Shahbaz wanted to cut deal with TTP as long they didn't conduct operations in Punjab: report

Published: March 10, 2015


Files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad reveal that the prime minister’s brother, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, sought to strike a peace deal with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) through al Qaeda, The Long War Journal reported.

The files were revealed in terror convict Abid Naseer’s trial by a Brooklyn jury earlier this month. One of the files is a letter written by Atiyah Abd al Rahman (Mahmud), who was then the general manager of al Qaeda, to Osama bin Laden (identified as Sheikh Abu Abdallah) in July 2010.

Read: US jury convicts Pakistani tied to Al Qaeda bomb plot

The letter reveals a complicated nexus involving Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the ISI.

According to one letter from Rahman, one of bin Laden’s top deputies, dated July 2010, Bin Laden was informed that Shahbaz Sharif wanted to cut a deal with the TTP, whose leadership was close to Bin Laden. The government “was ready to reestablish normal relations as long as [the Pakistani Taliban] do not conduct operations in Punjab.”

Attacks elsewhere in Pakistan were apparently acceptable under the terms of the alleged proposal.

Punjab govt’s negotiations

Rahman’s letter stated that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif initiated negotiations with the militant group. In the letter, Rahman informed TTP commanders Hakeemullah Mehsud and Qari Husayn that Shahbaz Sharif “sent them a message indicating they [the government] wanted to negotiate with them, and they were ready to reestablish normal relations as long as they do no conduct operations in Punjab.”

Rahman clarified that the deal was limited to the “governmental jurisdiction” of Punjab and did not include Islamabad.

“The government said they were ready to pay any price…and so on,” the letter states. “They told us the negotiations were under way.”

Read: Osama wanted to rebrand Al Qaeda: Whitehouse

Rahman then made it clear that the TTP was to keep Al Qaeda leadership in the loop at all times. “We stressed that they needed to consult us on everything, and they promised they would.”

According to the report, Shahbaz Sharif’s willingness to negotiate is consistent with his public opinion at the time. The chief minister was a vociferous critic of General Pervez Musharraf’s policies and “blamed the escalation of violence in Pakistan on Pervez Musharraf.”

ISI’s role

The report states that al Qaeda’s negotiating tactic was simple. They wanted Pakistanis to either leave them alone, or they would suffer more terrorist attacks. Rahman’s letter reveals how bin Laden’s men sought to convey their message. They relied on Haqqani Network leader, Siraj Haqqani, which has been supported by the military and intelligence establishment.

One of Pakistani intelligence’s emissaries was Fazlur Rehman Khalil, leader of Harakat ul Mujahedin (HUM). Khalil was an ally of Osama bin Laden ally. The intelligence agency used Khalil’s HUM to send al Qaeda a letter.

“We received a messenger from them bringing us a letter from the Intelligence leaders including Shuja Shah, and others,” Rahman wrote, according the US government’s translation. “They said they wanted to talk to us, to al Qaeda. We gave them the same message, nothing more.”

Read: Pakistan probably knew Bin Laden’s whereabouts, says former ISI chief

Beyond his role as a leader in Pakistani intelligence, “Shuja’ Shah” is not further identified in the letter. Ahmad Shuja Pasha was the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time. Some have alleged that Pasha knew bin Laden was located in Abbottabad.

Pasha has repeatedly denied this. Rahman’s letter does not indicate that “Shuja Shah” or Pakistani intelligence knew of the Al Qaeda chief’s whereabouts, but it shows that they knew how to get in touch with his top lieutenants.

ISI got in touch with al Qaeda again a “little later,” sending the “same man” who had acted as a messenger the first time.

Rahman noted: “This time the surprise was that they brought Hamid Gul into the session, and Fazlur Rehman Khalil attended with them as an adviser!” Hamid Gul headed the ISI in the late 1980s.

“Be patient with us for a little bit,” Rahman quoted them as saying, indicating that the Pakistan had requested a cooling off period of up to two months.

If “we can convince the Americans,” the Pakistanis said, then we “have no objection to negotiating with you and sitting with you,” the letter states further.

‘Al Qaeda was cautious, but willing to make a deal’

In July 2010, Rahman wrote another letter to bin Laden, revealing that group was cautious but willing to strike a deal with the negotiators.

“Are the Pakistanis serious, or are they playing around and dissembling?” Rahman wrote. He believed that “Caution is mandatory, as is preparedness, awareness, and staying focused on the mission and resolve.”

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Reader Comments (67)

  • Hatim
    Mar 10, 2015 - 6:59PM

    No wonder Longwarjournal is blocked. They don’t want us to find out the truth. Recommend

  • Singh
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:04PM

    Welcome to LALALA Land.Recommend

  • MA
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:11PM

    Now peeps! get ready for unjustified justification from the lunatic likes of Adnan Siddiqui, Ch Allah Daad, Blithe etc Recommend

  • saeed
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:12PM

    And that is the time period when they moved to Karachi.Recommend

  • Gramscian
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:15PM

    Darbaris Blithe and Adnan Siddiqui, step forward to defend the king. He for sure did it in national interest, no?Recommend

  • Jamshed M
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:18PM

    In a Civilised country he would have been hanged but it is Pakistan so he is still ruling the country. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:18PM

    And people will forget this one too because all they want to talk about is “Khan is Taliban apologist”Recommend

  • Sami
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:19PM

    PMLnonly serves Punjab and then blames PPP, MQM, ANP and BNP that they do regional politics and do not prefer national interests. Shame on you Showbaz. You publically had given such stupid statements at that time.Recommend

  • saeed
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:21PM

    I am sure people of punjab will agree with Shahbaz Shareef. And everyone blames MQM for ethnicity. Pakistan is an strange place.Recommend

  • Dr. Khalid
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:21PM

    How sad!!! Only Punjab is Pakistan for them!Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:24PM

    There you are…all those years all those lies were being fed to the people… No shame what so ever.Recommend

  • MJ
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:26PM

    This is clear and open treason. If substantiated, it should be followed by impeachment and then imprisonment. Recommend

  • Karachiite
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:28PM

    I’m awestruck. These are Pakistanis? These are the people who hold govt offices and lead us? I only have one thing to say : Thank the heavens and all who is mighty for Raheel Sharif! Without him this nation was doomed!Recommend

  • Rahul
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:33PM

    The Sharif brothers were the Taliban’s favored politicians until Imran Khan usurped that role. Apart from Altaf Hussain, every Pakistani politician has tried to cut a deal with the Taliban at some point.Recommend

  • Mulana Diesel
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:39PM

    Shame on you Shahbaz ShareefRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:44PM

    well there is a reason why people say PML(N) is a punjabi party. Recommend

  • Kamal
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:49PM

    This is BIG! PMLN and Intelligence agency in hot waters again? But a Negotiation deal at the deaths of 1+++ Pakistanis is unforgiving. Wonder who will do the justice for such on Earth – of heavens we know!Recommend

  • Baloch
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:54PM

    Surprised? Well Honestly, Nobody expected Sharifs to stoop that low!
    Shame on PMLN.Recommend

  • Oats
    Mar 10, 2015 - 7:56PM

    @Mulana Diesel: Do you really believe these reports knowing the way news is reported in Pakistan? Everyone, even the US government has tried to negotiate with criminals, terrorists and groups no matter how distasteful. When it became clear that these criminal groups could not honour anything they said, it was clean that the army had to defeat them. This is happening now. Imran Khan, PTI, PPP and all parties have talks with all groups and even tried to negotiate with them. This will and should always be the case to show that negotiations have failed and other steps are needed.Recommend

  • Raisani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 8:00PM

    This is their real Shareefana face. Recommend

  • faisal
    Mar 10, 2015 - 8:14PM

    If you read establishment for Sharif, Qadri for Farzulla and TTP for JuD/ LeJ, FUNDAMENTALS ARE SAME. Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 10, 2015 - 8:18PM

    To all the PTI trolls crying above, it is one man’s word against the other. Please substantiate that Shahbaz Sharif actually wanted to cut a deal through any tangible evidence.Recommend

  • Suhail Yusuf
    Mar 10, 2015 - 8:46PM

    How strange, Was it fine for shahbaz to let Alqaeda target other three provinces and leaving only Punjab?Recommend

  • maulana diesel
    Mar 10, 2015 - 9:01PM

    Forget about reporting please.Can’t you see the damage been done to the country. Hopefully after losing innocent children we should not look for reasons anymore. Recommend

  • Mar 10, 2015 - 9:20PM

    well if this is true , than this shows how hypocrite our politicians are. The sentence which is really disturbing to me is

    Attacks elsewhere in Pakistan were apparently acceptable under the terms of the alleged proposal.

    i do not want to say this but this shows that they are ok with killing of others except Punjabi..on other hand most of the attacks are carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and people are dying here than what is this what are we dying for. I was not expecting this, iam really disappointed.. Recommend

  • saif
    Mar 10, 2015 - 9:37PM

    So how do you expect them to fight terrorism in the country? & what about NAP? FIRs of All those killings by TTP should be regesterd agaist these non-sharif brothersRecommend

  • marwat
    Mar 10, 2015 - 9:47PM

    Now this is serious, every times our loyalty is questioned whenever we talk about our rights, ut here a country intelligence agency and Punjabi nationalist is ok with Al Qaeda and TTP as long as they don’t kill in punjab.Recommend

  • Zubair
    Mar 10, 2015 - 9:52PM

    Try him for treason for causing risk for Pakistani citizens. Recommend

  • woody
    Mar 10, 2015 - 9:55PM

    The country of Pakistan was willing to sell out Afghanistan, USA, NATO, and India – so it’s no surprise that one Pakistani state would sell out another. Your didn’t get a duplicitous reputation without reason.Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 10:05PM

    So thats why Punjab remained relatively more peaceful for the last Eight years or so…Anyhow, this is yet another blunder in our history.Khadim e A’ala sahb had publicly been qouted back then, as saying that ‘ O Taliban, please don’t bomb us…This report also shows our weakness and vulnerability as well, as our ‘Angels’ too begged for unmounting attacks against them for atleast sometime.It also shows Alqaeda’s prowess and capabilities and negates the notion that they are a bunch of bandits. Recommend

  • zara haq
    Mar 10, 2015 - 10:34PM

    @Rebellious Khan:
    Btw do you remember model town massaccre this shareef did last year. victims were punjabis. These people are for money not ethnicity. he only wanted peace for his own jaageerdaari in province.
    And bhai he is a kashmiri.
    And honeslty i am very proud of our pakistani pashtoons for variety of reasons.

    Anyways, is this a news. Wasn’t that already known that nawaz sharif had requested taliban to not attack. Our PM was requesting!!. Or was that shahbaz sharif. Lolz.

    @MA, lolz ididn’t know blithe and adnan siddiqui bhai are so famous.

    May bhi itna mashoooor hona chaatee hoon. Now i will start supporting shareef brothers.
    Actually this is imran khan niazi’s sazish to malign pm and cm. It was ik who gave shahbaz this suggestion, and the docile highness shahbaz sailed along the idea and hece the efforts. And i trolled.Recommend

  • Raisani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 10:48PM

    @zara haq:
    brilliant answers as always :-). Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:03PM

    Even today the PML-N policy towards religious extremists…….is at best ambiguous.Recommend

  • Raisani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:10PM

    where are blith Niazi n Adnan Niazi? won’t.they come to defend Shareefs for this most Shareefana act? I guess both A & B Niazis didn’t get instructions from PML-N head quarters yet but as soon as they get orders they will surely appear.
    And Shareefs u both twin bros r openly exposed now that u r hand in gloves with terrorists. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:16PM

    Bunch of baloney which is only fit for consumption by people suffering from a litany of disabilities. It talks about this nexus mentioned in some letter written by a terrorist to Bin Laden, some earth shattering evidence that has been unearthed.

    A simple case of plausible deniability but for some idiots, any news mentioning the name “Sharif” is of such monstrous importance. Recommend

  • roarwali
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:21PM

    Then they ask why we hate them. Prosperous and one Pakistan will only be possible sans Shareefs. Recommend

  • salman
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:46PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    OK…please let us know when Shahbaz Sharif plausibly denies it….Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:47PM

    TTP baratis crossed into a settled district and emancipated 250 hardened terrorists without firing a shot at D.I. Khan Jail and slaughtered 150 children at the APS on Dec. 16th, all the while this invisible and shadowy government in KPK was either trying to create Naya Pakistan in Islamabad or were hand in glove with Mullah Fazalullah while these morbid incidents took place.Recommend

  • Shah
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:55PM

    Nothing new, can some one please raise the hands who thinks its a ‘news’? We all know about the nexus of Sharif bros, hamid gul, isi and talibanRecommend

  • Saima
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:04AM

    Shameless leadership !!!Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:12AM


    Rest assured that Shahbaz Sharif will and not hide this news like that infamous marriage that took place inside the container in November but was officially broken in January.Recommend

  • Hamood
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:22AM

    ET where is my comment? All I said was that in 2009 Shahbaz Sharif was on record pleading to TTP to stop bombing Lahore because TTP and Noon League’s policies were the same.Recommend

  • Shani
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:35AM

    Isn’t it justified to demand that he(Shehbaz) should be tried in military courts if the reports proved to be true?Recommend

  • zab
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:47AM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Mr Adnan the problem is not he wanted to negotiate, The problem is when any one else want to do the same the same person criticizes those people and you saying that if people see Sharifs name they only think bad ,you are no different as you never see any thing bad in them
    for you they are just angles and you have to protect them even when people die at Sialkot border from Indian shelling and our PM says nothing,when children die in Sargodha Hospital and our CM says nothing when a shopkeeper is beaten by his Excellencies daughter no one hear about punishment, when suddenly he shakes hand with MQM which he himself declared terrorist etc ……..every thing is good in Nora-Land. Recommend

  • Free Speech
    Mar 11, 2015 - 1:03AM

    Wonder why Baluchistan want Independence from Punjabi’s. It about time Sindhi’s wake up before Karachi turns into another Peshawar or Quetta. Recommend

  • zara
    Mar 11, 2015 - 1:28AM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Without firing a shot. Itna jhoot. many policemen were killed. 3 hours of gunfight. Huge carnage. And you are saying no bullet fired.
    Secondly, plz dont use words like slaughtered for peshawar kids. What if some victim’s parent reads it? And its painful for us readers too. They were like our own kids.
    Didnt pmln allow aswj ,lej to grow under their protection. Who helped them in election rigging How militancy grew in punjabs underbellly ,the south part. Why current fed gov halted an mqm terrorist saulat mirza execution if it was sincere with nap.
    Yes ik gov has flaws but they don’t hatch and breed militancy unlike shareefs. Though iks stance on ttp was wrong on several ocassions but he wasn’t supporting them, he used to fear civil war breaking out.
    Finally, i don’t like ik much and his party members.
    But learn to be honest in discussions. See i always like to be corrected when wrong.Recommend

  • hellodrsoul
    Mar 11, 2015 - 1:44AM

    Sometimes that old logic that this whole war right from invasion of Soviet Union till the backlash of 9/11 which is still going on is meant only to kill the Pashtoons. Shahbaz was faking his grief over APS massacre and he was lying when malala was attacked. No foreign invader is needed to break Pakistan. These punjabi tugs are doing the same job.Recommend

  • Punjab
    Mar 11, 2015 - 1:47AM

    how come this is news? he is on record requesting taliban in public that we have same agenda so please dont target punjab…Recommend

  • Mirza
    Mar 11, 2015 - 3:04AM

    This is not news. Whole world knows that OBL was situated in the safest place in Pakistani army base in a custom fortress not by accident. This is also a fact that TTP endorsed and supported the two rightwing parties PML and PTI in the last election and handed them victory especially in KPK. Not only Shahbaz but his lawless minister Sana was a part of these fanatic rightwing party. This is a loose alliance of all rightwing nuts against a progressive secular Pakistan of Quaid. Recommend

  • Ashfaq11
    Mar 11, 2015 - 3:47AM

    This is not new. Various parties were trying to appear Taliban friendly in 2012 and 2013 including PML (N) and PTIRecommend

  • Anticorruption
    Mar 11, 2015 - 3:50AM

    It’s unfortunate that PMLN-N has such parochial thinking. The other major party the PPP also plays the Sindh card from time to time, and is also becoming more and more regional as its support base is shrinking to interior Sindh and Southern Punjab. We don’t have any truly national party Recommend

  • Shahbaz
    Mar 11, 2015 - 5:39AM

    Shahbaz Sharif must clear his position!!Recommend

  • saeed
    Mar 11, 2015 - 6:07AM

    I am sure if TTP had bargained, they would have agreed to lahore only.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Mar 11, 2015 - 6:52AM

    And if we give Kashmir, it will become another extremist cesspool like Pakistan in a decade. More boots on the ground and no talks with Pakistan is the solution.Recommend

  • John
    Mar 11, 2015 - 6:59AM

    who “declared” Ahmedis non muslims again?A PPP darbari should rather cut us lessons in secularism.Btw what happened to your ‘own man’ Bil?Recommend

  • Babloo
    Mar 11, 2015 - 7:16AM

    You got to love Pakistan. What other deals have ‘establshment ‘ cut with various other ‘charitable’ organizations ?Recommend

  • Ebaad
    Mar 11, 2015 - 9:01AM

    Try him in military courts, but wait … Its Shahbaz Shareef, the brother of the emperor himself, and he has made roads, flyovers and fancy buses.
    Our nation well and truly deserves what it is going through.Recommend

  • concerned
    Mar 11, 2015 - 9:04AM

    @ Ali & Adnan – there is an old recording around the same time of 2010 where Shahbaz sharif on tv asked Taliban to leave Punjab alone and Punjab govt wont pursue them. emphasis on Punjab only.

    look it up. Its a fact, not one mans word vs another.Recommend

  • Lord of the Ring
    Mar 11, 2015 - 10:57AM

    That’s the heap we’ve got in the name of national leadersRecommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Mar 11, 2015 - 11:22AM

    Wow, moderators don’t want anyone to know that this news is banned on Dawn!Recommend

  • ZahidKakar
    Mar 11, 2015 - 11:35AM

    How a CM of a Province can make such type of deals. This shows that How Punjab controls the matters of country. They thinks only for Punjab. Recommend

  • agha ali mardan
    Mar 11, 2015 - 12:05PM

    What to do now, whether to enforce treason case or apply national action plan against the Chief Minister, Punjab, Pakistan.Recommend

  • zara
    Mar 11, 2015 - 5:22PM

    I like how indian propaganda opportunists are seizing opportunity to use this news to spin agenda against punjabis. The same old agenda always used for last 40 years to break bangladesh.
    Mqm that had turned a whole beautiful city of karachi into terrorism hub was a punjabi??? Now the operations carried out for flushing them out are definitely by a punjabi raheel sharif.
    Musharraf that ruled and destroyed country for 10 years, brought it near civil war was a punjabi?? He was a urdu speaking mohajir.

    Benazir who raised taliban in 96 for economics benefit, her husband 10 pc who ruled country and pillaged for five years were a punjabi. Her father who took country’s economy many years back,mr bhutto was a punjabi, no they all were sindhis.

    anp that has been for decades trying to break kpk fata and merge into afghanistan , with india’s back support is a punjabi. No pashtoon.

    All these divisions along ethnic lines had been created to break us. I don’t know abt others’ but i am a pakistani and i have issues with all these thug political parties that have been eating our country for decades and ppl still shamelessly re elect them.

    I am not a punjabi btw.Recommend

  • zara
    Mar 11, 2015 - 6:52PM

    Et kya kiya wa hai website ka.kuch nai chal raa hai. And news isnt showig on main pages.
    And plz will you do something abt recommend feature. Like before it used to be.if i have recommended someone then the feature will become dormant or as in i wont be able to reclick it. Bring that back. Why you have removed cookies. Now each time i refresh page i can again give out recommendation again amd again. I totally forget and sometiems repeat click recommend. Plz fix it. Fix it. Fix it.Recommend

  • zara
    Mar 11, 2015 - 7:13PM

    More boots. 700,000?? And you want to bring more. What sort of coward army you have.Recommend

  • Breaking Bad
    Mar 11, 2015 - 9:37PM

    Shahbaz nice move against MQM to divert attention…Recommend

  • roarwali
    Mar 12, 2015 - 1:34AM

    For Shahbaz and Nawaz, Pakistani is limited to Punjab. The rest are colonies. Hope we will soon get rid of them one day for the betterment of all. Recommend

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