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Sunday June 16, 2024

End to ceasefire

By Editorial Board
December 12, 2021

It was not entirely unexpected. If numerous agreements with various militant groups were any guide, this was bound to happen. The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) has announced that it will not extend the month-long ceasefire deal negotiated with the government of Pakistan. That this ceasefire lasted for a month was a surprise for many observers who had reservations about this ceasefire from the word go. In the past 20 years or so we have witnessed successive governments in Pakistan initiate talks with the militants and reach a ‘peace deal’ of sorts – but each time the militants rescind their own agreement or an offshoot emerges that retracts the deal. The latest withdrawal from the ceasefire by the TTP is a major setback to the government’s claims. Perhaps the road to peace agreements needs to be followed in a more careful manner.

The TTP has developed an identity since its formation as a dreaded outfit that wages wars against the state and its people relentlessly. And this has been going on for over a decade without any noticeable change in the TTP’s attitude. The citizens of Pakistan have experienced countless major attacks on civilians and on Pakistani security forces alike. The TTP has a history of nearly 15 years that cannot be erased from the memory of this nation. From the APS attack in 2014 to making videos with severed heads of victims, the tale is too gory to recount.

Now the TTP has accused the state of Pakistan in a statement that says that the Pakistan government failed to honour the decisions of the ceasefire that stipulated the release of their fighters. The agreement contained six significant points that the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ – or the Afghan Taliban in simpler words – had facilitated. The agreement had clearly mentioned the role of the new government in Afghanistan as a mediator that would supervise the next course of action and fulfilment of demands by each side. The government was supposed to release over 100 imprisoned ‘Mujahideen’ and hand them over to the TTP. The path to an absolute implementation of this agreement was fraught as many observers had pointed out when the agreement became known. In the meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban have distanced themselves from the TTP and have refuted any claims made by the TTP of being affiliated with the Afghan Taliban. Now, after the end of the ceasefire once again the TTP leadership has called on its fighters to be ready for a resumption of attacks. The developing story appears to be grim and the government’s lax attitude towards various militant outfits has once again put the country in a precarious situation.