Pakistan’s security establishment has long believed that imperatives of foreign policy – sub conventional war or support for proxy groups in India and Afghanistan – override domestic imperatives. Hence, supporting and nurturing jihadi groups to attack inside India and takeover power in Afghanistan is critical and any blowback from that – whether deaths of Pakistani citizens or a radicalization of society is something that the state can handle.
The triumphalism of Pakistan’s state at the return to power of their favored proxy, the Afghan Taliban, notwithstanding, it appears that this time round dealing with groups like Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan will not be as easy especially since the Afghan Taliban have shown no interest in asking their namesake group to compromise with the Pakistani state.
In a recent interview Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that his government was in talks with some groups of the TTP, adding that the talks are taking place in Afghanistan. Khan said, “And then we forgive them (TTP) and they become normal citizens once they lay down their arms.”
According to investigative reports by RFERL, while the Hafiz Gul Bahadar group of the TTP announced a 20-day ceasefire with the government of Pakistan, the TTP leadership, however, says there is no ceasefire and directed its fighters to continue operations as usual.
Analysts, political leaders and commentators immediately attacked this policy of the government by asking why it was giving in to those who had killed innocent Pakistanis, including children during the December 2014 massacre at Army Public School, Peshawar. There are also videos on social media from parents whose children were killed in that massacre.