TTP rejects Pakistan's peace overture, steps up attacks, calls for implementing Sharia laws

Days after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated an amnesty offer for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),  a banned militant group, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, the latter on Friday rejected the idea and said they will "continue to fight" for the "implementation of Sharia laws" in Pakistan

Sep 17, 2021
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TTP rejects Pakistan's peace overture

Days after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated an amnesty offer for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),  a banned militant group, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, the latter on Friday rejected the idea and said they will "continue to fight" for the "implementation of Sharia laws" in Pakistan. 

The statement came after Qureshi and President Arif Alvi in recent days pushed the amnesty idea to the group which has dramatically escalated attacks against Pakistan security forces in the country’s northwestern tribal region - especially after the Afghan Taliban's takeover across the border - where the influence of the state has historically been limited. 

In the statement released on Friday, the TTP also claimed that they have mounted five attacks in five districts of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the traditional stronghold of the insurgent group. The government, however, hasn’t commented on any of these attacks yet. 

Even if one goes by the government’s record, the TTP mounted three attacks in the last ten days, killing over 10 security personnel. On the other hand, the group claimed they mounted over 32 attacks in August alone--the highest ever for a month. 

In the latest Foreign Policy’s South Asia brief, Micheal Kugelman, an expert on South Asia, writes, “The TTP has also been galvanized by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, where its leadership is based. One of Islamabad’s most urgent initial demands of the Taliban is they curb the TTP.” 

In another piece he said, “The TTP’s close relationship with the Taliban will make that a difficult task.” 

Furthermore, the government’s idea of amnesty to the TTP-- a group responsible for the deaths of over ten thousand people in the country, including the 2014 Army Public School attack where 134 innocent children were killed--fueled anger among the public and deeply divided its polity. 

Dawn newspaper, in an editorial recently, warned the government of dire consequences, and wrote, “If the state fails in doing so [ bringing hardcore militants and extremists to justice], other extremists will be emboldened by the belief that they can indulge in murderous violence, and get away with it.” 

(SAM)