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Army bosses not to see Taliban team

Sugarcane

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ISLAMABAD: While the likelihood of a meeting between the government’s committee and the army leadership cannot be ruled out, the chances of the khakis acceding to the Taliban committee’s demand of a meeting with COAS and DG ISI are out of question.

The three-member negotiation team led by Maulana Samiul Haq had already sought a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and DG ISI Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam to get certain assurances on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

But the khaki circles in Rawalpindi believe the Taliban committee’s demand was a shrewd move on behalf of a non-state actor to get legitimacy by holding direct talks with some key state actors, especially the military leadership. While maintaining that it was entirely up to the elected government to take policy decisions these circles are of the view that the 1973 Constitution does not allow the military top brass to indulge in negotiations with the representatives of an officially designated terrorist group which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of security forces personnel as well as innocent civilians. He pointed out that one of the Taliban’s committee members (Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid) had issued a fatwa in the past, asking people not to attend the funeral prayers of the Pakistani soldiers being martyred in Waziristan.

When reminded that the ex-Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani had not only attended the All Parties Conference in Islamabad last year but also threw his weight behind the APC’s decision to hold talks with the TTP, a senior military official said on condition of anonymity that the former COAS had also cautioned the government at that time that the dialogue process should be undertaken strictly within the parameters of Pakistan’s Constitution. Addressing the passing out parade of the 128th Long Course at Pakistan Military Academy on October 13, 2013, the official said, General Kayani had clearly stated that “terrorism is a major challenge; the Army has no confusion about its role; it is capable of rooting out militancy and the army was ready to turn to the use of brute force as a last resort.”

While refusing to apprise this scribe of the military leadership’s stance during the Corps Commanders’ conference as far as the government’s move of holding peace talks with the Taliban is concerned, the khaki official agreed to express his personal opinion:

“The Taliban were never sincere in holding meaningful talks with the government for the sake of peace. They have their own agenda, which they are pursuing under the garb of the peace dialogue. They are actually trying to gain as much time as they can to delay a possible military action against their hideouts in the Waziristan tribal region. They may also enter into another peace accord with the government following the ongoing talks. However, the deal will only be used by the Taliban to regroup and strengthen them before the upcoming withdrawal of US-led Allied Forces from Afghanistan. The actual agenda of the TTP is to establish an Islamic Emirate of Waziristan on the pattern of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which was once ruled by Mullah Muhammad Omar - the political and religious mentor of Taliban elements on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.”

Asked about the possible reaction of the military leadership if the government accedes to the TTP’s demand to release the arrested Taliban militants and withdraw the security forces from the tribal areas, the khaki official said the dialogue with the Taliban was a political decision taken by the elected civilian government and the military top brass was constitutionally bound to follow whatever decisions the government takes. But he hoped that whatever decisions the government takes will be within the parameters of the Constitution of Pakistan.

However, defence analysts point out that the key points upon which the govt-TTP talks may succeed or smash, essentially concern the military leadership, be it the withdrawal of the security forces or the release of the militants arrested during successive military operations. They were of the view that even if the khaki leadership agrees to withdraw troops from the Waziristan region, it would be hard for it to allow the release of those who had been involved in the killings of the security forces personnel, especially people like Aqeel alias Dr Usman who has already been handed down death sentence by none other than a military court for attacking the GHQ headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi in October 2009.

The khaki’s official stance apart (that the military leadership was duty bound to follow whatever decisions the government takes), there is a general feeling in the military circles that it would be hard for the commander of an army which has made supreme sacrifices in the fight against the Taliban terrorists who had literally challenged the the writ of the state. According to official statistics, between 2008 and 2013, a total of 1,479 soldiers of the Pakistan Army and courageous generals like Sanaullah Khan Niazi were martyred. Likewise, 675 FC men, 1,717 policemen and 5152 civilians also lost their lives in the TTP-sponsored terrorist attacks during the same period. Therefore, the military leadership will have to think again and again before conceding to the TTP’s demands, which are not only illegal but also unconstitutional.

Even otherwise, a cursory glance at the previous peace agreements with Taliban make it quite clear that they had been used to make sure the withdrawal of the security forces from tribal areas and to release the arrested militants. Once these goals were achieved, the peace pacts were discarded unilaterally by the Taliban to resume terrorist activities.

While the ISPR spokesman is tight lipped about the official stance of the khaki top brass over the issue of the ongoing Govt-TTP talks, one can refer to the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s January 21, 2014 statement which he had issued after two consecutive suicide bombings, specifically targeting the security forces: “The Pakistan Army will never allow a handful of terrorists and extremists to dampen its resolve to deal head-on with them. The Pakistan Army is fully equipped of tackling any challenges posed by the enemies of Pakistan.”

It must be mentioned that in his capacity as Inspector General Training and Evaluation, General Raheel Sharif had influenced the military leadership into changing the decades-long India-centric Army doctrine, recognizing for the first time the home grown militants as the biggest threat to national security — bigger than India. The Army Doctrine deals with operational preparedness and is reviewed from time to time. General Raheel is believed to be the architect of the significant change of military strategy in which the focus was switched away from the traditional rivalry with India to dealing with the internal threat posed by the Taliban.
Army bosses not to see Taliban team - thenews.com.pk
 

Areesh

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But the khaki circles in Rawalpindi believe the Taliban committee’s demand was a shrewd move on behalf of a non-state actor to get legitimacy by holding direct talks with some key state actors, especially the military leadership.
Thank God. There is some sanity that still prevails in this country.
 

Mercenary

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The army knows full well that these talks are just a drama for the politicians. Army is not stupid enough to believe that the Taliban are sincere in their efforts for peace.

They are just waiting for this drama to end so they can launch their attacks and finish off the TTP.
 

Leviza

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The army knows full well that these talks are just a drama for the politicians. Army is not stupid enough to believe that the Taliban are sincere in their efforts for peace.

They are just waiting for this drama to end so they can launch their attacks and finish off the TTP.
There are other issues as well, Its winter time and there is nothing much can be done for displaced people with the logistics.

There is no confusion in army about the operation , they are just waiting for the right time so that with all logistics in place and winters are over for the displaced people ..
 

Khan_patriot

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good to see that some sanity prevails in this country, giving them access to the top leadership will only give the rag heads some legitimacy.....
 

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