Ending militant violence: Govt ponders working group for Taliban talks

Published: July 15, 2013
Analysts suggest a multi-pronged approach to deal with the threat of militancy and extremism. PHOTO: FILE

Analysts suggest a multi-pronged approach to deal with the threat of militancy and extremism. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to form a working group to hold talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups as part of its efforts to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence in the country.

The working group is expected to be announced after an all-party conference (APC), which is scheduled for later this month, to evolve consensus on a new proposed national security policy.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already announced that it is willing to negotiate with
the TTP and other ‘reconcilable groups’ for the sake of peace.

Although, the security establishment in a recent briefing to the government suggested a cautious approach on peace talks, the government is willing to give peace a chance.

“We will do whatever we can to restore peace [in the country],” a senior government official told The Express Tribune.

“Different proposals are under consideration and one of them is to form a working group for talks with the TTP,” added the official, who asked not to be named in the report because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The proposed working group, he said, would comprise politicians and other figures who could use ‘their influence and good offices’ to make peace talks successful.

According to the draft security policy, the government would devise a mechanism to reintegrate those who either shun some ‘so-called jihadi organisations’ or who got disengaged from such acts on any account.

Under the plan, the government is considering utilising former militants and those militants who are in custody for reaching out to the TTP. However, the security establishment is wary of this approach as it believes such tactics failed to yield positive result in the past.

During his recent visit to the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Premier Nawaz was briefed on the ground situation and the ‘hard choices’ his government have to make for peace talks.

A military official said the security establishment was not opposed to talks with the militants. “But for such an approach you need a careful analysis of the situation,” the official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.

“First of all we need to identify the militant groups who we can talk to,” he said. “There are groups who are willing to negotiate but there are others who may never talk,” he added.

The TTP is an umbrella group of a medley of militant outfits but there is no guarantee that its component groups would honour any peace deal the government might cut with its leadership.

Analysts suggest a multi-pronged approach to deal with the threat of militancy and extremism.

“The strategy must focus on isolating the hardcore militants who may never enter into negotiations,” said security analyst Brig (retd) Mehmood Shah. He believes that despite its peace efforts, the government will eventually have to take some decisive action against the hardened militants.

Shah believes that before the troops’ drawdown from Afghanistan, Pakistan will have to carry out a targeted operation in the tribal belt to eliminate ‘irreconcilable militants.’

Another official said the government would consider all options if efforts to bring the militants to the negotiating table failed.

When contacted, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz refused to comment on the proposed working group, saying the government would announce the new policy after the completion of the consultation process.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Aysha M
    Jul 15, 2013 - 2:02AM

    Violence glorified.


  • unbelievable
    Jul 15, 2013 - 2:24AM

    Why would the Taliban want to negotiate with a bunch of politicians who have no control over whether the military attacks or not? Pretty obvious barrier that somehow eludes many Pakistani’s.


  • Ali
    Jul 15, 2013 - 3:20AM

    Pakistan failed to control Taliban as well, now looking for negotiation. again proved FAILED STATE. no negotiation leave it as it is.


  • Umair
    Jul 15, 2013 - 4:04AM

    Talks with these groups will never work. We can try, which we are going to, but eventually they will fail. I think our Prime Minister also knows that and this first phase of his policy is going to shape the second phase, which will be based on military and operations. The PM will give talks a chance, will show that they tried, but after couple of big and unfortunate incidents, we will be united on military action.


  • Farooq
    Jul 15, 2013 - 4:42AM

    We need action after what ever decised in APC.


  • Polpot
    Jul 15, 2013 - 5:06AM

    The Govt is currently in a weak position
    And no talks can succeed unless conducted from a position of sttrength.
    So the key factor for success is that the Govt should strenthen itself vis a vis the militants.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jul 15, 2013 - 6:02AM

    Good plan, and I complete agree with Brig. Mehmood Shah, has to be a multi pronged approach.


  • Taliban
    Jul 15, 2013 - 6:39AM

    realization is Govt weekness but no discussion with govt.


  • Taliba
    Jul 15, 2013 - 6:45AM

    peace talk is the only solution. hope peaceful pakistan.


  • Raj- USA
    Jul 15, 2013 - 7:37AM

    @Aysha M:
    “Violence glorified.”
    You have summed up everything in the two words.


  • Citizen Kane
    Jul 15, 2013 - 8:15AM

    PML-N and PTI thought if they bend over backwards for the Taliban and not criticise them, the terror group will stop attacking them. They were so wrong. Yet they continue to apologise on its behalf.


  • Kamran
    Jul 15, 2013 - 8:46AM

    Nice efforts by PML-N and PTI. Keep it up. If USA/West can negotiate with Talibans, why not we ? Credit goes to both PTI and PML-N


  • Sharjeel Jawaid
    Jul 15, 2013 - 8:52AM

    Appeasement has never worked.


    Jul 15, 2013 - 9:51AM

    USA is in negotiations with Afghan Taliban who have an Ideological stance,whereas TTP has no ideological basis for terrorism in Pakistan.Afghan taliban are fighting against foreign occupation whereas TTp is fighting for foreign occupation.TTP is different from afghan taliban,don’t mix them up.


  • SB
    Jul 15, 2013 - 11:22AM

    Good move towards the peace. We should support our government.


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jul 15, 2013 - 11:33AM

    PML-N do it and maintain peace and stability in Pakistan because never forget this harsh reality,id est,Russian forces and even now US’ and NATO’s forces couldn’t defeat Taliban despite having the most modern weapons and war’s technologies and techniques then how Pakistan army with limited resources can defeat Taliban……


  • Aamir
    Jul 15, 2013 - 5:42PM

    I do not understand why would TTP give up militancy?
    Why, because someone ask them nicely? Is that it what the govt. thinks?


  • Last Word
    Jul 15, 2013 - 6:59PM

    It is for the sake many TTP apologists in Pakistan and the common stand taken by PTI and PMLN before elections, talks with TTP are required to be held for the satisfaction of one and all. However, the talks must not be undertaken with a defeatist attitude, but with a firm resolve to find a peaceful solution for this mindless violence which has taken thousands of innocent lives. Though it is apprehended that many factions of the TTP may not indulge in talks but sincere efforts needs to be made to rope them into the negotiations. Should some factions decline to participate in talks despite concerted efforts or put unconstitutional conditions, plan B should be kept ready to deal with them decisively to end militancy in Pakistan for good on the lines of Srilanka elimination of LTTE.


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