Pak preps for ‘contingency plan’ over TTP’s potential resurgence

The Pakistan government is preparing a “contingency plan” to deal with the potential resurgence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group after reports suggesting the banned outfit was trying to make a comeback, sources said.

Although the government has been holding talks with the TTP for months to broker some kind of a deal, prospects of such an agreement are grim, the sources told The Express Tribune.

On Wednesday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed his apprehensions about the success of the talks, while Pakistan’s special envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq had admitted the peace process was at a “nascent stage”.

With reports of some Taliban fighters being seen in the Swat valley, the authorities concerned are preparing a “contingency plan” to deal with the militant threat in case talks with the TTP collapsed.

Authorities have not closed the window of talks with the TTP, they are at the same time ready to deal with any eventuality, The Express Tribune reported.

Sources said the primary reason Pakistan entered into talks with the TTP was that the Afghan Taliban were reluctant to take any military action against the outfit.

Instead, the interim Afghan Taliban government was keen on Pakistan and the TTP to resolve their differences through talks.

Pakistan began negotiating with the TTP not out of choice but out of compulsion, according to the sources.

During one of the in-camera briefings given to MPs, the military leadership had said talks were in an initial phase and any deal with the TTP would be strictly in accordance with the Constitution and law.

It is believed that Pakistan is trying to exhaust all available options before resorting to any other steps to deal with the threat of the TTP.

The Afghan Taliban government is in a fix as it is reluctant to take any action against the TTP but at the same understands the importance of Pakistan, Express Tribune reported.

With the recent killing of Al Qaeda chief Aymen-Al-Zawahiri in Kabul, the Taliban government in Afghanistan has now come under increased pressure to cut ties to terrorist groups.

Zawahiri’s killing has diminished chances of the Taliban getting recognition in the foreseeable future.

If the issue of the TTP remains unaddressed, the Taliban may antagonise Pakistan, which has been their main advocate seeking legitimacy for the current government in Kabul, The Express Tribune said.

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