Peshawar, Oct 27 : Analysts and intellectuals in Pakistan have said that dialogue was the only way to stem militancy in the Tribal Areas, provided those responsible for the unrest surrender and guarantee that they would not challenge the writ of the government.
The analysts holds both sides responsible for violating peace agreements in the past, and are of the view that the return of peace depends on the sincerity of both sides - the Taliban as well as the government - with an unconditional ceasefire in Bajaur and other tribal areas.
This comes in the wake of the recent declaration by the Pakistan government that it was not opposed to a negotiated settlement to the situation in Bajaur and other tribal areas.
Commenting on the offer made by the Taliban and the Government's response, former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Momand said, "Both sides should stop killing innocent people as the first and foremost step in their quest for inching towards lasting peace. There must be talks, as the use of force can't bring peace. The two 0sides should stop being hostile, the government should withdraw the army from the region and the tribesmen should expel foreigners in addition to guaranteeing an end to the across-border movement of militants."
The seasoned diplomat further said it would be the responsibility of Bajaur elders to expel foreigners or persuade them to live in peace if they wanted to stay there. The Army troops should also be withdrawn "as their presence would not facilitate the return of peace," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.
He suggested that earlier agreements with the Taliban failed because they had been inked with "only a few commanders". For the sake of success, the government should hold talks with elders and accept all their justified demands, added Momand.
Noted political analyst Aimal Khan also said the Pakistan government and the Taliban's credibility would be the key to the success of any future dialogue. Stressing on the need for unconditional ceasefire as the first step, he said all political and religious parties would play a critical role in the success of a future deal.
He also called for confidence-building measures (CBMs) such as an end to attacks by both sides, the release of captives, the surrender of the Taliban and a phased withdrawal of troops from Bajaur. Khan also proposed that the government assure the people of Bajaur that Pakistan was a sovereign country and no decision would be made under pressure from the US or any other country.