The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) commonly known as Pakistan Taliban has accused Islamabad of sabotaging the ongoing peace negotiations. The proscribed group also warned that if its demands were not met, it would be forced to call off the indefinite ceasefire.
“If the Pakistan government wants to flee from meaningful negotiations, then we have no problem. We will wage a countrywide jihad,” the TTP said in a statement. The group also refused to hold talks under the framework of the Pakistani constitution, as it was not based on Sharia law.
“Our Mujahideen will have the opportunity to wage jihad in the country since freedom and sovereignty are our rights as are practicing our religious and national values” says the statement . It added that “TTP members will never give up arms and surrender.”
The TTP leaders also made it clear that their demand for reversal of FATA merger is non-negotiable and it was made clear to the negotiators of the Pakistani security establishment.
“They (Pakistan army) had assured us in the beginning of the fresh talks that demerger of the FATA region will be done and we will be free to implement Sharia laws in our land but if they want to back off, we will have no other option but to fight them off but we will never surrender or disarm and will continue to fight Pakistani security forces in case of no agreement.” In 2018, the Imran Khan government merged the FATA, a lawless tribal area into the more tightly administered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, curbing TTP’s free movement in the area.
The Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has termed the demands of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) pertaining to the reversal of FATA merger and military withdrawal from tribal areas bordering Afghanistan as against the constitution, saying that “talks are possible with only those who are willing to surrender their arms”.
Referring to the Taliban’s Interior Minister and the “patron” of the TTP, Sirajuddin Haqqani’s participation in the ongoing talks, Sanaullah told the Pakistani army leadership that if “Afghanistan’s political leaders are participating in the talks, then politicians from our side will also take part in the negotiation.”
It may be recalled that the Pakistani establishment started the secret negotiations with the TTP on the assurances given by the Interior Minister of Taliban regime, Sirajuddin Haqqani that he would be using all his power to make the talks successful. However, it has been a month and the two sides have yet to find common ground on the main demands.
Earlier on Wednesday, the top military brass had briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif led civilian government and had assured the political leadership that no extra-constitutional concessions would be given to the militants and any deal arrived at would be subject to parliamentary approval. The meeting, the first of its kind since the coalition government came to power, was called after the many coalition partners including PPP protested that the civilian leadership was being sidelined in the ongoing negotiations with the militants.
According to sources, the former ISI chief and the Corp Commander of Peshawar Faiz Hameed who is the chief negotiator from the army side was questioned about the “secret” talks by the government. He was told that there is no question of “pardoning” the hardcore militants of the TTP who have been sentenced to death or lifer by the Pakistani courts.
Pakistani watchers say the latest statements by the TTP are nothing but attempts at gaining time to regroup their cadres.
“Talks with TTP are destined to fail as militants are openly declaring to not submit to the constitution. Even today, TTP is threatening to attack Pakistan and the Pakistani army is silent. It is very shameful.” said Rana Shabbir Hussain, a Pakistani analyst.
Some Pakistani watchers believe that the Pakistani security establishment has been committing blunder after blunder in its approach to deal with the TTP.
“They (Pakistan army) have been refusing to learn from its past mistakes. They have been relying too much on Afghanistan and Allah. Do not know about Allah, but too much reliance on Afghanistan (The Taliban) will backfire.”
Action initiated, says SpiceJet on smoking video inside aircraft
Referring to a video making rounds on social media of a passenger smoking onboard a SpiceJet aircraft, the airline on Thursday said that the issue was probed, and necessary action was taken into the matter.
The passenger was put on a No Flying list by the airline for 15 days in February this year, said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
“The matter had been investigated thoroughly in January 2022 when the video was brought to our notice and a complaint had been filed by the airline with the Udyog Vihar police station in Gurugram. The video, the investigation had revealed, was shot on January 20 while passengers were boarding the flight SG 706 scheduled to operate from Dubai to Delhi,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
The airline said that the said passenger and his co-passengers shot the video on the 21st row when the cabin crew were occupied with completing the on-boarding procedure.
“None of the passengers or crew was aware of the act. The matter came to the airline’s notice on January 24 through social media posts,” it added.
The matter was referred to the Internal Committee constituted as per the provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on handling of unruly passengers (not consisting of any SpiceJet employee). The said passenger was put on a no flying list by the airline for 15 days in February.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday directed the concerned authorities to probe a person who in violation of rules lit up a cigarette and smoked on an aircraft. Responding to a video on Twitter, Scindia said: “Investigating it. There will be no tolerance towards such hazardous behaviour.”
Gold, cash worth Rs 390 cr seized in week-long I-T raid in Maharashtra’s Jalna
The Income Tax Department has seized cash and valuables worth Rs 390 crore following a raid on the premises of Maharashtra’s Jalna businessman, who deals in garments, real estate and in steel.
I-T department’s 260 officials divided into five teams carried out a week-long raid. The agency used 120 vehicles to carry out this raid.
Sources said that they seized around Rs 58 crore in cash, 32 kg gold and valuable stones.
The source also said that it took 13 hours to count the cash.
“It was a week-long raid that started from August 1. Our Nasik Branch team got the tip off following which the raids were conducted. Seeing the gravity of the matter we formed teams of 260 officials divided into five teams. We also used 120 of our vehicles in the raid,” the source said.
The source said that the cash recovered from the premises of garments and steel businessman was taken to Nasik branch of State Bank of India, where it was counted for hours. The bank employees started counting the cash at around 11 a.m., which went on till 1 a.m.
The I-T department got the tip off that there were irregularities in the accounts of four steel companies after which the teams swung into action.
The team of 260 officials raided the factories but they didn’t recover anything. Later they raided a farm house where they found the huge cash and valuables.
Nupur Sharma Row: SC clubs, transfers all FIRs to Delhi Police
The Supreme Court on Wednesday transferred all the FIRs lodged against suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad to Delhi Police.
The top court gave her the liberty to approach the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIRs, and also declined to entertain a plea moved by the West Bengal government for a court-monitored SIT probe.
A bench comprising justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala ordered clubbing of all the FIRs registered across the country against Sharma, which will be probed by the Delhi Police.
The top court in the process brushed aside vehement opposition by the West Bengal government, which wanted its police to be part of the SIT with the Delhi Police or a court-appointed SIT.
The bench allowed Sharma to move the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIRs lodged or to be lodged for her alleged remarks in the future.
It added that all the FIRs to be lodged in future in connection with her remarks will be transferred to Delhi Police.
The top court made it clear that protection from arrest to Sharma will continue in all pending and future FIRs. The bench also noted that an FIR has been registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of Delhi Police, which is a specialised agency, and suggested that it should carry out the investigation.
Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing the West Bengal government, objected to the transfer of FIRs to Delhi Police by saying that the first FIR against Sharma was registered in Mumbai, and argued that the accused cannot be allowed to pick the jurisdiction.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Sharma, said the top court’s intervention is required, as his client has received life threats after the TV debate where she made the alleged remarks.
On July 19, the top court had ordered that no coercive action can be taken against Sharma in FIRs already registered and also in future FIRs in connection with her remarks.
The top court had said: “Meanwhile, as an interim measure it is directed that no coercive action shall be taken against Nupur Sharma pursuant to the impugned FIRs.”
Sharma had moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on her arrest in the nine FIRs filed against her for her remarks on Prophet Muhammad and also sought clubbing/quashing of the FIRs with the FIR registered in Delhi.
On July 1, the top court had minced no words in slamming Sharma, whose remarks on the Prophet sparked a nationwide controversy. The top court had said that her loose tongue has set the entire country on fire and her irresponsible remarks shows that she is “obstinate and arrogant”.
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