In what seems like a repeat of 2005, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, headed by militant leader Baitullah Mehsud has declared a ceasefire in the tribal regions, which has been denied by the ISPR. However, the last time a ceasefire happened, the militants regrouped stronger than before, which is evident from the increased number of attacks on army personnel and the increasingly bloody war being waged in the tribal regions.
The question here really is: is this latest ceasefire the lull before the storm, the storm being the rumored spring offensive? Or is one to believe that support for Mehsud’s men from the Afghan Taliban has decreased. Ahmed Rashid, in the Christian Science Monitor says, “since 2004 we’ve seen a half dozen [cease-fires], but they haven’t solved the problem because there is no sense of what to do next.”
Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in the tribal region has worsened, as thousands of families continue to leave the war-torn areas, despite the bitter cold. As fighting continues to go on amidst these conflicting reports, where will the thousands of homeless go, and more importantly, will they ever be able to come back?