In a recent report, the president of Kashmir Youth Society Sajid Yousuf Shah has said that Pakistan has maintained its stronghold over the Taliban leadership by keeping their families hostage inside the country.
If Pakistan is “really sincere about restoring peace in Afghanistan and ushering in an era of development” in the region, then it has to rubbish all notions of making a distinction between “good and bad” Taliban, Shah wrote.
“Pakistan has maintained its stranglehold over the Taliban leadership by keeping their families hostage inside Pakistan. How long Pakistan can continue to play this game is not clear. Perhaps once the Taliban come into their own, they will certainly try to get into a position where they can cut the strings that make them vulnerable to Pakistan,” he added. “Pakistan has continued its efforts to make a case for the Taliban; clearly indicating that Islamabad is not ready to either give up on the Taliban or reform its policy towards the region.”
Pakistan does not have a problem with the Taliban but it has an issue with the Taliban who doesn’t take their lead from the Pakistan Army, opines Shah.
He further stated that Pakistan sees the Taliban as an asset against the ethnic nationalists in places like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh.
“One of the primary reasons why Pakistan will never let go of the specious distinction it makes between the ‘good and bad Taliban’ is because Pakistan being an Islamic State believes that Islamism is the best antidote and counter to ethnic nationalism,” he said.
Pakistan has had to pay a heavy price in the past because of its “good Taliban – bad Taliban” policy because it doesn’t take much for the “good” Taliban to become “bad”, he opined.
“On a host of other issues, the Taliban showed themselves to be autonomous of Pakistan. The situation was similar with the Pakistani Taliban. Of course, Pakistan believes it has learnt its lessons and next time will ensure that the “good Taliban” stay good. One way in which this is sought to be achieved is by ensuring that pro-Pakistan elements like the Haqqani Network occupy a pivotal position in the Taliban ranks and decision-making matrix,” he adds.