Haqqanis under Chinese pressure to tame TTP


China has promised the Taliban that it will invest in Afghanistan if they eliminate the “bad” terrorists in their country but first they will have to tackle the TTP…writes Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

Pakistan claims that if talks with the militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fails, it the notorious Haqqani network, now in the drivers seat in Kabul, will hunt it down.

The warning comes amid talks between the hardline TTP and Pakistan which are mediated by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister of the Taliban government. Sirrajuddin also heads the terror outfit Haqqani network (HQN).

The HQN has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations, while the US has declared Sirajuddin Haqqani features in Washington’s most-wanted list. According to sources, Haqqani is under pressure from China to tame the TTP which has been a major threat for its billion dollar projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan. China has also promised the Taliban that it will invest in Afghanistan if they eliminate the “bad” terrorists in their country but first they will have to tackle the TTP.

It was because of this reason, Haqqani is playing a “good cop” and felicitating the talks between the TTP and the Pakistani government. Haqqani promised military action against the TTP and its affiliates, which were not willing to reconcile.

“When we go for the solution of any problem, there are ways to deal with it,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmed Khan told The Express Tribune, adding that there were elements within terrorist groups who might be willing to reconcile and others who might be dealt with by military action.

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The Imran Khan government has already agreed to release more than 100 TTP militants, top commanders including the dreaded terrorist “butcher of Swat” Muslim Khan, who was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court. He was convicted of killing more than 100 people including two Chinese workers. According to the TTP, the release of the prisoners is meant to be a first step of confidence-building measures.

According to the Pakistani media, a month-long ceasefire across the country has been agreed upon which may be extended if the negotiations move in the right direction but the TTP has made it clear that the ceasefire will come into effect after the release of TTP fighters.

The TTP was represented by a 14 members delegation headed by its chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud while the Pakistani side was represented by the security and ISI officials.

But Pakistanis are not “comfortable” with the way Prime Minister Imran Khan has been surrendering to the radical Islamist forces. On Sunday, the Imran Khan government removed the ban from the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) after releasing their thousand prisoners. Now Imran Khan is surrendering to the most dreaded outfit of Pakistan- The TTP.

“Imran Khan and others must ask themselves, do they really wish to accommodate an extremist, violent, banned terrorist outfit that has been killing children, armed forces, and citizens? Parents of the children massacred at the APS school in Peshawar in December 2014 have already spoken out strongly against any accord with the TTP saying that these were the people responsible for the death of their children. There are also other victims of the TTP who are equally angry,” said Anees Jilani, a Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist adding that Pakistan’s leadership needs to remember from its past and its failed attempts to deal with the TTP through talks in the past as well as the harm that this caused the country.

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