ISLAMABAD: Noting with concern the resurgence of terror activities in Pakistan, the security bosses are set to suggest to the government not to proceed with the unilateral release of Taliban prisoners without ensuring a solid response on this count from the other side.
The 172nd Corps Commanders’ Conference is said to have deliberated at length over the internal security situation in the aftermath of the resurgence of the militant violence, and the security strategy is to be devised accordingly. It was the six commanders moot Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif chaired since assuming the military’s command last November. The meeting was held a day after a top pro-government tribal leader and peace militia chief Malik Qadir Khan was gunned down in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) on Thursday, allegedly by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This coincided with a TTP statement that war and peace talks could not go together.
“Professional matters were discussed. The participants also undertook comprehensive review of the prevalent internal and external security situation of the country,” a brief statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued after the commander’s meet-up said. Vibes from the meeting suggest that the military brass holds serious concerns over the release of additional TTP prisoners amid no positive response from the terror outfit, and has rejected the proposed move. In this regard, the army command is excepted to give a related briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his return from United Kingdom from an official tour, sometime in the coming days.
In an expression of concern over the TTP’s recent statement, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday also said that peace talks cannot proceed in an “atmosphere of tension”. The statement came just days after the government received a reported list from Taliban for the release of more TTP prisoners. At least 32 TTP men have already been released as a “goodwill gesture” in line with the government’s reconciliatory policy vis-à-vis Taliban. Earlier on Wednesday, the army chief pledged support to the peace talks while reiterating that the armed forces were fully capable of crushing the anti-state elements if they did not mend their fences.
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