A Pakistan government spokesperson confirmed there was a cease fire in existence in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. “There is no announced cease fire. There is a de facto cease fire between militants and government troops.” During the past week there were secret talks between the Pakistan military leadership and members of militant groups in order to find a way to end the fighting. It is expected as part of the agreement, a tribal council, a jirga, will be formed to work on how to transform the de facto truce into something that would be more permanent.
News of the cease fire aroused the anger of supporters of the murdered Benazir Bhutto. Sheery Rehman, speaking for the Pakistan People’s Party, said: “The government is holding talks with the man who it blamed for the killing opf Benazir Bhutto.”
The central issue is what is behind the decision of al-Qada and Taliban leaders to enter into truce talks with the Pakistan army. There is no doubt leaders like Baitullah Mehsud have not abandoned their desire to transform Pakistan into an Islamic Republic. Are they temporarily ending fighting in an effort to regroup? Mehsud is too ruthless and crafty to simply end fighting unless he has a hidden reason.