It is impossible to share the pain that must be felt within families that are seeing an interview with Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). That the very architect of their anguish should appear on their TV screens in the best of health adds yet another layer to the already unbearable. That Ehsanullah Ehsan blithely admits to his involvement in atrocities perpetrated by the TTP since 2008 when he took up the position of its public face and voice, fills many with horror and disgust and they rightly call for justice, to see this beast in court and prosecuted for numberless crimes.
Their wishes are unlikely to be fulfilled, at least in the foreseeable future. Whatever Ehsan has revealed in a publicly leaked video is going to be a tiny part of what he knows, spread as it is over almost a decade of TTP activity. For the security and intelligence agencies, he represents a pot of gold unlike any other, and if he is willing to fully cooperate, and that honestly and without deception — it is always possible that he is playing a double game — then the trove he can spill is going to be unparalleled in the fight against terrorism in Pakistan.
He has a deep and intimate knowledge of the workings of one of the most effective terrorist groups ever to operate within our borders, and as such is going to be spending a long time somewhere very private talking about that to people who want to know. The circumstances of his ‘coming over’ remain unknown, what deal if any was offered and in exchange for what. There is also the question, vague at the moment, as to whether he may be the early trading in what may eventuate as a ‘soft landing’ for the Taliban, who have been hard hit by the operations of our military. Speculation also flutters as to a desire by the Taliban to put some muddy water between themselves and their brothers in arms in Afghanistan. Whatever the truth justice is going to be long in coming to Ehsanullah Ehsan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2017.