So why did Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decide to make the "final chance" offer of talks to the TTP just when it seemed his government was ready to launch a military operation to root out the Pakistani Taliban? Let's explore the answer this question in some detail.
Poll Numbers on TTP:
While the number of Pakistanis who support the Taliban is very small and shrinking, there are still significant numbers of people who are opposed to using military force against them.
|Pew Poll May 2013|
Chances of Talks Success:
There is a very slim chance of success of Pakistan's talks with the TTP. Why? Because there have been several failed attempts earlier to bring peace through talks with the them.
First such agreements was concluded between Nek Mohammad and Pakistani military in Shakai Valley in 2004. Both sides agreed to peace with the understanding that the Taliban will not host foreign fighters and they will not attack Pakistani military or civilians. In return, the government offered compensation to the families of those killed, pay off TTP's debts to Al Qaeda and release Taliban prisoners. While the government held to its part of the bargain, the Taliban did not. The deal broke down almost immediately; Mohammed claimed he never agreed to identify or hand over any Al Qaeda militants and the Taliban began killing tribal elders who helped broker the agreement.
Shakai Valley deal was followed by peace agreements at Sararogha in 2005 and then Swat in 2009. Both of these deals also failed because of the Taliban non-compliance. The TTP intensified violence against civilians after each of these details.
Talks Are a PR Exercise:
Both the Pakistani Taliban and the government see talks as an opportunity to gain support of the fence-sitters, those who dislike the Taliban but are unwilling to support military action against them.
The Taliban will try and show their willingness to talk to get "Shariah" implemented "peacefully" in Pakistan. Their aim will be to strengthen the resolve of those who support them to bring "Shariah" while swaying the fence-sitter to join their side.
|Taliban "Shariah" is fake. Say No to Taliban "Shariah"|
If history is any guide, the chances of success of the current peace talks between Pakistan government and the Taliban are slim to none. While it would be great to be proved wrong, I think it's time for Pakistani government and the people to prepare for a long, sustained campaign to rid the country of the TTP terrorists. If Pakistan fails to defeat the Taliban, they will destroy Pakistan.
Here's a video discussion on the subject of Pakistan-TTP Talks:
Can Pakistan-Taliban Talks Succeed Will India-born Nadella Turn Microsoft Around? from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Nawaz Sharif's Silence on Taliban Terror in Inaugural Speech
Pakistan Can Learn From Sri Lanka's Defeat of LTTE
Taliban vs. Pakistan
Yet Another Peace Deal and Shia Blockade
Taliban Insurgency in Swat
Musharraf's Treason Trial
General Kayani's Speech on Terror War Ownership
Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013
Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign
Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions
Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?
Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo
Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube