Guarded response: Taliban hint at accepting Saudis as peace brokers

Published: October 10, 2011

Commander of the group says implementation of a peace deal must be ‘guaranteed’ beforehand. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The banned conglomerate of militant groups, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), will seek mediation by countries like Saudi Arabia, if the government offers them peace talks — a top militant leader of the banned outfit said in a ‘cautious’ response to Pakistan’s  earlier decision to open negotiations with the group.

At the All Parties Conference (APC), the country’s top political and military leaders decided last month to initiate peace negotiations with the militant groups active in the country’s lawless tribal badlands, including the TTP.

The decision – apparently reflecting a significant shift in Pakistan’s war on terror policy – came in the wake of allegations by top defence officials of the United States that the country’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was nurturing the deadly Haqqani network of Afghan militants allegedly based in North Waziristan.

“We will see. Our shura (council) will decide whether and when can we enter into talks with the government, with the military…but I think we will like to involve countries we trust…they are in the Arab world. Let’s say Saudi Arabia,” said Maulvi Waliur Rehman Mehsud.

Wali – second-in-command to TTP fugitive chief Hakimullah Mehsud – was responding to questions sent to him by The Express Tribune.

“Till now, we don’t have any direct peace offer…our shura will sit down when we are approached. That is how we operate. There is one centralised body to take important decisions,” he added but did not mention who were the members of the council or who heads it.

But according to recent media reports, Sheikh Khalid – a militant leader hailing from Mardan district of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa – was leading the shura. But it is understood that in most cases, Hakimullah himself takes the final decisions.

The APC had decided that the proposed dialogue would not be spearheaded either by the government or the military alone but a ‘national institutionalised mechanism’ might be developed for that.

A participant of the APC then told The Express Tribune that the new mechanism might be based on the pattern of the High Peace Council (HPC) Afghan President Hamid Karzai had set up last year to reach out to the insurgents.

“It would not be exactly the same but is likely to have striking similarities.

Parliament and the politicians will have a central role in it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wali said that the TTP wanted a ‘guarantee’ that once the deal is struck, it will be enforced.

Both Pakistan officials and the militant groups blame each other for dishonouring three such agreements they had made in the past. However, Wali did not point an accusing finger at either the Pakistani government or the military this time.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (67)

  • Khan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 10:42AM

    I think government should talk to the the Taliban. They have become fed up with fighting for no apparent objective. I am afraid that in the past, it was government’s policy to fight these people to show to the world that we are having threats of terrorism at home so please help us (financially). Now it is getting out of hand. Put and end to it by talking to them and taking them back to the folds of society.

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  • ishtiaer hussain
    Oct 10, 2011 - 11:03AM

    If we strike a peace deal with TTP, does this mean that they will throw away their weapons, renounce violence and everything will be hunky-and-dory? Think objectively about this question and try to find out answers to it. TTP used peace deals in the past to find breathing space and to strengthen itself before striking against the state once again. Any peace deal, if at all, with them should be done from a position of strength and with the clear preconditions that they would lay their arms and hand-over the elements who were directly involved in the killing of security forces and innocent people.

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  • Oct 10, 2011 - 11:26AM

    What deal he is talking about? Implementation of Taliban Shariah in Pakistan???

    We will not let it happen!

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  • M.Akthar
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:11PM

    Shariah has been the major demand of millions of pakistani’s! All religious parties & imran khan’s PTI Support shariah & this will bring peace to pakistan! All groups like Talbs, SSP, JuD, JeM, LeT, HM will welcome shariah & this will usher peace. Army & these groups will be on the same page & hence no conflict!

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  • M Ali Khan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:14PM

    we made “peace deals” with them in Swat, Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber. None of them proved to be beneficial and all they did was increase their strength and made those areas become out Pak control and law!!

    making peace with these monsters has NEVER been in the benefit of this country because they will not lay down their arms, they will not stop calling for their favourite brand of Shariah to be enforced, they will not stop harassing women minorities and secular-minded people, and the rest of this country.

    Do you really want a peace deal with them??

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  • saba kamran
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:19PM

    The most important thing is that we need a safe region and even if we strike a deal with taliban the most important point is that we dont agree on every condition that they put forward. I just hope the environment improves as soon as possible so that our economy does not suffer.

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  • baldev
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:20PM

    Striking a deal with one outfit may not be the best option. All such factions must be involved if we are to see some positive signs of peace in the forseeable future.

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Peace deal with these BEASTS??? Dangerous move!!!! After about a few weeks they will start the killings and bombings again.

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  • abbas
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Engaging Saudi Arabia, see its so obvious where their bosses and funding reside. Government must not negotiate on terrorists terms. Taliban must give away all their weapons and stop killing innocents. their should be a cooling off period of atleast 1 year and then negotiation should start.

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  • Abdul Mateen
    Oct 10, 2011 - 12:50PM

    Karzai must understand now that it is not Pakistan but Saudi Arabia who they should negotiate peace. This offer of Saudi brokering the peace by Talibans show how much influence the Saudies have on Talibans. So there you go straight…

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  • Hairaan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:01PM

    @EoH:
    This is exactly what Pakistan was meant for.

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  • Pakistani citizen
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:55PM

    TTP talks with government not so difficult to involve saudi peoples. pakistan can easily talk with commanders of TTP without involving Saudies and the story includes ones own assumptions despite carrying facts.

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  • FJ
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:55PM

    @Hairaan..there is a difference between Islamic Sharia nd ‘Taliban shariah’…Pakistan was NOT meant for Taliban’s Shariah…OPEN UP YOUR EYES MAN!

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  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:56PM

    There is a popular saying ‘ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY‘ but in this case ‘THRICE BITTEN, BUT STILL TRYING ONE MORE TIME’, with every likelyhood of the end results being same as before.

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  • Skin Taj
    Oct 10, 2011 - 2:30PM

    TTP are the scum on the face of earth….they cannot be trusted,,,,,They are worst than animals…who use name of Islam to do their cowardly heinous crimes………… I still cannot forget killing of 23 or so innocent policemen ( I could see their innocent and pious faces in that video and most of them had a beard showing they were possibly practising Muslims )…. by these TTP terrorists and releasing a video of it… No MOTHER will own these criminals called TTP.

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  • Ishtiaq Ahmed
    Oct 10, 2011 - 2:30PM

    TTP is a terror outfit which is both a den of terrorists and traitors for killing Pakistanis on the streets in their cowardly terror acts and taking up arms aganist the state of Pakistan and killing our soldiers. Talking to them will be like betraying the blood of innocent Pakistanis who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It will demolish the state and encourage other terror groups to fights the state and finally strike a deal and get escot free. Is this what will protect Pakistan and our people. We must remember internal enemy is worse than the external. We must fight and defeat the terrorists, what ever be the price for protecting our motherland.

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  • Amazed
    Oct 10, 2011 - 2:45PM

    As they formally enter into a deal, in about few months, the world will practically see what and how ‘state of nature’ looked like. Good luck, Pakistan.

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  • Arindom
    Oct 10, 2011 - 3:01PM

    Pakistan seems to be run alternatively by the Americans, the Saudis and the Chinese!!

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  • Gul bahadur
    Oct 10, 2011 - 3:07PM

    Very good proposal,we would know one thing….”WHO IS THEIR SPOKESMAN”?Recommend

  • Khalid Bajwa
    Oct 10, 2011 - 3:23PM

    The talk of peace negotiations is finally being gossiped. Such a policy should be appreciated and supported, as it might become the cause to end the humiliation and violence, which has spread across the country. With every passing minute more lives and people are being lost irrespective of class, culture and ethnicity. Finally the peace negotiations could give the people of Pakistan a breather.

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  • Zaki Khalid
    Oct 10, 2011 - 3:49PM

    This is utter madness. So after these savage outcasts and self-professed “Warriors of God” martyred countless men, women, children and soldiers, beheaded thousands, fed their corpses to stray dogs and all the suicide blasts and destabilizing Pakistan’s security and image, we decide to “sit” with them?

    Each one of them should be shot by cannons to smithereens for what they have been doing. By negotiating with them for “peace” despite knowing their track record of violation, the ruling elite and people associated in this move will be taking the disgust and bad’duas of every wailing mother whose son, daughter, husband, brother is no more with them.

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  • Adnan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 4:05PM

    @Amazed:

    yeah all toe lickers of US will be vanished. It would be lovely for Pakistan.

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  • Hairaan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 4:15PM

    @FJ:
    Kindly enlighten us more.

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Oct 10, 2011 - 4:43PM

    The Pakistan govt. will give peace a chance finally. I see this as a new ray of hope. Prosperity is on its way to Pakistan. There is nothing so scary about implementation of Sharia law as long as it is the true peaceful Sharia law . Negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban can be done in a friendly and hospitable environment in some scenic hilly area, river valley or the quietness of a cave to reach a nice agreement on the true version of Sharia law and mode of implementation. When the facts and truth are laid bare, I am sure the Pakistani Taliban won’t be able to deny any of it. People of Pakistan can look forward to a bright future once these negotiations succeed.

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  • True Pakistani
    Oct 10, 2011 - 4:58PM

    @Hairaan:

    Mr, Hairaan,

    These Taliban are the Worst Animal of this planet they are not even a Human Being. How will they Impement a Sharia if they themself are not at all a Muslim
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  • Mohammed Millwala
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Any person/group who supports suicide bombing doesn’t know the true meaning of Islam and wouldn’t know what actually shariah is. Peace with such an outfit should be restricted to letting them live like they want but not importing their ideologies to the masses who have lost many loved ones on their account.
    I hope our government doesn’t take a step whose consequences our children would have to face, We as a civilization are still facing the repercussions of Islamisation of the 1980′s. let’s learn from our mistake for a change.

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  • faraz
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:25PM

    So we will negotiate with a group of Pakistanis through another country. Is there anything called writ of the state

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  • Adil
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:33PM

    Very unfortunate that taliban are now dictating terms regarding negotiations. People speaking in favour of sharia need to understand what the taliban interpretation of it is. Your women, your daughters will experience stone-age treatment, not to mention minorities etc. Any peace will be short-lived as the enlightened Pakistanis and minorities (shias included) will resist any imposition of taliban laws.

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  • ashok sai
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:33PM

    So, RAW is employing its agents in Saudi Arabia to fund and plan attacks on Pakistan using TTP.

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:49PM

    May be its Saudis who are the real masters in the entire game and Pakistan is just a puppet. Any compromise with Taliban will have to be a give and take. Will Taliban settle with anything less than being a part of government like what Pakistan wants in Afghanistan? How will Pakistan Afghan Taliban and deny the same to Pakistan Taliban? However, it will be interesting to initiate the talks and see how the game unfolds. Could be that Americans are playing something through their Saudi clients ? Certainly very high level politics is unfolding.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:54PM

    @ True pakis
    SO what u mena are those looters of pakistan are great human bieng on earth and those
    fuedals who treats there fellow human like animals are they great human bieng and let me
    tell one true storry one time i went to south punjab with my friend what i saw there u not
    gonna believed all poor land workers sitting on floor in front of these land lord and its a order and those fuedals dont even allow any school to be build in that areas shame on both of these peoples i think if one dont allow to build school and others blows it shame
    on this islamic pakistan and i will say when MQM say no to fuedals i fully agreed with it.

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  • Muddasser
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:18PM

    @EoH:
    Well this is good that you will not let this happen, O lover of my Pakistan y dont you give comments with your name….. i know you…. you are just trying to keep this blood shed running….. Recommend

  • Brasstacks
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @FJ: Just try telling this to TTP & see the results.

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  • Oct 10, 2011 - 6:37PM

    another Afghanistan in making !!! are we going to talk to these terrorists now, and that too through arabs? my God. I hope sanity prevails and they only find themselves under tons of mud, thats the only way to deal with them..Recommend

  • True Pakistani
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:38PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    I fully agree with you.

    I only gave comment on Taliban. Fuedals and others were not being discussed thats why i didnt mention it.

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  • Hamood
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:47PM

    No peace deals with the terrorist TTP. These guys are smelling defeat as thousands of their terrorists have been killed or captured. I say kill them all.

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  • Abu hamza
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:56PM

    How long will we be governed by human made laws…how long will we be governed by corrupt pro US individuals who (every single one of them) have been educated at missionary schools.

    Of coarse we should have peace with the tribal areas…the war, the TTP nothing like that existed before Pakistan attacked these people to favour the USA…

    So if the TTP and the PAkistani goverment make peace the country can get back to normal inshallah.

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  • Anand Kumar
    Oct 10, 2011 - 8:01PM

    The corrupt Saudis are the cause of the backwardness of the Islamic world. Instead of ploughing their petro dollars into education and development of the Muslim world, they struck a Faustian bargain with the Wahabis of Arabia inorder to control the oil wealth of Arabia and propagate a perverted version of Islam, wherein they were seen as the defenders of Islam and also ensured that the muslim masses were kept backward and not develop scientifically. The country that has most suffered from this Saudi treachery is Pakistan!

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  • Naeem Malik
    Oct 10, 2011 - 8:02PM

    Sharia-law is not compatible in 21 century, there are examples of different versions in Saudi & Iran and even used in some places in legislation of Pakistan (e.g. blasphemy, hudood). It has some sections which defy common-sense and common-humanity…and you cannot limit them…no offence.

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  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Oct 10, 2011 - 8:10PM

    You mean (a) these bad Taliban will be converted to good Taliban and become strategic assets (b) after becoming strategic asset they will be moved to PAK to infiltrate India? (c) Pakistan will pretend “Normal” and ask for monetary assistance to rehabilitate Taliban (d) ask Taliban to lay low for a while? and the game of deception goes on.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 10, 2011 - 8:20PM

    Saudis are the main culprits for funding a number of terror groups operating in Pakistan including TTP which has resulted in spreading of terrorism in this country. This funding is done on one condition that no terrorists activity would be carried out in their own country. Why Pakistan is not raising this issue with SA remains a mystery ?

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  • Oct 10, 2011 - 8:22PM

    All these peace deals failed in the past with these animals and future deals will suffer the same fate.

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  • Babloo
    Oct 10, 2011 - 9:02PM

    Shariah Now, Shariah tomorrow, Shariah for ever.
    ( But also remember strategic depth and assets )
    All are important.

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  • Faction
    Oct 10, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Shouldn’t the government be negotiating with the CIA, RAW and Israel, since they are the ones behind all the terror attacks in Pakistan?

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  • washid
    Oct 10, 2011 - 10:30PM

    instead saudia should stop funding extremists

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  • observer
    Oct 10, 2011 - 10:54PM

    RAW owns TTP and perhaps the sympathisers too.

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  • Jadugar
    Oct 10, 2011 - 10:56PM

    Why dosent Saudia Arabia just give them asylum in their country then there will be peace in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Safir,
    Oct 10, 2011 - 11:59PM

    After ten years every pakistani will look like these guys..

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  • Arindom
    Oct 11, 2011 - 12:41AM

    @Safir,:
    in maximum of 5 years – at the speed currently!!

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  • AJ
    Oct 11, 2011 - 1:16AM

    I Don’t know whether I will be alive after 5 years but I know one thing for sure that TTP won’t rule Pakistan ever.

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  • Romm
    Oct 11, 2011 - 1:39AM

    pls don’t forget Taliban’s recent statement”
    IF US ATTACKS PAKISTAN, TTP WON’T SIDE WITH PAKISTAN.
    We need to think rationally and ought to have good memory!Recommend

  • Antanu
    Oct 11, 2011 - 3:34AM

    @R S JOHAR:
    atleast u wish and pray for the result to be same

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  • Antanu
    Oct 11, 2011 - 3:46AM

    @faraz:
    the problem is that some outside dogs are interfering in the region.

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  • Antanu
    Oct 11, 2011 - 3:50AM

    @R S JOHAR:
    but in your various other comments you have openly blamed pak for terrorism.

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  • American Desi
    Oct 11, 2011 - 6:00AM

    Deja Vu! Welcome to convenient amnesia! On a positive note I like the eternal optimism in trying the repeatedly failed strategy again!

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  • vasan
    Oct 11, 2011 - 6:01AM

    Ha Ha Ha: The state of pakistan is going to negotiate with agents of RAW , not even RAW. What a joke,. What a state Pakistan is reduced to. Where are all those bloggers according to whom TTP is a brainchild of RAW.

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  • Oct 11, 2011 - 7:06AM

    This article is a great example of how the field and concepts of mediation transcend all countries and cultures.

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  • Oct 11, 2011 - 7:11AM

    Good news;
    Pakistan should immediately start peace talks with Taliban,with the help of Saudi Arabia.
    America should not be trusted[jews and christian can never be our friends. Alquraan].
    Post peace deal,sharia should be implemented in Pakistan,and Khilafat to established.
    Pakistan Zindabad..

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  • raj
    Oct 11, 2011 - 8:42AM

    Taliban’s may be more inclined to accept Saudi Arabia as a mediator. Only Saudi can guarantee that any amnesty offer to the talibans shall be honored. They have the credibility and have also granted amnesty to likes of Uganda’s Idi Amin and even Nawaz Sharif in the past. Talibans know Pakistan have always used them in the past and when the heat is on they either eliminate them or hand them over to others. Unfortunately, no one trusts Pakistan, be it muslims or non muslims or friends or foes. In a way it shall be good for pakistan also as Saudis can provide guarantees to Pakistan also against any action by talibans.Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Oct 11, 2011 - 10:02AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.This is all just due to religious differences because Saudi Arabian religious scholars claim that they absolutely right and Taliban have the same claims and both provide evidences also.

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  • Abu hamza
    Oct 11, 2011 - 11:05AM

    Believing that the shariah law doesnt’t fit 2011..calling it backward and saying it has flaws or something can make you a kafir!

    The shariah is given to as by Allah. It has been based on the Quran and sunnah. Saying it doesnt fit 2011 means that Allah didn’t know what was to come…

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  • Zavia
    Oct 11, 2011 - 2:53PM

    TTP has nothing to do with Islamic sharia concept and practice, they practice their version of Islam. Needs proof: Just look at the 63 years of Prophet Muhammad Sharia concept and practice you will not find any similarities. Sharia is not something to implement by hook or crook, Its something that people acquire gradually….

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  • Oct 11, 2011 - 3:13PM

    Instead of involving another state, i think Pakistan should diplomatically handle the situation and conduct talks with TTP. But, this should be done wisely as not just giving Taliban some space to breathe but to end violence in the country.

    May God grant our politicians wisdom of dealing with this situation. (Ameen)

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Oct 11, 2011 - 6:50PM

    Would the Saudi be able to mediate the conflict between the TTP and the Pakistani government? It’s worth trying! There’s always hope for random luck.
    I would like to appeal to Waliur Rehman Mehsud and the Shura of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and plead them to free the Swiss hostages. Ever since Waliur Rehman made the demand on July 28 that the two would be released in exchange for the U.S. convicted Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Swiss media seem to have lost interest in following up. Not a word had been written about them. A month ago as the Province Sindh was inundated, I approached the Swiss fund-raising organisation “Chain of luck” and urged them to collect money from the public to help relieve the impoverished civilians, as a sign of good-will from Switzerland to the Pakistani people! Nobody seems to care for the wellbeing of the two hostages, who are now left to their devices.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 11, 2011 - 8:29PM

    @Antanu:
    I can assure you that I am a well wisher of Pakistan. My parents lived in Chakwal for many years but due to partition they had to come to India leaving everything behind. Despite being displaced, they never complained but spoke high of their Muslim neighbour who saved my father’s life. Therefore, I am more than indebited and wish well for all Pakistanis. The only issue that troubles me as well the other Indians is that Pakistan is patronising the terrorists outfits for more than two decades and using them as a tool to destabilise its neighbours. This policy has backfired on Pakistan itself as no terror outfit is friend of the state which has been proved in the case of TTP for three times and they also killed many innocent people which makes this oufit as quite unreliable and the same was mentioned in my comment. However, if this outfit shuns violence and join the mainstream would be welcome news and I wish good luck to GOP. Thanks and regards. R S Johar India.

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  • Balma
    Oct 12, 2011 - 2:12AM

    Ali Tanoli: Amazing way of saying the truth!

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  • Salman Zahidi
    Oct 12, 2011 - 5:52PM

    TTP is desperate to have negotiations/deal. I guess Govt and Army strategy is right against them. That’s it no deal with them, kill em all.

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