Negotiator Between Taliban And Pakistan Steps Down But Nobody Asked Him To Mediate In The First Place

Maulana Sami ul Haq has left the building.

Maulana Sami ul Haq has left the building.

The man responsible for negotiating peace between the Tehreek-e-Taliban and the Pakistan government has decided to step down after a military air strike killed 40 suspected militants in North Waziristan.

The question is though; who asked him to negotiate in the first place? Not the Pakistani government.

So it would seem that the cleric believed to maintain close ties with Afghan Taliban Chief Mullah Omar nominated himself, making it apparent that anyone can step in to mediate talks of such immense magnitude.  

Is the Pakistan government so incapable of holding talks through its own officials that it supports anyone willing to take on the role of peacemaker?

Haq stepped down because he believed that the government was not serious about the talks. “I had requested them to avoid a military operation and use of force, but yesterday it started bombing North Waziristan and the tribal areas,” he said.

“Both sides (Taliban and government) are in a state of war. Innocent citizens and soldiers are dying,” he said in the statement. A military operation is not the answer: we should instead put all our passion into the process of talks. In such a situation I want to separate myself from this bloody tragedy.”

Despite never being officially appointed, the cleric, whose seminary awarded a doctorate to Mullah Omar, does wield some influence in the Taliban and his withdrawal signals a further stalemate in peace talks.

When it comes to tackling terrorism within its borders, it has been a terrible year for the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan government. There has been no let up in suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism and the Taliban is unwilling to sit on the negotiating table until their “conditions are met”.

While some like the Imran Khan-led political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf believe that dialogue is the only way forward, many from the more liberal urban centers urge the government to bomb the militants into oblivion.

But while the government is scratching its heads over which approach to use, innocent people are losing their lives on the streets of Pakistan. One can only hope they find a solution soon.