Dissent within: Fissures grow within TTP over govt talks offer

Published: August 25, 2013
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File photo of Taliban fighters. PHOTO: AFP

File photo of Taliban fighters. PHOTO: AFP

DI KHAN / PESHAWAR: 

Growing fissures within the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are fuelling doubts about the monolithic status of the extremist outfit. The cracks have become more discernible following the government’s vague offer of peace negotiations.

On Saturday, the TTP sacked Asmatullah Muawiya, the chief of Punjabi Taliban, for welcoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s call for talks.

“The Taliban Shura (decision-making body) met under Commander Hakimullah Mehsud and decided that Asmatullah Muawiya has no relation with the TTP,” said TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

“He is respectable for us, but he has no relation with the TTP. The decision about the new head of Punjab Taliban will be taken in the next meeting of our decision makers,” he said.

However, Asmatullah Muawiya rejected the TTP decision, saying that the group has no authority to sack him.  “The Punjabi Taliban have their own Shura which makes their own decisions,” he said in a statement.

About the government’s dialogue offer, the TTP spokesperson said that their Shura would take a final decision. “If the government shows flexibility, we will show flexibility … asking us to disarm before peace talks is ridiculous and unacceptable, however,” he said.

The Defence Cabinet Committee agreed on Wednesday that extremists would have to renounce violence and disarm for talks. Interestingly, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, however, said in a television interview on Saturday that the government has set any preconditions for talks with militants.

In his maiden televised address to nation, Premier Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that his government would prefer talks to end a nagging insurgency which has killed and maimed thousands of people over the past few years.

Asmatullah Muawiya welcomed the move. “The prime minister has shown maturity with his talks offer and he has also strengthened the desire for peace by staying executions,” he said in a statement issued in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan Agency.

But Muawiya’s response came as a surprise for many within the TTP as the group had withdrawn its earlier talks offer to the government after its second-in-command Waliur Rehman Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike earlier this year.

Muawiya’s sacking points to growing divisions within the TTP. Earlier in July, the group had sacked its central spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan for making remarks that angered their namesakes in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Mirza
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:58AM

    The nature and composition of Taliban is an open secret. Their most common names Yazid, Muawiya, and Sufian tell the whole truth about their ideology.
    It is not surprising to note that Punjabi Taliban are closer to PML-N, NS and Rana Sana and they have openly supported them in the last elections. It is now payback time.
    Another interesting fact is that dead bodies of Pakistani Taliban are coming from Syria and buried in their home towns and our “free” media and govt is turning a blind eye to such news. We should not negotiate with these global terrorists until they lay down arms and stop butchering our civilians and stop all acts of fanaticism. These terrorists are behaving as they have a huge army and we have a rag tag police!

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  • Murad Malik
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:59AM

    TTP, Punjabi Taliban, pathan Taliban, this shura, that shura, this council that council, what does it even matter. The fact is they are ALL TERRORISTS, they hate our way of life, what talks is the govt going to do with them?? this is ridiculous. KILL THEM ALL, KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, be it women , children, if they r TTP kill THEM ALL..orelse i promise you all one thing, THEY WILL KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF US.

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  • the Skunk
    Aug 25, 2013 - 12:01PM

    Please do not make merry on such divisions and schisms in the TTP and its affiliates. The fact indisputably remains that the TTP are a tenacious fighting force.
    The reason the PMLN and PPP did not go after the Punjabi Taliban is because of their widespread family and biradari connections in Punjab; the most populous province. Salams

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  • Falcon
    Aug 25, 2013 - 12:50PM

    Just so that ET editors know, there is a quote from some person named Ramzan in your article that does not tied to this article apparently.

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  • Z.Khan
    Aug 25, 2013 - 2:10PM

    Mockery of situation. God knows better who is doing what. Government if at all has to deal with TTP should do with single spokes person.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:44PM

    This really shows as to, just how strong are Pakistan’s institutions, when they are willing to talk to these very people who have killed thousands and really have agenda to destroy the very fabric of their society and those in charge, simply watch and want to talk !
    I am baffled ! Someone should enlighten Islamabad and Pindi as to these cockroaches’ real agenda, first.

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