PRESIDENT Arif Alvi has suggested that the Pakistani government could consider giving an amnesty to those members of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who have not remained involved in “criminal activities” and who lay down their weapons and agree to adhere to the Pakistani Constitution.
In an interview, he said the Taliban have conveyed to Pakistan that they would declare that members of the banned TTP can live in Afghanistan but they must not do any activity against Pakistan.
The issue of general amnesty has assumed relevance after its success in neighbouring Afghanistan where the Taliban announced to pardon all those who commit to live in peace in the country.
If the Government is willing to talk to the dissidents in Balochistan, there is every reason to treat similar elements elsewhere in the same way provided, as pointed out by the President, they give up terror and violence and lead their lives as peaceful citizens.
In the case of Pakistan, the formula of general amnesty can work only if the Taliban Government in Afghanistan moves firmly in line with its declared commitment of not allowing the use of their soil for any negative activities against other countries.
TTP’s back has been broken in Pakistan and its activities are now centred in Afghanistan where its members are having safe havens.
They would find no place to continue their violent agenda if the Taliban Government keeps a strict vigil on their activities and hands over all those who persist with their nefarious designs to Pakistan.
The idea of general amnesty can bring thousands of elements back into the national mainstream and this could contribute towards the goal of durable peace and security.
However, nothing should be done in haste and the general amnesty should be announced after fuller but written understanding with the Taliban Government on the fate of TTP in Afghanistan.