NA session: PPP steps back from ownership of NWA operation

Published: October 16, 2012

Opposition proves to be a stumbling block for North Waziristan operation resolution. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government’s plans to pass a unanimous resolution in THE parliament, seeking approval for a long anticipated operation in North Waziristan, met stiff resistance on Tuesday when the main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), rejected the resolution by labeling it as a mere political move to “fool the nation”.

The government intends to move the resolution in the National Assembly in wake of the attack on teenage peace activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the former Taliban stronghold of the Swat valley last Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the opposition made it evident to the ruling coalition that it would not share ownership of a resolution before receiving guarantees from the government of desired results from a military operation in North Waziristan, home to a cocktail of terrorist groups including the likes of Haqqani network.

The move to block the resolution, which had already been shared with the opposition beforehand for approval, forced the ruling collation led by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to hold back from moving the resolution in parliament, knowing it would be opposed by the PML-N. And even though the coalition has the numerical strength in the Lower House to pass the resolution, it would have to take complete ownership of giving the go-ahead for such an operation.

“We wanted to have consensus over the issue, but we will not press you (the opposition) … however, it will not disseminate a positive message,” said PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah as he announced the government’s decision not to table the resolution.

“We do not want to divide the nation, therefore, will not table the resolution,” Shah said. In addition, he clarified that there was no mention of North Wazirstan in the resolution.

“Fooling the nation”

“Take the house into confidence and spell out your policy in clear terms,” said Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, questioning the logic of undertaking an operation against militant leaders such as Maulvi Fazlullah, “who were hiding in Afghanistan”.

Nisar went on to censure the government for the non-implementation of as many as 12 unanimous resolutions in the past.

 

“The house has unanimously passed a resolution against weekly change in prices of petroleum products but the government did not pay any heed to it and changed prices after two days of its passage,” Nisar said, adding that using the attack on Malala as pretext for a operation in Waziristan was like “fooling the nation”.

Later on in the proceedings, PML-N MNA Khwaja Saad Rafiq directed some tough questions towards the government to justify his own party’s stance on the resolution.

“If the Swat military operation was successful, then why has the army not been called back? Why is civil administration not at the helm of affairs? Do you want the army to perform the role of police? If government has writ in Wazirstan, then why wasn’t a political party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) allowed to hold a rally in the agency?” Rafiq asked rhetorically, adding that the PML-N would support the government if there was a guarantee that an operation in North Wazirstan would be the end of extremism in the country.

Responding to Rafiq’s diatribe, Shah said the matter was not about the attack on Malala, rather it was a move against a particular ‘mindset’. He added that even though the Taliban had openly taken responsibility for the attack on Malala, no one, referring to the opposition, had condemned it.

At which point the debate degenerated into a mudslinging contest between PPP and PML-N members.

PPP’s Akhunzada Chittan walked out of the house when he was denied an opportunity to address the house.

“Those people who know nothing about the region are delivering lectures,” Chittan said as he proceeded to walk out of the National Assembly session.

 ‘Resolution for operation in NWA a non-starter’

Meanwhile, author and analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said that a resolution being tabled in the National Assembly for the approval of a military operation in North Waziristan was always a “non-starter”.

“The government has the same options as it did in before the PML-N decided to oppose the resolution. Nothing,” said Siddiqa.

“As a nation, we have lost the spine to go-ahead with this operation,” said Siddiqa, adding that instead of a tabling a resolution on a military operation, a definitive and unanimous stand must be taken in the National Assembly against terrorism.

“A decisive message must be sent to extremist elements in the country by parliament,” she said, adding that once such a step is taken, it could translate into a military operation in North Waziristan.

Asked what is preventing political parties from agreeing on the military operation in NWA, Siddiqa said the army itself was not keen on an operation in North Waziristan, pointing towards a nearing withdrawal date of US/Isaf troops in Afghanistan.

“I don’t think the military wants an operation in Waziristan and political parties must play the symphony being conducted by the establishment.”

Reader Comments (21)

  • Afridi
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:07AM

    all hypocrites including imran khan on the issue of talibans

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  • shahid
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:19AM

    I don’t know how any Pakistani can tolerate and sit on this while the Talibans are eroding the foundation of country as termite.

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  • Tilsim
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:30AM

    Disgusting PML-N. We always had heard about your support for militancy. You would not even recognise that the Punjab Taliban existed. Now you are preventing a united response that would give a green light for military action. You are standing in the way of the future peace of our children. You want these barbarians to be at the gates of Lahore before you might worry about your back sides. What do you think should be Pakistan’s response – negotiate with murderers who chopped and walked off with the head of an SP Police a few days ago? It’s a clear choice that faces Pakistan and you are on the wrong side.

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  • Lofty
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:39AM

    Come on PML-N give the military some political cover. To all the politicians: for once in your corrupt, selfish lives do the decent thing and rid us of the Taliban menace. And don’t worry about the Khan man. He can’t be elected with just Taliban and fundos supporting him.

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  • James Bond
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:42AM

    I recommend every one who is outrage by Malala incident, please look up your National Assembly member information on the internet write them a letter or call them to show support for Military operation in Waziristan. We cannot do operation against terrorist in Waziristan, but get angry on Drone, get shock when Malala got attack, some calling Taliban Muslim brothers, some call them CIA agents, what a confuse nation we are.

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  • Rafiq
    Oct 17, 2012 - 12:52AM

    What a Shame? Today I lost all my faith in Govt. and all political parties and their leaders. We Pakistani’s are done. We are cowards.

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  • DawnTawn
    Oct 17, 2012 - 1:05AM

    For those who thought that the Malala incident would be a watershed moment in Pakistan’s fight against extremism, I’m sorry to jolt you back to reality but our politicians and establishment just don’t have the spine and guts to proceed against the biggest menace threatening our country in its 60 odd years. Its now or never, and sadly we as a nation are just too scared to call a spade a spade.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 17, 2012 - 1:33AM

    “opposition made it evident to the ruling coalition that it would not share ownership of a resolution before receiving guarantees from the government of desired results from a military operation in North Waziristan”
    In other words if the military fails to take out the terrorists, it would be the govt’s fault! The truth is we do not have the desire or spine to take the terrorists head on. Everybody including the fanatic terrorists know that their dogs know that and the rightwing leaders would never go with such an operation. No matter how many kids are slaughtered, how many soldiers beheaded, how many thousand civilians butchered, the rightwing parties would not agree on any resolution to go against the terrorists. There is no unanimity among the political parties and the army is also an unwilling partner. Looks like after IK the army is again looking toward NS. Due to this unwillingness the drones are the only viable option to control the terrorists in Pakistan.

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  • Jawad U Rehman
    Oct 17, 2012 - 1:51AM

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Can the parliament of Pakistan ensure that the flag of Pakistan flutters over its entire territory including North Waziristan. I dont care how they do it – through operation, negotiation, or some other option. The resolution in the parliament should empower the armed forces of Pakistan to enforce the country’s sovereignty over every single inch of it, including North Waziristan.

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  • sabi
    Oct 17, 2012 - 2:37AM

    This nation is cursed not by others but by It’s own deeds.Blood of shahids will not go in vains
    Shame on you–The ruling elites.

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  • gp65
    Oct 17, 2012 - 3:28AM

    On 14th August Kayani said that the existential threat to PAkistan is from within not outside. 2 months later (during which attack on Kamra airbase and Mallala have occurred) there is no action to match the words.

    So the army leadership that talks big about crushing India which has NEVER attacked Pakistan but is afraid to confront a few thousand terrorists in NWA who have killed 40,000 Pakistanis.

    Also India has ZERO interest in taking even one inch of your land – its intentions became very clear in 1971 when it made no attempt to grab East Pakistan. The TTP on the other hand have made it very clear that they do not believe your constitution, they do not believe in democracy and they want to take over your land and impose their version of Islam upon you. In case you want to figure out what that version of Islam looks like, pls. remember how Afghan Taliban ruled over Afghanistan between 1996-2001 and also how TTP ruled over Swat in 2008.

    So how secure is your security state making you feel my Pakistani brethren?

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  • Singh
    Oct 17, 2012 - 4:49AM

    Bye Bye Pakistan

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  • Jibran
    Oct 17, 2012 - 5:05AM

    Don’t count on PML-N. It would never support operation against terrorists. They are integral part of its constituency. PTI might be persuaded to change its stance, but PML-N noway!

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  • Raj - USA
    Oct 17, 2012 - 7:31AM

    It is really a shame that some political and religious parties are tying the hands of the Army and the ruling government and still expect them to be responsible for controlling and eliminating terrorism. A vast section of the Pakistan society has been severely brainwashed and are now beyond redemption. Everyone knew that the religious parties had always supported terrorists. But if the party like PTI that people expected to be progressive is now in the forefront taking sides with the terrorists, what hope can the country have?

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  • Tch tch
    Oct 17, 2012 - 10:26AM

    @Mirza: No No Mirza of course its all IK fault ….Recommend

  • Patriot
    Oct 17, 2012 - 10:45AM

    All are cowards. JI and PTI are representing the same mindset; so one cannot even think of any support from them for uprooting militants in NW. Similarly, Sharif Biradiran are content and satisfied because Punjab in recent times has been protected from Taliban, and they dont care if Pakhtuns die (Malala & recent attack on checkpost resulting in the death of yet another brave SP of police) due to the proximity of KP areas and FATA and due to difficulty in identifying the militants as they speak the same language and have the same appearance like an ordinary Pakhtun. So Sharf biradiraan are happy as Punjab is safe. ANP is the only political party which has risked its workers lives and political stakes and has challenged these militants, at least in KP. Thumbs up to MQM also for the support. PPP is so worried about its vote bank due to bad governance and the rise of PMLN and PTI, and of course due to fear of attacks by militants, that it will not dare to launch the operation.

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  • PS
    Oct 17, 2012 - 10:52AM

    The so called leaders of this country are sitting quite comfortably in their homes and palaces. To expect them to come out and fight for the cause of those being killed / bombed / terrorized by the Taliban will be a delusion. A 14 year old girl has shown that she is far more brave when chips are down than these leaders fuming from religious and political pulpits. These leaders do not consider that when the Taliban come knocking at their own doors, nobody would come to their help because by that time they would be already dead.

    For those who argue that ‘since the military solution has not worked so far, so we should talk and negotiate with the terrorists’, the counter argument is that if our law enforcement and penal system has not been successful in eliminating murderers and other criminals from the society, should we say that we will stop apprehending and bringing the criminals to justice and start negotiating with them.

    Just remember, pampering and pandering to the criminals is just like feeding pigeons, the more you feed them the more they will come.Recommend

  • cyrus
    Oct 17, 2012 - 11:44AM

    @Mirza:
    You are so right. Ask the opposition, if elected can they give us a guarantee of turning pakistan into an economic giant and a peaceful and happy country? If theses blockheads can not do something without getting guarantees then why should we vote for them without getting guarantees.
    By the way we are wasting our time discussingRecommend

  • Haroon
    Oct 17, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Yet another war, yet another military action. Pakistan Army + Establishment, for how many years, you will keep on doing like this. More destruction to economy, more destruction to people of Pakistan, more suicide bombings, more killings, more division. This is what you have given to Pakistan Society.
    You fought against Soviet Union using the name of Islam, being proxy for US, and now your are yet again fighting using the name of “anti – terrorism”, again being proxy for US. There was never a policy. There seems to be no policy, and it appears, there will never be a policy.
    What would happen if these militants will hide all over country. They can come to Karachi, Lahore or spread anywhere. What would you do then ? You don’t have any system, you don’t have technology, you don’t have anti-terrorism department. For how log, you will fight, and for how, long we will suffer.
    I am sorry, this would get worse. I assure you guys, this will hurt us badly. This will hurt us really badly.
    I NEED POLICY, WE NEED POLICY. WE NEED TO KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS, YOUR PLANNING BEFORE WARS.

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  • bergazeda
    Oct 18, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Go if you have the will and the sources.Think again and again that even our so called friends are not loyal to us and can not be depended.

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  • Abid
    Oct 18, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Mr. Nisar we are already living in maximum possible insecurity. Nothing can be worst then what Pakistani face now. Each passing day make this monster more and more strong. Better to get rid of them sooner then later. So the blood of innocent victims of terrorists means nothing to the PML-N? Their killers will never be brought to justice? This is the message of Taliban e Aala to the relatives of the Martyrs of Pakistan. What kind of destruction will this party bring if it comes to government at the federal level. Why don’t you and your bosses (Sharif brothers and their kin) stop using extensive security detail if the things are acceptable now? Otherwise just keep quiet and stop patronizing the terrorists.Recommend

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