Pakistan Security Brief
TTP announces it will not extend ceasefire, but remains committed to peace talks with the government; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: talks with TTP to continue despite absence of ceasefire agreement; TTP negotiating committee will try to convince TTP to extend ceasefire; Head of TTP negotiating committee calls on government, TTP to show restraint; Prime Minister will visit Iran next month; Gunmen in Swat district kill peace committee member; Pakistan’s economic growth slows from 5 to 3.2 percent in second quarter; Army to take over security for polio teams in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
TTP Peace Talks
According to a Wednesday article by the BBC, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid announced that the TTP will not extend the ceasefire that expired on April 10th. Shahid stated that the group remained committed to peace talks with the government, but that the TTP would not extend the ceasefire due to the fact that the government has been ignoring its demands. Shahid described the establishment of a peace zone, the release of non-combatants, and the suspension of security forces’ operations in the tribal areas as “realistic demands” that would have built confidence and defused tensions between the TTP and the government. The emir of the TTP Mohmand agency, Umar Khalid Khurasani, also issued a statement, saying that the government was not serious about peace talks and that the only way to implement Sharia law in Pakistan was through jihad.
On Thursday at the Cabinet Committee on National Security, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that despite the TTP’s decision to not extend the ceasefire, peace talks would continue and would be based on a “wait and see policy.” Committee members also discussed issues related to internal and external security as well as the government’s commitment to improving relations with neighboring countries.
On Thursday, senior Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader and negotiator for the TTP, Professor Ibrahim Khan, said that the TTP negotiating committee would try to convince the TTP to extend the ceasefire and would continue to work toward peace. Khan also called on the government to take steps that would build trust between the two sides.
On Thursday, the head of the TTP’s negotiating committee, Maulana Samiul Haq, stated that the committee was working to extend the ceasefire and called on both the TTP and the government to exercise restraint in the absence of a formal ceasefire agreement.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that Pakistan’s economy grew 4.1 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year. The Express Tribune cited a source in the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics who said that the economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent in the second quarter, a slowdown from 5 percent growth in the first quarter.