Note: This article discusses the ongoing TTP peace negotiations between State of Islamic Republic of Pakistan & banned terrorist organization TTP.
All conflicts have a starting point and an end, regardless of how long it lasts or what the complex geopolitical context behind the events turns out to be, ultimately nothing is forever. The only thing that can be controlled is the how the ending is constructed, here there is no greater victory than being on the side that holds all the cards and can push the adversary towards surrender. This is exactly the position Pakistan finds itself in after years of coordinated military operations against TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) both within and outside Pakistani territory.
Pakistan has delivered strikes to TTP elements, cut off critical supply lines across the border and has demonstrated its willingness to use force even outside Pakistani territory if the need arises. Needless to say, the Pakistani state will now stop at nothing to enforce its constitutional laws and local Tribal leaders within former FATA region desire nothing but an end to militancy in their land.
To that end Pakistan has engaged in peace talks with the TTP for the complete disarmament, withdrawal of TTP elements from Pakistani soil and the denial of Afghan soil to be used against Pakistan. In basic words Pakistan demands a formal TTP surrender to end the conflict and removal of its elements to be resettled as far away as possible on the western region of Afghanistan.
Pakistan has involved both high military and civil leadership within the dealing, alongside gained local tribal leaders and IEA corporation for the sake of establishing long lasting peace and economic growth within the region. What matters here are the latest updates regarding the talks which show Pakistan is in a position of power and has made great progress in achieving its goals, however, there exists a few people who have fallen victim to TTP propaganda and believe the peace deal to be a sign of Pakistan’s state weakness., the headings below will point out facts that are meant to dispel these false perceptions and shine some light upon how big of a victory this is for Pakistan.
Negotiations under the framework of constitution of Pakistan
Very recently a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was held under the chairmanship of the PM of Pakistan. This meeting was attended by various parliamentary members where they were briefed regarding the situation on the border and peace talks progress with TTP. It was made clear here that any conclusion of talks and peace deal with the TTP would be made only with the approval of Parliament keeping under the framework of Pakistan’s constitution. This means two things, first is that law of the land will be fully followed and second the final say will be under the civilian government of Pakistan.
Pakistan will not accept any conditions that compromise Pakistani state national interests and full implementation of constitutional law such as merger of FATA with KPK will not be reversed and land will be governed as per the constructional laws of Pakistan. This illustrates the position of power Pakistan stands in as the previous demands made by TTP has be set aside and emphasis has been placed upon total acceptance of Pakistani terms, after all refusal means annihilation as illustrated in next heading.
IEA pressure upon the TTP
In mid-April, Pakistan conducted massive successful airstrikes against an TTP position within Afghanistan, this was both a shock and an eye opener for IEA authorities which revealed Pakistan is ready and willing to unleash its fury upon TTP even within Afghan territory. This time Pakistan had lost its patience and was not willing to accept anything but total agreement upon Pakistani terms.
Seeing this shift in attitude and previous negotiations with Afghan officials, the IEA had seriously started to put pressure upon TTP elements to come to negotiation table with an “open mind”. As a result, Pakistan has gained an intermediator which favors Pakistan further limiting TTP options. It is important to mention that Pakistan sees Afghanistan as an equal within these dealings, being a responsible state Pakistan is also concerned with the peace and stability within Afghan soil. After all, for the region to truly prosper Afghanistan also needs to progress together with Pakistan.
Countering TTP propaganda
After being cornered and forced onto the negotiation table, the TTP has launched a propaganda campaign as a last-ditch effort to save face. TTP elements on social media such as twitter have made numerous attempts to spin the narrative such as “TTP has defeated its enemies and forced Pakistan to negotiate” or “Control of former FATA will be handed over to TTP). These are the kind of stories being posted online to caused damage upon perception of Pakistani state power, however, are only stories in the end. The fact that civil leadership has already officially announced peace talks will conclude keeping in line with state constitution which means Pakistan will retain all governance and TTP a banned organization is required to pull out, both facts disprove TTP narratives. The message is loud and clear, make no mistake as the peace talks are behind held under Pakistani terms only.
Return of Peace in the region
Pakistani top leadership understands the need for quickly establishing long lasting peace in its western region. Only when stability has been achieved can then the state focus upon economic development of the region which includes construction of new infrastructure and complete implementation of state law. To do this first militancy has to be eliminated hence Pakistan has many years has had to conduct military operations and thin out TTP elements. Now the state has successfully cornered TTP on both military front and logistics front by cutting off supply lines border, Pakistan hopes to avoid anymore bloodshed and end the conflict.
After all as mentioned at the very beginning all conflicts must come to an end, here Pakistan hopes to bring this end faster however it must not be confused with weakness as Pakistan is ready to unleash its full might if need arises. The TTP have sensed this and hence reached the negotiation table. Already effects of peace returning can be observed as intensity of fighting decreases and Frontier Corps / Local Law enforcement replaces Army troops in deployment zones. This is just of sign of many normalization efforts to come.
All these developments are a welcome change, as its long overdue that the people of regions suffering with militancy get a chance to normalize their lives and join the rest of their Pakistani brothers and sisters upon the train ride to progress. Furthermore, being an integral part of Pakistan, the regions themselves deserve state assistance in developing. It is the duty for every Pakistani to support the state in these times and hope the peace talks can be concluded without major incident under Pakistani terms, after all it is in everyone’s best interest that the conflict ends soon. If not, then enemies of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will have no choice but to face its full fury head on and perish.