Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday announced that the government had decided to suspend the air strikes on terrorist hideouts which were going on for a few days.

He welcomed the call for a month-long ceasefire by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Saturday.

He reiterated that the government had not launched a military operation against terrorists anywhere in the country since it took over in June last year and whatever action was taken was in response to terror strikes.

The government has repeatedly clarified that the military had a right to self-defence if its personnel were targeted. Chaudhry Nisar’s announcement comes after consultation with the Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.

While stating that the government had responded to the TTP’s positive announcement on Saturday, the minister was clear that it will not tolerate violence and reserves the right to retaliate in such cases.

TTP announcement

On Saturday, a TTP spokesperson announced a month-long ceasefire and had asked all the groups to observe it in a move aimed at ending the deadlock in the peace talks with the government-appointed committee.

The TTP took this decision after it consulted the nominees it had appointed to carry out the dialogue.

Peace talks came to a standstill after the brutal killing of 23 security personnel by the Mohmand agency faction of the TTP and the government chose to go ahead with surgical strikes to hit terrorist hideouts.

The federal cabinet had demanded an unconditional ceasefire from the TTP if talks were to go ahead.

However, on Saturday a polio team was attacked and at least 11 people were killed in Jamrud in two bomb blasts. Security officials said that helicopter gunships targeted the Mulla Tamanchay Markez in Bara, Khyber Agency on Sunday morning.

The terrorist group which was involved in Saturday’s attack on polio teams in Jamrud was under fire. Unconfirmed reports said some terrorists were killed in the strike.