TTP chief says group will negotiate, but not disarm and outline conditions for ceasefire.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Information and Public Relations Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that Awami National Party (ANP) had not asked Taliban to lay down arms rather demanded of them to renounce violence.
It was just a few weeks ago that Reuters put out a story based on “military, intelligence and government sources that the leadership of the TTP warring among themselves, and was on the run. This story was a lie, and Rupee News was very skeptical about the picture painted by the Reuters story.
The Long War Journal and the Short War Journal –sites attributed to American intelligence quickly refuted the Reuters story saying that there was no information to indicate the TTP denouement.
Obviously the news story was either planted or was a means to spread discord within the TTP, or was simply misinformation spread to demoralize the TTP ranks. It also possibly indicated a total lack of information about the TTP. This is the most dangerous aspect of the drama. If Pakistani intelligence sources are in the dark about the basics of the TTP, then there is a huge colossal.
It is obvious that Colombo did not have information about the LTTE, and the UK did not have the information abour the IRA. Islamabad may be in a similar position about the TTP. THe LTTE got its funding from Bharat. The IRA got its indirect and private funding from (Believe it or not) Irish Americans. The TTP has many sources of funding, Afghanistan, Bharat and the USA (directly or indirectly).
A video was released on Friday, unmistakingly showing the TTP chief , Hakimullah Mehsud sitting with his deputy Waliur Rehman, dispells. The video comes on the heels of three recent major attacks in Peshawar , rockets and suicide attacks on the airport, the kidnap of 23 paramilitary soldiers, and the killing of a senior leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) leader Bashir Bilour.
The recent reports of a evolving schism between the two powerful militant commanders are obviously false. There have been numerous false reports of the death of these terrorists.
“There is no divide in TTP. I and Maulvi Waliur Rehman are one, and look, we are sitting together. The propaganda of a rift in Taliban ranks is totally untrue.” Hakimullah Mehsud pointing to Rehman in the 45-minute Pashto language video. The video was sent to various local media outlets.
The Pakistani military officials had said that the two top TTP commanders were at odds with each other, with Hakimullah Mehsud having lost to the ever so slightly moderate deputy leader Waliur Rehman.
However in the video Hakimullah was sitting besides Waliur Rehman, who commands the Mehsud Taliban. Hakimullah said that the TTP wants “meaningful and serious dialogue”.
He then pointed out the failings of the peace agreement.
- “We are and we have always been open to dialogue…but true talks. The Sararoga peace agreement solemnized by Amir Baitullah Mehsud is an example which was openly breached by the (Pakistani) government many times. Despite repeated requests by Governor Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai, the rulers on the behest of their US masters violated the agreement and resorted to bloodshed in the tribal areas.” Hakimullah
- “But I would say Pakistan has no authority to hold talks. If it dissociates itself from the Americans and gets ready for meaningful and free talks with the Taliban, we are ready to do it any time…We are though not interested in useless and baseless talks, with control from abroad.” Hakimullah.
- Confirming Mehsud’s stance, Rehman reiterated the obvious. It is unreasonable for the Pakhtuns of the area to lay down their arms. What can be expected is that they point their guns at others.
- “But yes, we can sit and talk and reach a consensus for ceasefire,” he said. “However, talks should be serious and free of any foreign pressure, which the Pakistani rulers are unable to resist.” Rehman
- Explaining the tattooed fighter, Rehman said “All are mujahideen and are our brothers. The activities carried out recently were purely our own mujahideens and if needed we have foreign fighters who can be used any time.” Rehman
The TTP rose to prominence following a Pakistan Army raid on the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in 2007.
KP senior minister Bashir Bilour was described as staunch enemy by Rehman “enemies are dealt with in the same manner.”
The top commanders of the TTP said that their fight was not specifically against the ANP, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), or the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), but against the “system which has enslaved the Pakistani nation”, accusing the political parties of “supporting it on the behest of the US and foreign masters.”
- “I would clear one thing: our war is against the infidel ideology and not against individuals or one party. Anyone who would be supportive of this ideology, he would be on our hit list” Mehsud.