ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistani Taliban warned the country’s main ruling parties of “concrete action” for “declaring war” against it, according to sources, months after the group ended ceasefire.
A statement released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban, on Wednesday explicitly named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Sharif is the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which along with Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are the main coalition partners in the government.
“For a long time, TTP has not taken any action against political parties,” TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said in the statement shared with Al Jazeera on WhatsApp.
“[But] if these two parties remain firm on their position … then action will be taken against the leaders of these parties. People should avoid going near them,” it said, as Al Jazeera quoted.
“[Our] target is Pakistan’s security forces who are acting against the country’s interest upon wishes of the West,” it added.
The TTP statement also included a note of caution for Pakistan’s religion-based political parties, urging them not to be a part of action against the group.
“The TTP policy does not include targeting your parties but we request you to avoid being part of any activity against us,” it said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
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Last month, Pakistani Taliban announced they no longer abide by a month-long ceasefire with the government, urging fighters to resume attacks in retaliation towards a continuous military campaigns.
Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters in a text message that its leadership had decided to end the ceasefire with Pakistan, as India Express reported.
According to a statement, the TTP leadership urged its fighters to resume attacks in retaliation towards a continuous military campaign against them.
The Pakistani military has carried out several offensives against the militants in their strongholds in remote lawless districts bordering Afghanistan.
There was no immediate response from the government.
Who are Pakistani Taliban
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban – is an umbrella organization of various Islamist armed militant groups operating along the Afghan–Pakistani border.
Formed in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud, its current leader is Noor Wali Mehsud, who has publicly pledged allegiance to the Afghan Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan).
Most Taliban groups in Pakistan coalesce under the TTP. Among the stated objectives of TTP is resistance against the Pakistani state. The TTP’s aim is to overthrow the government of Pakistan by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistan armed forces and the state.
The TTP has carried out some of the bloodiest attacks inside Pakistan since 2007. It is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, but pledges allegiance to them.