Islamabad - The government and political shura of the outlawed TTP have decided to keep venue of their direct talks secret because of threat of sabotage from Al-Qaeda and other militants opposed to peace process.
The assertion of the Interior Minister Chauhdry Nisar Ali Khan that some elements were trying to sabotage crucial phase of direct talks was a reflection of the nature of threat to peace process.
"They are on our hit list," the minister said while warning these elements of an action. The warning shows that Al-Qaeda and other anti-Pakistan elements are opposed to the peace process. Background discussions and interviews suggest that keeping the talks secret has become imperative on the face of the looming threat from the saboteurs.
In contrast, some political observers and security analysts believe that government should have ensured transparency instead of keeping the discourse with TTP secret.
On the other hand, those having deep understanding of the insurgent forces support the move to keep the talks secret arguing that some elements within the TTP were also opposed to peace talks.
"It’s better for the government to move quietly and avoid media glare", Ch Nisar told a press conference on Friday saying talks were entering into a sensitive phase.
"Keeping the talks between government and TTP shura secret is the safest strategy to make the process sustainable," quipped Fazlur Rehman, a defence analyst having deep insight into the insurgents.
Supporting the government strategy, Rehman, former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, regarded the transactional approach of the government as best option.
"It is very complicated process and government should pursue it quietly to make it sustainable and result-oriented process," he told The Nation, emphasising the need for making meaningful one.
Others cited the factionalism within TTP and various militant groups that are operating parallel to TTP and Al-Qaeda are a serious threat that could derail peace process initiated by the government.
The government had announced formation of a committee to hold talks with the TTP at the end of January, asking the other side to do the same. The talks finally started in the first week of last month, but got stuck in an impasse after Taliban-linked militants murdered 23 kidnapped FC soldiers.
The killings resulted in targeted airstrikes by the military against suspected hideouts in the tribal areas. The government formed the new committee on March 12 to hold direct talks with the TTP. The step was taken after the Taliban's announcement of ceasefire till 30th March.