Pakistan releases 46 TTP prisoners as negotiations resume: Sources

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has released forty-six Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners in an attempt to resume negotiations with the militant group according to sources privy to these developments.

Earlier, the TTP had consistently rejected Pakistan’s offer for peace, demanding more control of the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the implementation of their version of the Shariah.

The recent move to release the TTP prisoners is a move towards a permanent ceasefire and a peace agreement, The Pakistan Daily has learnt.

The TTP had significantly increased its attacks in recent times, exclusively targeting Pakistan’s security forces in contrast to Pakistani civilians.

This is a change from TTP’s strategy as earlier the group targetted soft targets including civilians in Pakistan.

It is believed that the recent resumption of peace negotiations come after the efforts of the tribal jirgas in Afghanistan’s Paktia and Khost provinces.

Sirajuddun Haqqani has also played an instrumental role in the attempts to establish peace between the Pakistani state and the TTP.

According to security analyst Faran Jeffery: “The “tribal elders” Pakistan is using to “mediate” with TTP are actually mostly TTP sympathizers. Why do you think TTP is still able to operate cells in tribal belt despite its leadership being based in Afghanistan? Most of these “tribal elders” have TTP’s best interests in mind.”

FJ wrote on Twitter: “Like Afghan Taliban, TTP has also maintained good relations with many of these “tribal elders” on both sides of Durand. Tribal links with TTP + sympathy for TTP’s ideology exists here. It’s a repeat of the episode in Afghanistan, where tribal elders facilitated surrender of ANDSF.”

FJ believes that the TTP’s strategy of not attacking civilians and focusing on attacks on Pakistan’s security forces has helped them gain the sympathy of many tribal elders who themselves may not have an ideal opinion of Pakistan’s security forces.

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