ISLAMABAD – Files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad reveal that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif wanted a peace deal with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) through al Qaeda, PakistanTribes learnt through reports in news media.
Files revealed in terror convict Abid Naseer’s trial by a Brooklyn jury earlier this month show a complicated nexus involving the Al Qaeda, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani (TTTP), Sharif and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
According to the files, through a letter written by Atiyah Abd al Rahman, who was then the general manager of al Qaeda to Osama bin Laden in July 2010, Osama was informed that the Punjan chief minister (Shahbaz) wanted to cut a deal with the TTP, whose leadership was close to the al-Qaeda chief (Osama). The government “was ready to reestablish normal relations as long as [the TTP] do not conduct operations in Punjab,” according to the content of the letter.
Attacks elsewhere in Pakistan were apparently acceptable under the terms of the alleged proposal.
According to the letter, Rahman informed TTP commanders Hakeemullah Mehsud and Qari Husayn that Sharif “sent them a message indicating they [the government] wanted to negotiate with them, and they were ready to reestablish normal relations as long as they do no conduct operations in Punjab.”
Rahman clarified that the deal was limited to the “governmental jurisdiction” of Punjab and did not include Islamabad.
“The government said they were ready to pay any price…and so on,” the letter states. “They told us the negotiations were under way.”
Rahman then made it clear that the TTP was to keep Al Qaeda leadership in the loop at all times. “We stressed that they needed to consult us on everything, and they promised they would.”
According to the report, Sharif’s willingness to negotiate is consistent with his public opinion at the time. The chief minister was a vociferous critic of Gen Pervez Musharraf’s policies and “blamed the escalation of violence in Pakistan on him.”
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