PESHAWAR - While a Jirga of tribal elders from the merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is in Afghanistan for talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), there seems to be a bumpy road ahead as many issues still remain unclear.

The Jirga, comprising around 50 elders, will meet the leadership of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and also hold talks with TTP commanders, and later they are expected to come back to Peshawar to brief the Pakistani establishment on the outcomes of their talks

Some of the participants of the Jirga are former governor Shaukatullah Khan and former MNA Akhunzada Chittan from Bajaur tribal district, former senator Maulana Saleh Shah from Waziristan, Senator Hilal Rehman from Mohmand district and ex-senator Abdul Rehman, Sajid Hussain Turi from Kurram district and KP government spokesman Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif. In addition to the tribal elders, some leaders of the PPP and PTI are also part of the Jirga.

The Jirga members from Pakistan are going to hold negotiations with the top TTP commanders through the leadership of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban ruling the country).

According to sources, the government has already released dozens of TTP militants, who were in the Pakistani jails while the TTP had already announced ceasefire till May 30 while it is believed that the ceasefire has been extended although it has not been announced by TTP formally.

BUMPY ROAD AHEAD

It merits to mention here that the talks with TTP apparently have a bumpy road ahead since there are issues that are hampering the peace prospects between TTP and government as well as people in the tribal region.

TTP demands revival of FATA | Pakistan may end terrorism cases against TTP men in case of the talks’ success

A tribal elder based in Waziristan region told The Nation that a few days ago, tribal elders held a meeting with the corps commander Peshawar, wherein the elders gave their opinion on the talks with the TTP. Reportedly, the tribal elders were told that the government might end terrorism cases against the TTP men in case the talks become successful. However, a question still remains that what would be the cases of those killed by the TTP men in the past as their relatives might seek revenge on the TTP men.

“Although TTP used to raise the slogan of Sharia, there were many men who joined TTP to take revenge on their enemies and commit murders of their rivals. This is why, many people may not forgive those TTP men, who may have killed their near and dear ones, when they would return to their native areas upon the success of the talks,” stated the elder.

Besides the release of their men and other demands, the TTP also has demanded the revival of the FATA as they oppose the merger of tribal areas into KP province.

TTP LETTER TO PAKISTANI JIRGA:

A letter shared from the TTP side with the Pakistani Jirga members, states that tribals and Pashtuns won their independence from the foreign rule through jihad in the subcontinent.

“After the inception of Pakistan, Pashtuns assured to join Pakistan on the condition that Islamic Shariah will be implemented in this country. Later, founder of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah sent Maulana Shabir Ahmed Usmani and Maualana Muhammad Shafi towards Pashtuns and on their assurance, the Pashtuns allied with Pakistan. However, Islamis system could not be implemented in Pakistan so far,” it added.

It also mentions that it were the tribals who fought and defeated the Soviet Union and later they also fought the US-led forces which also left Afghanistan, ultimately leading to the formation of the [current] Taliban government once again in Afghanistan.

The TTP demands that Pakistan must restore the FATA status and end the merger. “If the Pakistani government wants peace in the country, they should give the tribal people the same independent status which they had won from the British rulers of the past through Jihad and even Muhammad Ali Jinnah had ratified this status of tribals after the inception of Pakistan,” it concludes.