Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has hinted at the possibility of Islamabad being open to talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The minister said efforts to bring the outlawed group to the table are underway.
This comes after Sanaullah on Wednesday said Pakistan won’t hold talks with the banned TTP or any other terrorist organisation.
Before initiating the talks, the group would have to surrender before the law and put aside arms and ammunition, he said, Pakistan Today reported. Pakistan must approach the situation in a way that keeps the TTP at its “lowest level,” thereby preventing terrorist attacks in the future, he added.
“You will see the decisions that were made in regards to this being implemented in the coming days,” the minister said.
His comments came after the NSC reiterated its intention to destroy terrorist organisations operating within the nation.
Pakistan has lately been witnessing a series of deadly attacks carried out by TTP, after the group formally broke the ceasefire pact with Islamabad in November 2022, Geo News reported. The attacks were believed to be planned by Afghanistan-based TTP leaders.
According to Pakistan Today, TTP shares ideologies with the Afghan Taliban and executed over 100 attacks last year. The attacks began when the group’s peace negotiations with the Pakistan government started to sputter.
While addressing a press conference, Sanaullah assured that the government was taking initiative to combat terrorism. He further said that making the state’s counterterrorism operations public would only jeopardise its success.
“But this should not be taken to mean that nothing is being done,” the minister said.
Watch | Pakistan Minister ‘open to negotiating with TTP’
Talking about the recent National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, he said, the forum has decided to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy to countering terrorism with “no mixed messages and no differentiation between good or bad terrorists.”
Earlier, there were speculations that the Pakistan government might launch a military operation against the TTP, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, given the minister’s latest comments.
For long now, Islamabad has been accusing the Taliban of providing a safe haven to TTP leaders on Afghan soil, a claim that Kabul rebuffs. However, Taliban chief spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid recently said the Afghan government improved ties with all its neighbours, including Pakistan.
(With inputs from agencies)