After Imran Khan’s talks with Tehreek-i-Taliban remarks, Pakistan minister says check background
A Pakistan minister has defended Prime Minister Imran Khan after he said that his government is holding talks with some groups of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), sparking criticism. In an interview with a Turkish news channel, Imran Khan said that the Pakistan government holding talks with some groups of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to ask them to lay down their weapons and make them agree to adhere to the country's constitution. "There are different groups which form the TTP and some of them want to talk to our government for peace. So, we are in talks with them. It's a reconciliation process," Khan said during an interview with the TRT World on Friday.
Khan said he is expecting a deal to come out of the talks but added that nothing is certain. He said dialogue was the only solution and is willing to “forgive” the TTP if an agreement is reached.
On Friday, Pakistan federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that it is important that the "background of [the statement] is presented before you", reported Samaa TV. "The state of Pakistan has gone through a river of fire and blood. We have sacrificed thousands of people. As a result of these sacrifices, we have defeated terrorist organisations like al Qaeda on the one hand and eliminated India's sinister designs on the other," Chaudhry said in a video statement on Friday night.
According to Samaa TV, he also stressed that there were people who had failed to honour their allegiance with the state of Pakistan under "certain circumstances" but now they wanted to return to honour this allegiance. Before Imran Khan’s remarks on the banned group, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi said last month that they could give amnesty to some TTP members if they are not involved with the armed group and don't engage in criminal activities.
TTP leader Mufti Wali Noor Mehsud, in an interview with Japanese media outlet Mainichi Shimbun recently, welcomed the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan and said that "we are hopeful for a strong relationship between the two of us".
According to data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, terror attacks in Pakistan have risen ever since the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan. Pakistan saw at least 35 terror attacks that killed 52 civilians in August alone, the highest since February 2017, and most of these attacks have been attributed to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an offshoot terror outfit of the Taliban
The TTP, also called the ‘Pakistani Taliban’, has said it wants to overthrow the government in Islamabad through a violent military campaign against the state. It maintains ties with several other terror outfits, including but not limited to al Qaeda. According to experts, this fringe militant group was “emboldened further by what happened in Afghanistan”. Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert at the United States Institute of Peace, said Islamabad is concerned about the re-emergence of the Pakistani Taliban threat even though Pakistan is not talking about it openly.
“The terrorist group had already been growing stronger much before the situation in Afghanistan with splinter groups merging over the past year or so,” Umar Karim, a visiting fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, told Bloomberg.
Reports have said that the frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban have also raised concerns about the security and safety of Chinese projects in the country. Global Times reported that analysts have warned that TTP may continue its attacks in Pakistan and cause damage to China's projects and personnel in the country.
(With agency inputs)