Islamabad: The Pakistan government is reviewing its strategy in relation to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after the dreaded militant group called off the ceasefire agreement with it and resumed attacks on security forces, a media report said on Thursday.
The ceasefire deal signed in June this year as part of a deal brokered by the Afghan Taliban was called off earlier this week by the group fighting to establish the rule of Sharia across the country.
The will be a “review” of Pakistan’s strategy following the TTP announcement earlier this week and a spike in terrorist attacks, an official source told The Express Tribune newspaper.
The source said that a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), the highest forum to discuss issues of national security and defence, will likely be convened to discuss the possible new strategy.
The talks were brokered by the Afghan Taliban regime, which had been resisting pressure from Pakistan to take action against the TTP and its affiliates operating out of the neighbouring country.
The source however said the government will now discuss all options to deal with militancy after the change of command and resurgence of the TTP.
According to observers, new Army Chief General Asim Munir, who had headed both the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during his career, understands the dynamics of the TTP and Afghanistan.
As the ISI DG, Gen Asim spearheaded initial efforts aimed at facilitating direct talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban.
Given this background, the Army chief is likely to give crucial input to the government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the policy review on the TTP as well as Afghanistan governed by the Taliban since the US left with its forces from the South Asian nation on August 15 last year.
A government official who deals with the issue told the newspaper that Pakistan’s patience with the Afghan Taliban regime was wearing thin as the TTP continued to pose a threat from across the border.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday in a day-long visit to Kabul also discussed the issue of TTP with the Afghan Taliban, the report said.
However, in an official handout, there was no specific mention of Pakistan’s concerns over cross-border terrorist attacks.
According to sources, it is possible the government may revisit the strategy to hold direct talks with the TTP.
Previously, the sources said, the government did not like a direct approach toward the TTP.
However, officials dealing with the matter in the foreign office opined that direct talks with the TTP were not a wise strategy.
It is likely that given the resurgence of TTP attacks, Pakistan may close the door for talks and go for other options to neutralise the terrorist threat.
Some observers feel the TTP announcement to end the ceasefire may be a tactical move to get more concessions from Pakistan in the wake of a change of command.
On Wednesday, the TTP claimed responsibility for an attack on a police patrolling truck in the restive Balochistan province that killed at least four people and injured 26 others. The truck was carrying security personnel to protect polio workers in the province.
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