Watershed event: Punjabi Taliban renounce violence

Published: September 14, 2014
"We have decided to give up militancy in Pakistan. I’ve taken the decision in the best interests of Islam and the nation," Punjabi Taliban chief
Asmatullah Muaweya. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

"We have decided to give up militancy in Pakistan. I’ve taken the decision in the best interests of Islam and the nation," Punjabi Taliban chief Asmatullah Muaweya. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB


A key faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Saturday announced cessation of violent attacks in Pakistan, in the best interests of both ‘Islam and the nation’. The announcement by Punjabi Taliban was accompanied by an appeal to all other militant groups “to stop their violent activities in Pakistan”.

The group, however, says it would continue to fight in neighbouring Afghanistan where the Afghan Taliban have been fighting a deadly insurgency against US-led foreign forces since 2001.

The Punjabi Taliban is the first group in the TTP, an umbrella of several militant organisations, that has decided to disengage. Analysts say renunciation of violence by the Punjabi Taliban would encourage other extremist groups to follow suit. The Taliban militancy has killed and maimed thousands of people, mostly innocent civilians, in the country over the past 10 years.

“We have decided to give up militancy in Pakistan. I’ve taken the decision in the best interests of Islam and the nation. I also appeal to all other armed groups to stop violent activities in Pakistan,” Asmatullah Muaweya, the chief of the Punjabi Taliban, said in a three-minute video message released to the media on Saturday. He added that his group would now focus on Dawah (Islamic preaching) for the “supremacy of Islam and protection of the system.”

“I’ve taken the decision after consulting religious scholars and tribal leaders,” said Muaweya whose group had been blamed for several deadly attacks in the country, especially in Punjab. He also called upon other militant groups to renounce violence and come to the negotiating table as the country was passing through a critical juncture.

At the same time, Muaweya urged the government to take measures for the rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of tribesmen displaced by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency. “It’s not wise to push the tribesmen into the hands of enemies of the people. The government will have to ensure their self-respect and compensate them for their losses.”

The Taliban leader also urged thousands of tribesmen, who had crossed into Afghanistan after the military operation, to return to their own country. He urged the government to facilitate their repatriation.

Asmatullah Muaweya, a former member of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad, joined the TTP after the 2007 operation against radicals holed up in Islamabad’s Lal Masjid. However, he pulled out of the group after developing differences with the top cadres and formed his own group, called Jundul Hafsa.

Jundul Hafsa, named after a girls seminary, Jamia Hafsa, attached to Lal Masjid, had claimed responsibility for the June 22, 2013 attack on foreign hikers at a base camp of Nanga Parbat that had left 10 foreigners dead. The group had also claimed responsibility for the attack on Church in Peshawar in September 2013 in which over 80 Christian worshippers were killed.

Last year, the TTP expelled Muaweya after he had issued statements regarding the PML-N government’s proposed peace talks without a prior approval from the central leadership. Muaweya had welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s dialogue offer and had urged Pakistani militants to respond positively to the government’s peace overtures.

On September 5 a statement quoted Muaweya as saying that his group would now shift its focus to Afghanistan and give up operations in Pakistan. A TTP leader told The Express Tribune that Muaweya has already shifted his family to his hometown in Khanewal district of Punjab.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • afrooz
    Sep 14, 2014 - 8:16AM

    How does that saying go???
    “Sou choohe khaakar, billi ….”


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Sep 14, 2014 - 9:16AM

    Now , join the Philipino group who is now commited to check the spread of the virus of millitancy in the east .


  • Afghan Maihan
    Sep 14, 2014 - 9:24AM

    The Afghans have special plans for Punjabi Taliban. They are rolling out the red carpets and a welcoming committee awaits them with special gifts.


  • AJamal
    Sep 14, 2014 - 9:47AM

    What about murder of the thousands of innocent Pakistanis? Will this “failing state” stand up and ensure justice? I doubt.


  • sabi
    Sep 14, 2014 - 10:14AM

    I bet they they don’t mean it but to deceive army command which is determined to up root extremism in Punjab mainland.I hope current leadership will not fall in the trap and will follow a very sophisticated path leaving no room for such fasadi groups to cheat the nation.


  • Ye kia?
    Sep 14, 2014 - 10:58AM

    This sounds unreal. As much as I wish to see my country free from terrorism, this just sounds like they are throwing a bone. If his ‘central leadership’ gave him a tough time when he welcomed talks with the government, then who can guarantee they are happy with his decision to announce a terror-free Pakistan (from his group that is).


    Sep 14, 2014 - 11:32AM

    This does not and should not absolve these bandits of criminal trials.


  • jamshed bajwa
    Sep 14, 2014 - 11:51AM

    What a way to renounce violence! Is that olive branch behind the dude in above photo? If it is then I need get glasses for my bad eye sight……..


  • BlackJack
    Sep 14, 2014 - 1:09PM

    Dawah? Anyone left in Pakistan to target for dawah?


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Sep 14, 2014 - 1:21PM

    Good change and good riddance in Punjabi TTP’s group and strong hope from Allah Almighty that this change shall remain forever……Recommend

  • baig
    Sep 14, 2014 - 1:26PM

    These people cannot be trusted, how many people they have killed.Army should not pay any heed to such killers.Keep clearing them.


  • Interesting Pic
    Sep 14, 2014 - 1:44PM

    The picture is worth a 1000 words.
    He is making the announcement renouncing violence, with an AK-47 in the background.

    His statement would have made sense, if the picture was of him surrendering the gun to a policeman and handing him a bouquet of flowers.

    The irony!
    ..Still a good step


  • Karachi Wally
    Sep 14, 2014 - 2:19PM

    We as a nation of 180 Million bodies are at the mercy of this A. Muaweya. We are sleeping nation.

    Thank you Muaweya Sir, if this is real plan then surrender all your unlicensed weapons to the State.


  • Naman Randhawa
    Sep 14, 2014 - 2:39PM

    “The announcement by Punjabi Taliban was accompanied by an appeal to all other militant groups “to stop their violent activities in Pakistan”.” but these terrorists can carry out militancy out side Pakistan and against non MuslimsRecommend

  • unbelievable
    Sep 14, 2014 - 3:43PM

    How about giving up violence on both sides of the border? Until that happens your never going to have peace in the region and Pakistan should keep up the attacks until that promise is made and the weapons are turned in.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 14, 2014 - 3:50PM

    Have they laid down their arms and presented themselves for justice? No. Their strategy is to wait until two anarchists finish their job. Once state is brought down to its knees economically, this group will walk into Islamabad without any resistance. Imran and fake revolutionary thug are their fifth columnists.


  • Uzair aftab-qureishi
    Sep 14, 2014 - 4:14PM

    So imran was right! After talks with the Taliban for a brief period, it began to disentagrate, and now, it has almost completely vanished.


  • Jibran
    Sep 14, 2014 - 4:15PM

    Is this Muaweya a government spokesman for communal harmony? What about the past crimes? How can state let that go?


  • Jibran
    Sep 14, 2014 - 5:47PM

    @Uzair aftab-qureishi:
    No Imran, Ch. Nisar, and Nawaz Sharif were all wrong. They kept delaying the operation, and are directly responsible for the murders of scores of Pakistanis. These cowards should have known that these thugs are no match for a well trained army.


  • chai
    Sep 14, 2014 - 5:48PM

    Voilence is not going to end until they surrender all their weapons in a public ceremony.


  • Candid1
    Sep 14, 2014 - 5:55PM

    Now that they believe that the Army’s operation will expand beyond N. Waziristan, they are claiming to stop their terrorisim. We always knew they were cowards, now they have proved it. There should be no mercy for these animals, who have made Pakistan bleed, regardless of what they now say.


  • Its (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 14, 2014 - 6:10PM

    BTW he never said that he was on the pay roll of usual suspects CIA/MOSSAD/RAW or whatever the agency is flavor of the month. How come headline is renounces violence? All this group is doing is moving to a different geographic location. All these Pakistani’s are happy with not in my backyard attitude. It also means that this group will have safe haven in Punjab and they will create havoc in neighbouring countries.


  • salman
    Sep 14, 2014 - 6:40PM

    sho will pay for your crimes? justice!


  • Raj - USA
    Sep 14, 2014 - 7:09PM

    Interesting script. Who wrote it?

    Should I believe that a terrorists turns a nationalist and says he will stop killing in one country and continue killing in a neighboring country? Now, he talks of Pakistan & Afghanistan as separate countries. The same group was preaching Ummah and saying all muslim countries are one. Anyone who thinks that they can stop terrorism in their country and allow it in another country is a fool. I don’t buy this script/story.


  • Strategic Assests
    Sep 14, 2014 - 8:48PM

    “Punjabi Taliban renounce violence”
    They haven’t renounced violence ,they have fallen in line.From now they will kill Afghans for which these “Strategic assets” were created.


  • cmann
    Sep 14, 2014 - 9:24PM

    Thi mere qatl ke ba’ad us ne jafaa se tauba ——-


  • BlackHat
    Sep 14, 2014 - 10:21PM

    Excellent news. The Taliban were created specially for Afghanistan.

    “He added that his group would now focus on Dawah (Islamic preaching) for the “supremacy of Islam and protection of the system.”” Surely will be needing suicide bombers in the future.


  • Moiz Omar
    Sep 15, 2014 - 12:17AM

    They are only doing this because now they are being decimated by the Pakistan Army.


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Sep 15, 2014 - 2:04AM

    Good development. Government needs to offer amnesty and protection to those willing to lay down arms. Pakistani military can also recruit and give re-education to these former militants into the army to fight against enemies of Pakistan.


  • Mirza
    Sep 15, 2014 - 2:05AM

    Now we again have good Taliban today but who knows about tomorrow. This musical chair of good and bad Taliban continues while tens of thousands of our citizens are butchered, blown and terrorized before killing.


  • Mirza
    Sep 15, 2014 - 2:07AM

    Only in Pakistan we have good military dictators, good terrorists and strategic assets. On the other hand the senate that was elected under Mush is evil and should be overthrown by force.


  • Nasir
    Sep 15, 2014 - 2:15AM

    the only good Taliban is a dead Taliban, if Pakistan hasn’t learned this by now then we really are a pathetic excuse for a country


  • Jawaid
    Sep 15, 2014 - 2:59AM

    Really? wasn’t it the Kiani-Pashaa duo who kept delaying the action against terror outfits, as revealed by ex-spokesman Gen. Abbas. As if the army is so good to heed to the orders of their civilian bosses, and since when does airforce come under army command?


  • Lion King
    Sep 15, 2014 - 11:15AM

    the unwritten part of the statement…until the end of operation.

    Anyway does this renunciation absolve them of the heinous crimes they have committed against humanity, this country and this religion the name of which they have tarnished?


  • MJ
    Sep 15, 2014 - 7:36PM

    The ongoing military operation has shaken them to their roots. These cowards are just trying to buy time and will then resume to their despicable and violent ways. Show no mercy to these people and get rid of them, their financiers and their supporters.


  • Sep 15, 2014 - 10:50PM

    TTP Punjab Chief seems to have a convoluted sense of renouncing violence and militant activities. He seems to believe that conducting activities on another country’s soil is somehow going to diminish the fact that his group is, and has been, involved in terrorist activities. He also seems to share the Afghan Taliban perspective that the U.S. has invaded to occupy Afghanistan; this is the propaganda which they preach and which couldn’t be farther from the truth. We support and aid the Afghan National Security forces and Afghanistan’s democratic institutions because we want to see an Afghan nation free of terrorist havens. Conducting terrorist attacks against the NATO forces is equivalent to hurting the path of progress for Afghanistan. A stable neighbor would bring stability to Pakistan also; therefore in essence, Asmat Ullah Muawiya is still an obstacle to peace in the region. In addition, does his statement of renouncing terrorism mean much if there are splintering factions of this militant group upon which he has very little control? Or is this just a gimmick to win some sympathy among those he has previously harmed?

    Haroon Ahmad
    DET – U.S. Central Command


  • safenation
    Oct 4, 2014 - 12:58AM

    What happened? Did Zarb-e-Azb come too close to comfort?


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