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Taliban in charge? 

Published: February 13, 2011

We should not need a militant outfit to enforce peace agreements. PHOTO: AFP

Sometimes one is forced to wonder who is in control of this country. A few days after Shia and Sunni tribal elders from Kurram Agency reached a peace agreement in Islamabad, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief in the agency, Fazal Saeed, told a press conference (addressed from a secret location) that his organisation would ensure that the peace deal was respected and would punish violators if the government or the jirga failed to do so. Coming from an organisation that is banned and guilty of crimes of the most horrendous nature, the whole thing seems a little high-handed, to put it mildly — as if the TTP is presiding over a government which is subservient to it.

The situation should not be taken lightly. The authorities need to assert the writ of state. We should not need a militant outfit to enforce peace agreements or act in other ways to keep order. The situation also demonstrates that, many months after the task to wage war on them began, the TTP remains an active, confident force, able to make its voice heard and impress on people the notion that it is fully in command of swathes of territory and, as such, in charge of their lives, determining whether or not it agrees with certain peace deals and warning that it is willing to mete out punishments under ‘Sharia’, or rather its interpretation of it.

All this is farcical. We have lost control of our country to a band of thugs. The territories they hold need to be wrested back from them. The government needs to ensure that it is the force in charge of affairs rather than a redundant entity with no real ability to influence events in large tracts of the country. This would amount to chaos — and we seem to be descending towards it at a perilous pace.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2011.

 

SOURCE:  http://tribune.com.pk/story/118298/taliban-in-charge/

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