Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Saturday said all terrorism-related decisions, including the current talks with the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), must be made by parliament.
The talks between Pakistan and the TTP facilitated by the Afghan Taliban had culminated into an indefinite truce last month.
In return for a ceasefire, Pakistan had released some TTP prisoners and even pardoned some who were convicted in terror cases.
Later, a 50-member tribal jirga had also joined the peace process, with Pakistani security official saying at the time that the talks had entered a serious phase with some progress.
The peace process with militants has been supervised by Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, corps commander of Peshawar and former ISI chief.
On Saturday a high-level meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a ruling coalition partner, was held in Islamabad to discuss in detail the issue of terrorism, particularly in the light of recent developments in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Taliban and the TTP.
Following the huddle, Bilawal posted on Twitter: “PPP held a high-level meeting to discuss the issue of terrorism, particularly in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, with the TTA (Tehreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan) & TTP. PPP believes that all decisions must be taken by parliament.”
“Will be reaching out to allied parties to create consensus on the way forward,” Bilawal added.
The meeting took place after the PPP served a show-cause notice to Sajid Hussain Turi, its member of National Assembly from the erstwhile tribal areas for attending peace talks with the TTP without informing the party or parliament.
On June 3, Islamabad had welcomed the ceasefire, as the incumbent government for the first time publicly acknowledged it was negotiating a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban.
Information minister, Maryam Aurangzeb, had said in a statement that talks with the TTP are taking place at the government level.
“Talks with the TTP began in 2021 and these negotiations have been taking place at the government level,” the minister said, adding that civil and military representatives are part of the Pakistani side holding talks with TTP.
But the PPP’s latest statement suggests that all the coalition partners are not on board.
Since its inception in 2007, the TTP-led suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis, including security forces. Sustained military operation by Pakistan has significantly degraded the group’s ability to carry out major attacks.
It, however, intensified targeted attacks on Pakistani forces from Afghan bases since the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul last year, killing scores of Pakistani security personnel and prompting Islamabad to conduct cross-border airstrikes against TTP hideouts.
Over 120 Pakistani security forces have been killed this year in terrorist attacks, mostly carried out by the TTP.

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