ISLAMABAD: In a high-level meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, the top political and military leadership discussed the parameters for the govt-TTP talks, asking for the involvement of Parliament.
They sought the TTP to surrender and accept the Constitution of Pakistan to get amnesty, which however will not be available to the hardcore terrorists involved in heinous crimes. With the exception of the PTM, there was a consensus among all thosepresent there that Pakistan should engage with the Taliban-led Afghan government.
The high-level meeting was attended by all the important members of parliament from both sides of the political divide as well as the army chief and the DG ISI, representing the military establishment. Prime Minister Imran Khan was conspicuously absent from this important meeting and it irritated quite a few opposition leaders, who also voiced their anger.
The issue of govt-TTP talks was the most important point of discussion during the meeting. The military side briefed the political elite about the initiation of these talks and put a few questions before the parliamentary leadership to get to know their view of the parameters required to be set for a possible deal with the proscribed TTP.
Politicians from both sides of the political divide, including even some federal ministers, sought that the issue be placed before parliament for discussion and to set the conditions for such a deal.
However, what was gathered by sources from the briefing of the military side and the questions and speeches of the political leadership reflects that there was no opposition to talks with TTP. There was almost an agreement that the TTP should surrender and accept the Constitution of the country but there would no amnesty for the hardcore involved in heinous terrorist activities.
According to a ministerial source, who while confirming the reported temporary ceasefire, said that the vast majority of the TTP are not the hardcore and therefore they would be given the chance to surrender and accept the writ of the government and the Constitution as is the case in Balochistan for members of Baloch separatist and terrorist groups.
On the issue of Afghanistan, it was only the PTM representative who was against any engagement with the Taliban government in Kabul. Others agreed with the government’s policy of engaging with the Taliban government, asking them to have an inclusive government but at the same time impressing upon the world community not to leave alone and isolate the victors of Kabul.
There was also an agreement that Pakistan should officially recognize the Taliban government only when the regional countries do so because otherwise it would neither benefit Kabul nor Islamabad. It was also said that Afghanistan needs humanitarian aid and it is the responsibility of the world community to save the country and its population from the effects of a possible economic meltdown.
For a leading opposition voice, who had held important positions in the government in the past, there was nothing newsworthy in the six hours long meeting. It was all already there in the media. In view of a federal minister, it was a meeting that had bound everyone present there to listen to long boring speeches from many people.