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If last week’s killings are positive response, one wonders what negative response would be like. The Taliban have responded to the government committee’s appeal to stop violence by launching more terrorist attacks. On Friday a suicide bomber blew himself up near the vehicle of a Rangers’ officer injuring four including officers. On Saturday five people were injured in two successive bomb blasts near Orangi Town. On Sunday a police constable was killed in Peshawar. One fails to understand what keeps Nawaz Sharif upbeat about the future of talks. On way back from Turkey he told a newspaper reporter that Taliban had given a positive response to the government’s initial efforts for restoration of peace. If about a week of uninterrupted deadly attacks is to be interpreted as a positive response, one wonders what would constitute a negative response. In essence the government’s stand is not much different from that of the dyed-in-the wool Taliban supporters. Led by Samiul Haq a number of them have advised the government never to attack the TTP even if the talks fail ‘100 times’. This is what the terrorists want: freedom to continue the killing spree with impunity. Is the government not abdicating its constitutional duty to provide security of life to citizens by turning a blind eye to the killings? The clerics argue that any military operation would lead to endless bloodshed in the country and threaten its existence. But hasn’t the TTP indulged in endless bloodshed over all these years ? Is the virtual surrender by the PML-N government to the TTP that one sees taking place not threatening the state’s existence?One is yet to know the response of the ISPR on the statement by Imran Khan. The PTI leader had said that the prime minister had quoted the former Army Chief Gen (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as saying that there was only a 40 per cent chance of success of a military operation against the militants in the tribal areas. Raja Zafarul Haq had told the Senate that Khan had misquoted Sharif. But the prime minister’s remarks during a chat with television anchor aboard his aircraft have compounded the confusion. They have raised questions about the army’s assessment of the situation in case of use of force in North Waziristan. Sharif said that various figures had come under discussion on different occasions as the situation kept changing. “Not only 40 per cent, but there were some other figures as well”. A continuous silence by ISPR on the remark ascribed to former army chief would pose uneasy questions about the military’s position on the issue.

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