Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government is in talks with some groups of the banned militant outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In an interview with TRT World, PM Khan said there are different groups that form the TTP and some of them want to talk to our government for peace. “So, we are in talks with them. It’s a reconciliation process.” Before PM’s interview, both President Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had talked about giving amnesty to TTP members if they lay down their arms and follow the Constitution of Pakistan.

These statements warrant a lot of questions: why did the president, prime minister, and foreign minister disclose such important information in interviews to media outlets and not in parliament? TTP is no ordinary terrorist outfit. The entire country came together after the horrific APS attack in December 2014, in which more than 150 people were martyred – most of them children. All the political forces of Pakistan reached a consensus, after which the National Action Plan (NAP) came about. There was a massive crackdown on TTP and other terrorist outfits. We finally managed to eliminate the TTP in Pakistan. Those from the TTP who survived the crackdown ran away to Afghanistan. At that time, the government in Kabul was not friendly towards Pakistan.

The state told us that the TTP was supported and funded by India and Afghanistan – when Ehsanullah Ehsan first surrendered to Pakistan, he confirmed in a video that Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies [RAW and NDS] gave funds and other assistance to Pakistani Taliban to fight Pakistan. Last year, after sharing a dossier containing ‘irrefutable proofs’ of Indian funding of terrorism in Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “The [specific] evidence presented by Pakistan provides a concrete proof of Indian financial and material sponsorship of multiple terrorist organisations, including UN-designated terrorist organisations Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Balochistan Liberation Army and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.”

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What is the reason for Pakistan to hold talks with a RAW and NDS-funded/supported terrorist outfit when we have broken its back in our country? And now that we have a friendly government in Kabul, what is the need to hold talks with an enemy outfit? Should the Afghan Taliban not help reign in the TTP and take action against those who are carrying out attacks against Pakistan from Afghan soil? Or, is it true that the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban both have the same ideology, even if the targets of their attacks are different? The people of Pakistan – who have been killed and maimed by the TTP over the years – deserve an answer.

The government needs to be transparent. This decision cannot be taken just by the government alone. All political parties must have a debate on this issue and the people of Pakistan have to be taken on board as well. We cannot forget what the TTP did to our nation. We lost more than 70,000 lives at their hands. There must be a consensus about the talks and also the government should be transparent about the negotiations. Don’t keep us in the dark, dear government, for we were told that we will never forget their heinous crimes.