Talks’ engagement with TTP suits American withdrawal

TTP-End GameBy F Z Khan

The US commitment of “cooperating in talks with TTP” is an indication of the CIA drone campaign suspension for understandable reasons. Yes suspension, not a complete halt because engaging the Pakistani Taliban in talks would help facilitate in providing the American containers a secure path to Karachi and Gwadar. Suspension in drone strikes can provide Islamabad a two way opportunity; to engage the Taliban in constructive dialogue, and secure a permanent peace deal that may lead to a positive outcome that can ultimately result in permanent halt in the drone campaign beyond 2014.

It would depend upon both Islamabad and Peshawar how they play their cards in the coming months. The six working groups promise is an otherwise a time gaining tactic to which the Pakistani establishment will have to avail what it is not likely to be offered till the last container reaches Karachi port. Pakistan’s road network would badly suffer and if Islamabad demands from the US road repair plan, safety measures equipment and passage taxing, it would be one of the gains the government can cash in on. It has not much time. Once the withdrawal is complete, and in case Pakistan does not play safe, it will be in trouble as the Pandora’s box would be open to American demands for Mumbai case trial suspects, how safe is Pakistan’s nuclear program; TTP can stage a comeback after reasserting and regrouping. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Imran Khan and other partners will have to join hands together to evolve a pre-emptive strategy. Sooner the better.

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