Question Mark on TTP’s authority over local commanders/splinter groups

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By Gul Dad

During the day, 5 violent activities related to anti-state armed conflicts were reported in which 25 people were killed and 87 others injured. All the casualties and injuries were caused by four militant activities as there was only one security forces action reported during the day in which four suspected militants were arrested in Karachi. Militant used IEDs in two activities (Quetta & Dera Bugti), one was suicide attack (in Peshawar) while incident in Kohat was an intra-militant clash. Thus two violent militant activities were reported from Baluchistan while same number of activities were reported from KP. Though number of incidents follows a consistent pattern as of the week but the lethality of these two attacks and their security as well as political implications are much beyond the other incidents of the last seven days as shown in the graph.

After brief lull period, violent activities have erupted again with two separate but notable militant attacks in Peshawar and Quetta. Lessor known group Ahrar-ul-Hind has once again claimed responsibility of both the attacks. The group had also claimed responsibility of Islamabad district courts gun-cum-suicide attack of 3 March 2014 two days after the announcement of ceasefire by the TTP. Both the attacks took place when there were positive developments in Government-TTP peace initiative as the government has decided to enter into direct talks with the TTP and constituted a new committee while TTP negotiators have just returned back after holding two-day meeting with Taliban Shura wherein the TTP has agreed to enter into direct talks with the government. Although in earlier incident in Islamabad, the TTP had merely disassociated itself from Ahrar-ul-Hind and stopped short of out-rightly condemning the attack but this time the TTP categorically condemned the attacks.

In the hindsight, Yesterday’s incidents in Peshawar and Quetta brought to fore very dangerous propositions i.e. either TTP leadership has lost its influence (or have no influence at all) on its various factions or it intentionally allowed various so-called splinter groups to continue with their anti-state activities to buy sufficient time to re-group in the wake of divided political opinion regarding talks/ operation. Both the propositions present a horrible picture. In case of former, implementation of any peace agreement resulting from such talks would be questionable. In case of latter, this region will plunge further into chaos given the draw-down of coalition/ US forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Even if Ahrar-ul-Hind is operating outside the influence of the TTP leadership, it has sufficient backing of Al-Qaeda along with other anti-state elements as returning of normalcy to FATA and other areas bordering Afghanistan is not in their interest.

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