Talks between the government of Pakistan and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have once again reached a deadlock as the latter refuses to back down from its demands for the FATA merger’s reversal.
To clarify, in 2018, the federal government officially merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Many political parties in Pakistan supported the merger. However, there were those that also opposed the decision, for instance, JUI-F, and of course the outlawed TTP which has demanded a reversal of the merger. Recently, Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had recently ruled out the reversal of the FATA merger with KP.
TTP Chief Noor Wali Mehsud reiterated the group’s stance in a private interview which is making the rounds on social media. It is being speculated that Noor Wali gave the interview from somewhere in Kabul.
“Our demands are clear and especially the reversal of FATA merger with KP is our primary demand which the group cannot back down from,” said Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud.
TTP has released interview of its chief, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud on ongoing peace talks.
1-General Faiz Hamid is leading talks from Pak side
2-We won’t back down from FATA merger’s reversal demand
3-Some of our prisoners have been released
4-No major breakthrough in talks pic.twitter.com/NqpBI8JiDJ
— The Khorasan Diary (@khorasandiary) June 29, 2022
TTP warns Pakistan
TTP has had rocky terms with Pakistan. The country’s security forces keep conducting search and strike operations against TTP militants who then retaliate by attacking Pakistan’s security forces.
Important to note, TTP was behind the APS attack which was the deadliest attack in Pakistan’s history as it claimed the lives of 150 people, including more than 130 schoolchildren.
Read more: Remembering the APS Peshawar attack
On the other hand, TTP has often announced ceasefires with Pakistan but both sides keep violating them. Moreover, TTP has also accused Pakistan of not releasing its members from prison as per negotiations. Currently, TTP is amid another round of negotiations with the Government of Pakistan which is being facilitated by Afghanistan’s Taliban-led interim government.
TTP Chief Noor Wali confirmed that negotiations between the TTP and the government were in progress but no major breakthrough had been made so far. He claimed that Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was representing the Pakistan government in talks while from the TTP he was leading its delegation.
Noor Wali confirmed that the government had released some prisoners, but at the same time, ‘our colleagues are also being arrested’.
“This non-serious attitude on the part of the government can affect the negotiations,” he warned.