Controversial peace talks with banned Tehreek-e-Taliban is the popular topic of the media nowadays. Every newspaper and television channel seeks to update the public about peace talks with the Taliban. Our society has been divided into two major segments: One segment of the Pakistani Society totally denies this peace dialog with the Taliban by arguing that it has not any legal or ethical foundation. Their point of view is that the Taliban are criminals who have brutally killed thousands of innocent Pakistani including civilian as well as military. The Pakistani law does not allow the state to negotiate with any armed group who challenges the writ of the state. Hence, the government does not have any mandate to negotiate with such criminals without keeping in confidence the families of martyrs. Most of Sunni (Barelvi), Shia, and minority religious groups are against this peace dialogue with the Taliban. Similarly, some political parties, especially MQM, APML, ANP, and President of PPP have also shown their concern over this peace dialogue process. It is furthermore a popular perception in the media and civil society to disapprove the talks, and the Pakistan Army also has a serious concern regarding the peace negotiations with the Taliban.
On other hand, PML (N), JUI, JI, and Tehreek-e-Insaaf openly favour this peace dialogue. They argue that the Taliban are Pakistani citizens. Ex-President General Pervez Musharraf’s policy to fight terrorism forced the Taliban to take aggressive steps in Pakistan. Supporter of the negotiations also claimed that the terrorism in Pakistan constitutes a direct reaction to Amercian drone attacks. They suggest that dialogue is the only way to curb terrorist activities in Pakistan. The Prime Minister established a new committee which will directly communicate with the Taliban leadership while earlier committees (Government & Taliban) will play the role of facilitators. The new government committee comprises of bureaucrats except Mr. Rustam Shah Mohmand. Most of the defense and political analysts see the negotiations in the prospective of changing Pakistan foreign policy especially with regard to issues of the middle east and Syria. Famous columnist Haroon Rashid said that Saudi Arabia is demanding 1 lac army soldiers from Pakistan to engage them in the Syrian war. It is said that 1.5 Billion $ have been gifted by Saudi Arabia to Nawaz’ government as an initial price of this demand. It also seems to be a common perception of the media that the government does not agree to send the proper army, but they would like to negotiate with the Taliban in order to convince them to participate in the war against the Syrian government. All pro-Saudi religious and political parties are striving hard to make the peace talk process successful. It seems like the deal has been finalized and most Taliban groups agree with this offer. Tehran Radio Pashtoo Service reporter Adnan Rasheed reported that the Pakistan government has already sent Anti Aircraft and Anti Tank missiles through C-130 Aeroplanes to Jordon on the demand of Saudi Arabia and this information has also been verified by the famous columnist Najam Sethi.
During the recent visit of the Saudi crown prince, Pakistani Prime Minister and Saudi Crown Prince Suleman bin Abdul Aziz issued a joint statement on the Syrian issue. They jointly demanded that an interim government should be established in Syria, which will eventually ensure peace in Syria. Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhat Ullah Baber demanded the government to clear their position on the situation in Syria. Pakistan already has a clear policy of non-interference on the issue of Syria and other issues concerning the Muslim world. Taliban Peace negotiations and change in Pakistan foreign policy are certainly interlinked with each other. If the Pakistan government gets involved in the war in Syria by sending troops, military and missiles against Syria on the demand of Saudi Arabia, then our state will certainly face big (internal & external) challenges. Before taking such unwise step, we should therefore keep in mind that Iran, Russia, Iraq, Lebanon and China openly support the Syrian government. It is better for Pakistan to keep itself away from this complicated crisis. Pakistan‘s meager economy and poor situation of internal security do not permit us to involve in current international war games.