Conflict: TTP withdraws peace talks offer

Published: May 31, 2013
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JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq condemned Waliur Rehman’s killing saying the incident had sabotaged the peace process between the militants and the Pakistani government. PHOTO: INP

JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq condemned Waliur Rehman’s killing saying the incident had sabotaged the peace process between the militants and the Pakistani government. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: 

Confirming the death of its deputy leader in a US drone strike a day earlier, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has withdrawn its earlier offer for peace talks with the incoming government.

“I confirm the martyrdom of Waliur Rehman Mehsud in a drone strike on Wednesday. We are shocked and very sad at the martyrdom of our leader but are proud of his sacrifices,” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told The Express Tribune via phone on Thursday. He said the Taliban consider the Pakistan government fully responsible for Rehman’s death and believe it is complicit in the US drone campaign in the tribal areas.

“We believe all drone strikes are carried out with the consent of the Pakistani government and information is passed on to Americans by Pakistani authorities,” he maintained. “The US is carrying out the strikes on the behest of the Pakistani establishment and Pakistani intelligence agencies are also partners in the drone campaign.”

The TTP have already appointed a new deputy chief to replace Waliur Rehman. According to sources in North Waziristan, the group has appointed Khan Syed as his replacement.

Ehsan claimed that the drone strikes had rendered the dialogue offer useless. “That is why the Taliban central ‘shura’ has decided to completely cancel the offer, Ehsan added. “We had made a sincere offer of peace dialogue with the government but we strongly believe that the government has a role to play in the drone strikes.”

He vowed that the TTP would avenge the killing of its deputy chief.

“Now we will take revenge… talks can not be held when our leaders are being killed in drone strikes with the help of Pakistani government,” he added. Ruling out the possibility of reconsidering peace talks, the TTP spokesman issued a very typical threat.

“This is now a final decision… We will teach a lesson to Pakistan and United States for depriving us of our leader.”

Waliur Rehman was killed along with several other militants in a US drone strike targeting a compound near Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, on Wednesday.

Taliban circles say that Rehman, 42, was a strong supporter of dialogue to end the bloodshed in Pakistan and his death was believed to be a setback to the elusive peace process.

Tribal journalists, who had interviewed the slain TTP deputy commander, said he was a ‘ray of hope’ for the talks.

Sailab Mehsud, former president of the Tribal Journalists Association, said that Rehman’s death has killed prospects for possible peace talks between the TTP and the new government.

The TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud, who was also killed in a US drone strike in August 2009, had named Waliur Rehman his successor in his will, Sailab told The Express Tribune.

Waliur Rehman’s successor

Reportedly, the TTP have already appointed a new deputy chief to replace Waliur Rehman. According to sources in North Waziristan, the group has appointed Khan Syed as his replacement.

A TTP committee met late on Wednesday to choose a deputy after Rehman was buried in a low-key ceremony, three Taliban members told Reuters. According to sources, the slain deputy chief was buried at Khati Kaley near Miramshah.

“There was absolute consensus over Khan Syed [for deputy chief],” said one Taliban member said.

The new supposed number two, Khan Syed, 38, formerly served as Waliur Rehman’s deputy. He was involved in planning the 2011 attack on PNS Mehran, in which 18 people were killed, and the 2012 Bannu jail break, where nearly 400 militant inmates escaped, the members said.

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan did not confirm reports regarding the slain TTP deputy chief’s successor.

Reactions

Condemning the drone strike that killed the TTP deputy chief, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said that prime minister-in-waiting Nawaz Sharif should start his term by shooting down a US drone.

“The nation has given Nawaz Sharif a mandate against drone attacks. If the US cannot be convinced to stop the campaign, then the government should start shooting them [drones] down,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“We shall support Nawaz, but he should fulfill his responsibility… drone attacks cannot be tolerated at any cost,” he added.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Samiul Haq (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, meanwhile, condemned Waliur Rehman’s killing saying the incident had sabotaged the peace process between the militants and the Pakistani government.

In a telephonic interview on Express News, Haq claimed, “America sabotages the process, whenever peace talks are proposed.”

The JUI-S leader also said that Pakistan must prove to the Taliban that it was not complicit in the killing of Rehman. “The first priority for Pakistan should be to launch an investigation into this incident. And Pakistan must prove that it was not complicit in this attack.”

Chief of JUI-Fazl, Maulana Fazlur Rehman also expressed regret at Rehman’s killing and the lost opportunity for peace talks.

“I regret the Taliban’s withdrawal of their offer for talks, and I believe they did so in despair… International forces have lost an opportunity to see peace in Pakistan,” Fazl said on Twitter.

“The next government has to evolve a coherent strategy on drones. We need to revisit our thinking and policies to bring peace and move forward,” he added.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Adnan Qamar
    May 31, 2013 - 3:49AM

    I am a die-hard PTI supporter but atleast let PML-N form the government. Let them be in charge and decide how they do. Criticism after they make decisions and implement them not before!

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  • Alami Musafir
    May 31, 2013 - 3:51AM

    So, the Taliban are not stupid. A great move. Let us see how good Mr Sharif is at chess.

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  • jg
    May 31, 2013 - 4:27AM

    IK. please establish your writ in NWA and Kick out terror groups from there. even if then the americans are mad enough to send in their armed drones, then with all your might, shoot them down.

    think what you ask for.

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  • Riaz Sheikh
    May 31, 2013 - 4:47AM

    This was probably the aim of USA. No talks with Pakistan without US.

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  • PakArmySoldier
    May 31, 2013 - 4:49AM

    Shooting down the drone is untenable. Imran Khan needs to be a bit more pragmatic.

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  • Maria
    May 31, 2013 - 5:00AM

    Who cares about whether TTP criminals want to talk or not. Pakistanis have learned by now that these anti state miscreants are never true to their word. They now ant revenge – what about innocent Pakistanis who want revenge on them? TTP just want to kill innocent people but when justice is served to them, they want to cry and say ” no talks!”. The TTP doesn’t want talks anyways; They just want to buy time so they can plan to hurt unarmed people.

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  • vasan
    May 31, 2013 - 6:06AM

    And the tamasha of “Offer for dialogue” starts. stops, restarts, reboots and finally goes nowhere

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  • Babloo
    May 31, 2013 - 7:26AM

    Is there an official Pakistani book of all Pakistani conspiracy theories ? i am sure it will run into many volumes and thousands of pages and make gripping r eading.

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  • yo guy
    May 31, 2013 - 7:40AM

    Shoot down drones? Imran Khan needs to be a little less fantastical

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  • Feroz
    May 31, 2013 - 9:06AM

    The TTP has to be brought to its knees and made to beg for a dialogue, before a serious attempt at Peace is made. To defeat this menace of TTP the State should quickly pass a law or ordinance that punishes all their collaborators — protectors, financiers, arms suppliers etc, with rigorous imprisonment for aiding them. Time to go after their supporters both inside and outside the Government.

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  • Rehmat Ullah
    May 31, 2013 - 9:26AM

    @ jg
    You have no idea about who has jurisdiction of FATA. It is federally administered tribal areas and not provincially administered areas. Please correct your understanding before giving some remarks.

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  • Rahim Shah
    May 31, 2013 - 9:27AM

    People of Pakistan are hopeful that Nawaz Sharif will take some action after taking over the government.

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  • Hammad
    May 31, 2013 - 9:49AM

    Maria: Please go back to the start of it and then you’ll be able to see where did it all start. I have no love for them but we are the one’s who have done more wrong things and we are paying for that.

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  • Asad
    May 31, 2013 - 10:08AM

    Alas, the other end of the tunnel is closed. Now what?

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  • May 31, 2013 - 10:12AM

    What i believe is nothing but a game. See, what held previously the whole dis credit goes to to The US. They are involved in our country. Who allowed them to enter our region and decides about the welfare of the Pakistani community. They are shouting again and again that we are the real human rights activists. I want to ask them, “Do you all fit the criteria of claiming to be the real human rights activists. What you have done so far. Rubbish, if the citizens of United States presiding in our country leaves us and move towards their own state, than automatically the scenario will be different and a positive change can come. Because i am 100% sure, that the insecurity in our region is chained with the presence of the US living here.
    The rest every body knows the real situation. God Bless us all. Ameen

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  • Farhan
    May 31, 2013 - 10:52AM

    I agree with Feroz – the TTP is a terrorist organisation with an expansionist agenda. Peace talks will only give them a chance to re-group and build for a greater push into Pakistani heartland. The peace talks also trivialize the sacrifices of the army personnel – how can you hold peace talks with a group responsible for 40,000 cold blooded murders?

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  • Bloom
    May 31, 2013 - 3:47PM

    “I confirm the martyrdom of Waliur Rehman Mehsud in a drone strike on Wednesday. We are shocked and very sad at the martyrdom of our leader but are proud of his sacrifices,” TTP
    Really? What about the people they have killed? Are they extremely happy about that?

    “We had made a sincere offer of peace dialogue with the government but we strongly believe that the government has a role to play in the drone strikes.”
    Forgot to add, while we peacefully blew up people around Pakistan.

    Condemning the drone strike that killed the TTP deputy chief, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said that prime minister-in-waiting Nawaz Sharif should start his term by shooting down a US drone.
    IK should just replace Waliur Rehman. He deserves it so much.

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  • Rana
    May 31, 2013 - 4:06PM

    TTP, is not a political force instead a gang of professional killer working for foreign operatives! Killing one or two key persons wouldn’t affect much, only solution is to eradicate them as early as possible from their roots. There no need to fear Indian border, it has already been barricaded by them and they are efficiently patrolling! What required is to emphasize on Afg & Iranian borders by blocking & strictly monitory the vehicular & human crossings!

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