After targeted military air strikes in North Waziristan and elsewhere, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Saturday announced a month-long ceasefire, according to news reports.
A TTP spokesperson is reported to have said that the outfit’s leadership had asked all its groups to observe the ceasefire and this was 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 with the government-appointed committee. 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. The government-appointed committee is hopeful now that the talks could be back on track once it gets a formal notification of the TTP's decision.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly last week that there was no military operation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas but the government would persist with surgical strikes as a self-defence tactic.
However, even as the TTP announced its ceasefire, a bomb attack killed at least 11 members of a polio team, including a child in Jamrud, Khyber Agency. Ten of those killed were security personnel guarding the polio team and two vehicles were damaged in two blasts caused by improvised explosive devices, news reports quoting the police said. At least ten others were injured in the blasts.
Central Information Secretary, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shireen Mazari, on Saturday welcomed the ceasefire announcement by the TTP as a positive move towards peace. The PTI has been pushing for a dialogue to resolve the issue of terrorism in the country.