part of the TTP philosophy nor practice. Trained to kill, the TTP only knows violence. It speaks no other language, says a statement issued by the WAF.

The premier might have forgotten them, but the grief of APS killings; the loss of 80,000 lives and agony of the survivors remains fresh in our hearts, along with memories of the TTP rule of terror in Swat and numerous attacks in ex-Fata districts - requiring repeated military operations. Nightmarish images of singer-dancer Shabana (shot six times in her genitals as punishment for what the TTP called an ‘immoral’ lifestyle; a 17-year-old girl’s body pinned to the ground by bearded men as she was publicly, mercilessly flogged by another bearded man; destruction of hundreds of girls’ schools; attacks on schoolgirls like Malala Yousafzai, bravely claiming their constitutional right to education. The very name of Khooni Chowk in Mingora - just one site of countless public beheadings of innocent Pakistanis - bears witness to the TTP’s brutal mindset and modus operandi.

WAF reminds the PM/PTI government that the TTP’s ouster from Swat, after army action, only temporarily contained militancy - but did not change the TTP’s extremist ideology and worldview, or end terrorist activities across Pakistan: bomb blasts in markets, hotels, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples, gurdwaras, police stations, schools, hospitals, courts, buses, rails - all “in the name of Islam”.

The PM is reminded that the TTP’s entire existence, identity and economic viability derives only from terrorism, extremism and militancy, thinly garbed in ‘religiosity’. Hence, why would the TTP accept the PM’s offer of ‘forgiveness, peace, reconciliation and social integration’ (mainstreaming), resulting in the TTP leadership’s loss of face and power among its followers?

While we might not question the PM/PTI government allegations of TTP-claimed terrorist attacks being funded by foreign agencies, they raise serious questions about TTP’s credibility and reliability as a future ally. Given TTP’s links and numerous networks/affiliates, how will the PM ensure that TTP gives up its nexus with hostile foreign agencies after signing a “peace deal” with the PTI government?

The TTP is a mercenary militia - raising funds through violent coercion, targeting those it is paid to kill. How does the PM plan to compensate TTP’s future financial losses? Does the PTI government have the requisite financial and human resources, for doubtful de-radicalisation, skills training, economic sustainability, social integration and mainstreaming?

Would it not be wise to spend Pakistan’s scarce resources on providing shelter, potable water, universal public education, healthcare, family planning,

sewerage, sanitation, public transport, environment conservation, food security, poverty eradication, and access to affordable justice, to all deserving, law-abiding Pakistani citizens, whose well-being is the state’s constitutional responsibility?

Army action entailing a heavy loss of precious lives pushed the TTP underground and out of Pakistan. How would its honourable return as the PM/PTI government’s “friend and ally” affect army morale – especially of our brave jawans and LEAs? The TTP is known to renege on its promises. It declared war against the State, Constitution and institutions of Pakistan. If/when there is yet another failed “peace deal”, how will the PM/PTI government ask our brave jawans to lay down their lives yet again, facing such a treacherous adversary?

Actually, the TTP has already spurned the PM/PTI government’s magnanimous amnesty offer. Is anyone surprised, including the PM/PTI government? The TTP sees this offer as a sign of weakness and surrender, responding with increased terrorist attacks. Terrorism has very serious implications for national, regional and global peace. Such critical decisions regarding the TTP, and similar banned terrorist organisations, must not be taken unilaterally and autocratically by the Imran-led PTI government. This issue must be placed before the Parliament and opened up for public debate, before any decision can be taken, the WAF press statement concluded.