Islamabad, Pakistan – Armed group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has warned the nation’s essential ruling events of “concrete motion” in opposition to their high management within the authorities for “declaring conflict” in opposition to it.
An announcement launched by the TTP – also called Pakistani Taliban for its ideological affinity with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan – on Wednesday explicitly named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and international minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Sharif is the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which together with Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Individuals’s Occasion (PPP) are the principle coalition companions within the authorities.
“For a very long time, TTP has not taken any motion in opposition to political events,” TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani mentioned within the assertion shared with Al Jazeera on WhatsApp.
“[But] if these two events stay agency on their place … then motion will likely be taken in opposition to the leaders of those events. Individuals ought to keep away from going close to them,” it mentioned.
“[Our] goal is Pakistan’s safety forces who’re appearing in opposition to the nation’s curiosity upon needs of the West,” it added.
The TTP assertion additionally included a be aware of warning for Pakistan’s religion-based political events, urging them to not be part of any motion in opposition to the group.
“The TTP coverage doesn’t embrace focusing on your events however we request you to keep away from being a part of any exercise in opposition to us,” it mentioned.
The TTP menace got here two days after Pakistan’s high safety physique, the Nationwide Safety Committee (NSC), introduced its resolve to have “zero tolerance for terrorism” within the nation and “reaffirmed its willpower to tackle any and all entities that resort to violence”.
The NSC, which incorporates Sharif and newly appointed army chief Basic Asim Munir as its members, held a two-day assembly on December 30 and January 2 to evaluate the safety state of affairs in Pakistan.
The NSC assembly marked the tip of a tumultuous 2022 which noticed no less than 150 assaults by the TTP throughout the nation, killing dozens of individuals.
The TTP says it’s combating for the imposition of its hardline interpretation of Islamic legislation and a reversal of the merger of Pakistan’s tribal areas with the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
In November, the armed group unilaterally ended an Afghan Taliban-brokered ceasefire settlement with the federal government and ordered its fighters to launch extra assaults. Islamabad repeatedly accuses the Taliban of sheltering TTP management on Afghan soil – an allegation denied by Kabul.
In its assertion on Wednesday, the TTP accused Pakistan’s ruling coalition of working on the behest of the US. It mentioned Prime Minister Sharif “tried to please America by declaring a conflict” in opposition to the TTP.
“Sadly, it’s not clear how the present authorities fell underneath the spell of the US of America,” it mentioned.
On Tuesday, the US expressed its assist for Pakistan’s NSC declaration, saying it “has a proper to defend itself from terrorism”.
Throughout a information briefing on Tuesday, US State Division spokesman Ned Worth was requested if Pakistan may launch army operations inside Afghanistan to get rid of the TTP.
Worth mentioned the Afghan Taliban should uphold the dedication they made to not enable using Afghan soil as a launchpad for worldwide assaults. “These are among the many very commitments that the Taliban have been unable or unwilling to fulfil thus far,” he mentioned.
Nonetheless, the Afghan Taliban has constantly rejected the fees. In an announcement on Tuesday, its spokesman mentioned “the territory of Afghanistan just isn’t used in opposition to Pakistan or every other nation”, calling the fees “baseless and provocative”.
The TTP assertion mentioned international minister Bhutto Zardari is “attempting to quench the thirst for his mom by declaring America his mom”
Bhutto Zardari’s mom, the previous prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was allegedly assassinated by TTP males throughout an election rally in Rawalpindi metropolis in 2007, the yr the armed group got here into prominence.
5 males, alleged to be affiliated with former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, have been arrested for the killing. In 2017, the lads have been acquitted for lack of proof, however they continue to be in detention on different expenses.
The following yr, present TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, in his e-book British Raj to American Imperialism, acknowledged the group carried out the assault on Bhutto as a result of she had promised to focus on the group if elected.
Abdul Basit, a analysis fellow at S Rajaratnam Faculty of Worldwide Research in Singapore, instructed Al Jazeera the most recent TTP menace to Pakistan’s high political management in an election yr reminded him of an identical state of affairs a decade in the past.
“It’s déjà vu another time. In an odd flip of occasions, one decade later, 2023 reminds of 2013 when TTP spared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PMLN’s election campaigns for supporting the peace talks and focused different political events,” he mentioned.
Basit mentioned Bhutto Zardari was singled out by the TTP for his stance in opposition to violence in Pakistan.
“Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s mom was focused as a result of she by no means minced her phrases on taking motion in opposition to the group, and now her son has been singled out as a result of he’s additionally selecting to observe in his mom’s footsteps,” he mentioned.