Sat, 28 Jan 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 2 (ANI): The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) this week called off the ceasefire with the government, posing a serious challenge for the newly appointed army chief General Asim Munir.

TTP ended the ceasefire agreed with the government in June and ordered fighters to stage attacks across the country, the Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.

"As military operations are ongoing against mujahideen in different areas [...] so it is imperative for you to carry out attacks wherever you can in the entire country," the banned outfit said in a statement.

The Islamic group's violent campaign had been picking up pace in recent months, with the most significant attack coming in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's (KP) Lakki Marwat district last month, in which at least six policemen were martyred.

According to Dawn, the Quetta attack signals the new beginning of a violent post-ceasefire campaign by the TTP, unless the security establishment and political leadership start to nip this evil in the bud.

The TTP, a Pakistani offshoot and close ally of the Afghan Taliban, is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations. According to UN estimates, it has between 4,000 to 6,500 fighters in Afghanistan. Its spread is beyond the tribal belt, to Pakistani cities.

Armed terrorists on November 16 ambushed a police patrol in KP, killing all six policemen. Local officials told Al Jazeera the incident took place when the police vehicle was fired upon in the city of Lakki Marwat, about 200 km from the provincial capital of Peshawar.

In another incident, two soldiers were killed in a shootout with terrorists in the Hilal Khel area in Bajaur. Such clashes are routine in the difficult-to-govern terrain that borders Afghanistan, where TTP finds refuge, according to International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS).

The failure of the federal and provincial governments to curb militancy has unsettled the people's lives. Protests of a unique kind have gained ground with people who want peace from TTP's depredations.

The Shehbaz Sharif government's response, however, has been to jail the protestors. People accuse the government of having failed to curb the TTP cadres, IFFRAS reported. Foreign observers also report collusion between the terrorists and the government.

TTP fighters were largely routed into neighbouring Afghanistan, but Islamabad claims the Taliban in Kabul are now giving the TTP a foothold to stage assaults across the border. (ANI)

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