TTP withdraws demand of reversing FATA merger

Security official says Pakistan emphatically rejected two key demands at the very onset of negotiations


Jamshed Baghwan November 27, 2021
TTP members say ceasefire deadline could be extended if negotiation process progressed successfully. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PESHAWAR:

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has withdrawn its demand of reversing the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa following a tough stance by the government on the matter, The Express Tribune has learnt.

A senior security official privy to the ongoing negotiations with the TTP said on Friday that Pakistan has emphatically rejected two key demands at the very onset of negotiations between the two sides.

The official said that the TTP had demanded reversal of former Fata’s merger into K-P. The group had also expressed reservations over the ongoing local government elections in the tribal region.

Pakistan has rejected the TTP's demand and made it clear that Fata's integration into K-P is not the decision of a single individual but of the people of the region and the parliament.

The former Fata was merged into K-P through a constitutional amendment and its withdrawal would require a parliamentary approval.

Also read: Govt releases over 100 TTP prisoners as ‘goodwill gesture’

The group was also told that the government had spent billions of rupees so far for the region’s merger.

In response to a question, a senior official familiar with the talks told The Express Tribune that the TTP had never demanded the establishment of a political office abroad.

The official added that Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government initiated dialogue with the group so that the Pakistani Taliban living in Afghanistan could be pardoned if they accept the writ of the state and lay down arms.

“That is why the demand for a Taliban office in any foreign country cannot be justified,” the official said.

The officials have also indicated the possibility of further progress on the talks in the next few days.

Pakistan and the TTP entered into a month-long truce starting November 9. The ceasefire was the result of a series of meetings held between the Pakistani officials and the TTP representatives in Afghanistan.

The talks were brokered by the Taliban government, particularly the Haqqani Network. Both sides held at least three rounds of talks—one in Kabul and the other two meetings took place in Khost.

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