ISLAMABAD - Amid aerial bombardment on the hideouts of the militants in the troubled areas by Pakistan Air Force jets and choppers, the PML-N government is still in contact with some of the moderate groups within the conglomeration of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to strike a peace deal.

Sources aware of the backdoor contacts with some of the militants groups informed The Nation that the whole exercise was being carried out with complete secrecy under the supervision of Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

Actually, it was resumption of the activity ostensibly suspended following the US drone attack in North Waziristan killing the then TTP Chief Hakimullah Mehsud last year in November, the sources explained. They said that at that time the main groups in the TTP were willing for negotiations with the government, but there were certain groups averse to the dialogue process and, keeping in view the situation, Nisar Ali Khan-led team had prepared ‘Plan B’ to tackle the situation in case the TTP leadership backed out of the dialogue process.

Under a strategy, the people dealing with this tricky process had established contacts with the main leadership of TTP while at another level the groups which seemed more inclined towards dialogue and were not setting tough conditions were contacted to cultivate some clout in the militants’ conglomeration in case of breakdown of the dialogue process with TTP at any stage.

The killing of Hakimullah Mahsud in a drone strike on November 1, 2013, shattered all the government efforts, but with the settling down of dust, Ch Nisar-led team became active again on the ‘Plan B’. The move was steadily heading for creating a wedge among the militant groups, but, all of a sudden, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted another four-member committee to give peace and dialogue another chance.

Sources in the government reveal that contacts with some of the militant groups which were already in loop were contacted again and some peace agreement can be reached with them while those averse to talks will be dealt with iron hands.

Sources in the government further said that right now there was no plan to go for a full-fledged operation against militants in the restive tribal areas, particularly North Waziristan, for many reasons, including the harsh winter and difficult terrain. However, controlled surgical operations, mainly in shape of airstrikes, would continue in the troubled areas.

Sources in the government further said that major operations against Taliban would be launched in all the major cities of the country, mainly in Karachi being considered the major abode for the militants.

In this connection, a comprehensive plan to enhance cooperation and coordination among the federal and provincial intelligence agencies and law-enforcement departments has already been devised and would shortly be put in practice to hunt down Taliban in the settled areas.

It is pertinent to mention here that Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan is contacting all the four provincial governments to ensure that the plan could be implemented effectively.