Islamabad [Pakistan], August 22 (ANI): Residents of Swat and Lower Dir district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan held protests against the return of outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, reported South Asia Media Research Institute (SAMRI).
The return of the dreaded TTP to Pakistan's northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is causing great anxiety among civilians. "We are not willing to tolerate any Taliban or other terrorists," Jabber Khan, a lawyer who helped organize the protests in Lower Dir, said.
Meanwhile, the outlawed TTP has warned nationalist and secular groups to stop levelling allegations against the banned outfit. TTP in a statement said that some pro-western groups were frustrated as the situation showed signs of improvement between the outlawed group and the government, Dawn reported.
"These people do not want Pakistan to be peaceful and prosperous. That's why these groups are trying to create an impression from different platforms that Taliban are being brought to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the merged districts, under the garb of negotiations," said the statement.
According to the statement, TTP reiterated its stance on various occasions that it wanted real peace in the country. And it further stated that TTP was neither anti-state nor was it working for anti-Pakistan powers.
The statement said that TTP did not want to clash with any religious or political party. It warned liberal, secular and nationalist groups to refrain from making baseless propaganda and levelling allegations against it. It added that those parties, keeping under consideration its policies, should not choose the path of confrontation.
"These parties suffered losses in the past because of their wrong policies," it claimed.
Awami National Party highlighted the issue of extortion and the resurgence of militants in the province. The party also blamed members of the provincial cabinet for paying extortion money to the Taliban, according to Dawn.
Reacting to the allegation of ANP, TTP denied its involvement in extortion, amid the resurgence of the armed groups in Swat, Dir and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
"We (TTP) appeal to all patriotic and Islam-loving people not to pay attention to the baseless propaganda of the atheist elements. These secular and nationalist elements are the enemies of Islam and this country. These groups do not want the supremacy of Islam," said the statement.
A political analyst, while commenting on the TTP statement, said that the entire world was wondering how a particular group could fight against a state for such a long time without any substantial financial resources.
"Is it possible to continue such a long conflict against the state, without resources?" he questioned, reported Dawn.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Pakistan has increasingly complained of attacks across the border from Afghanistan, an issue that has become a source of diplomatic tension.
Talks between the two sides began in October 2021 to seek a political solution to the issue. The talks that were held at the request of the Afghan Taliban led to a one-month ceasefire in November. However, the truce could not last long as differences emerged soon.
The ongoing peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan government reached a stalemate as the outlawed group refused to give in on its demand for the reversal of the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Despite a series of meetings between the two sides in recent weeks to break the impasse, there has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down arms in case of a peace deal. (ANI)