‘Still open’ to ceasefire deal with Pakistani government, says TTP chief

PESHAWAR: The leader of prohibitions Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said his group was “still open” to a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government, according to media reports.
In November last year, the TTP canceled an indefinite ceasefire agreed with the government in June 2022 and ordered its militants to carry out attacks on security forces.
The TTP, which is suspected of having close ties to al-Qaeda, has threatened to target top leaders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s PML-N and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari‘s PPP if the ruling coalition continues to apply strict measures against the activists.
However, the feared outfit insisted they had not abandoned the ceasefire agreement with the government.
“We have held talks with Pakistan mediated by the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. We are still open to the ceasefire agreement,” the Dawn newspaper quoted. Head TTP Mufti Nour Wali Mehsood as said in a video on Saturday.
Mehsood’s shift in stance comes amid reports he has sought advice from religious scholars in Pakistan.
In the video message, Mehsood said his team is “open to advice” from Pakistani religious scholars if they think “the direction of our jihad” is wrong, according to the Express Tribune newspaper.
“If you find any problem in the jihad we have waged [against this global infidel agenda], if you think that we have changed direction, that we have gone astray, then you are asked to guide us. We are always ready to listen to your arguments with pleasure,” said the head of the TTP.
Mehsood’s comments come amid a sharp rise in violence across Pakistan.
On Saturday, Pakistani police arrested five TTP terrorists during intelligence-based operations in Punjab province.
More than 5,000 tribal members held a rally on Friday in Wana, the seat of the South Waziristan tribal district, against growing unrest, terrorism and kidnappings in their areas.
The protest comes amid growing terrorist attacks in the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces which are believed to have been carried out by TTP militants.
The TTP, also known as the Taliban of Pakistan, was established in 2007 as an umbrella group of several militant groups.
His main goal is to impose his strict brand of Islam across Pakistan.
Pakistan had hoped that after coming to power the Afghan Taliban would stop using their soil against Pakistan by expelling TTP members, but they apparently refused to do so at the cost of strained ties with Islamabad.
The TTP has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on the army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. .
In 2012, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was attacked by TTP.
In 2014, the Pakistani Taliban stormed the army public school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 150 people, including 131 students.
The attack sent shockwaves across the world and was widely condemned.

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