Peace talks between the Pakistan government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan seem to have broken down even before they started.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, enroute to the United Nations were he was supposed to speak against US drone attacks, on Sunday said his government could no longer move ahead with the talks following the bombing on a church in Peshawar.
Sharif told reporters that such incidents did not auger well for negotiations. Nearly 80 people died in the twin bombing which is being described as the worst ever attack on the Christian community in Pakistan. This was not an isolated incident.
Last week, a senior military commander and his aides were killed in an ambush for which a faction of the TTP took credit.
The death of the Major General prompted the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, to break his silence and question the wisdom of the government to hold talks with the TTP at a time when the militant outfit was itself not laying down arms. Kayani said that the army was capable of crushing the TTP and its factions.
But there are many who say that the two attacks have been carried out by splinter groups of the TTP who are opposed to the talks.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan argued that the splinter groups are against peace and that is why they are conducting these attacks in the first place.
On the one side are Pakistan’s rightist parties which include Sharif’s own PML-N party, alongwith the Jamat-e-Ulema Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. They favour talks with the Taliban and giving concessions.