Push for mini peace deals with rebel groups

March 11, 2014 - 12:32:17 am
ISLAMABAD: The federal government of Pakistan is quietly pushing for peace deals with individual militant groups after some members of its peace committee have concluded that reaching an ‘all inclusive agreement’ with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may not be possible.

At least two members of the committee, who wished not to be named, said that they expect the government to reach an understanding only with parts of TTP.

“Realistically speaking, it is not possible to strike a peace deal with all groups working under the TTP umbrella,” said a member.

He pointed out that the government was in the process of identifying groups which are willing to reconcile.

“The government is using backdoor channels to contact such groups,” said another member.

Efforts to reach out to ‘reconcilable elements’ within the TTP stem from the realisation on the part of the government that the militant group does not exercise full control on all its affiliated outfits.

“Recent terrorist incidents clearly indicate that TTP may only have loose control on these groups,” said the committee member. “Had all the groups been listening to TTP these terrorist attacks would have never have taken place after the ceasefire,” he added. There is also growing concern within the country’s security establishment that the TTP is only ‘buying time’ and may not be interested in a peace deal.       

A senior military official insisted that the Taliban should have condemned attacks in Islamabad’s district courts complex and Khyber Agency instead of merely denying its involvement in its statement.

That is why the army is reluctant about joining the peace committee,” he added. Top military commanders on Friday decided not to become part of the government’s new proposed committee to hold direct talks with the TTP and its affiliates.

However, the committee member maintained that the army might take part in the process if it realised that a deal could be reached with certain groups. 

At the same time, he did not rule out the possibility of a full-scale military offensive against elements which might not enter into the peace deal. Analysts, meanwhile, say time is running out for the government to take a final decision. INTERNEWS