Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has, in multiple interviews and addresses, admitted that he had wished to resettle at least 5,000 fighters of the banned Tehreek-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), as well as their roughly 35,000 family members, in Pakistan from Afghanistan. He claims the plan failed to materialize because the provinces refused to provide the funding necessary for this, adding this could have prevented the militants from attacking security forces in the Pakistan. Since ending a ceasefire last November, the TTP have claimed attacks across the country, proving they are not territorially limited and are seeking to challenge the state of Pakistan.
It is clear from the TTP’s statements to media that the group desires the imposition of shariah in Pakistan. This would entail adopting the worst policies of the Afghan Taliban, including but not limited to denying women their rights, and restrictions on minorities that no democracy can tolerate. Looking at the state of an Afghanistan led by the Taliban, you can see the implementation of a tribal form of governance and jurisprudence, enforcement of gender segregation, revival of a tribal economy, and implementation of primitive punishments and medieval diplomacy. If this is also the TTP’s agenda, then it would only be satisfied with the rubbishing of the Constitution, posing a significant threat to Pakistan’s entire basis of governance.
In various speeches and official statements, the incumbent government has rejected the peace talks and resettlement advocated by Khan and vowed to tackle militancy through targeted military operations. Khan, however, continues to shy from outright condemning the TTP, with observers saying this either harkens back to his “soft corner” for the militants or a means to achieve his goal of the government’s ouster. Simply put, the TTP is a band of non-state actors that must be eliminated if the state’s sovereignty is to be protected. Khan does not agree, maintaining that the “proud mujahideen” are only angry at Pakistan’s participation in the U.S.-led war on terror after the events of 9/11. As one observer noted: “Imran Khan claims that immediately after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, there was a golden opportunity to resolve the TTP issue. To this day, he has not explained why, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the time of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, he failed to take advantage of this golden opportunity.”