Finally, an operation in North Waziristan

Published: June 1, 2011
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The Pakistan Army has finally decided to carry out an operation in North Waziristan. PHOTO: AFP

The Pakistan Army has finally decided to carry out an operation in North Waziristan. PHOTO: AFP

According to several news reports, the Pakistan Army has finally decided to carry out an operation in North Waziristan to flush out the various terrorist outfits there. It will be perceived by many that the military decided on the operation under pressure from the US, but that may not be strictly true: The position of the GHQ was that while it did not rule out the operation, it would decide its timing in the light of prevailing conditions.

It is not true that public opinion was totally opposed to this operation: A number of hardline, usually anti-US, analysts too had advised it each time the Taliban struck against military targets in Pakistan. It is also true that the US was insistent on this operation because the terrorists used North Waziristan as a sanctuary from where they attacked across the Durand Line to kill Isaf-Nato personnel.

In Pakistan public opinion has been united on the issue of sovereignty. However, this stand has in recent months become untenable when one considers the fact that North Waziristan has been used as a launching pad for terrorism and the state is reluctant to extend its writ there. The international community was right behind the US when it struck North Waziristan with drone attacks, thus weakening Pakistan’s rejection of them. Almost 90 per cent of these attacks have targeted the sanctuary of this tribal agency and according to a military commander of the area, most of those killed have been militants.

Pakistan’s misplaced label of ‘national honour’ was exposed when the world looked at the elements that killed Pakistan’s military personnel and innocent citizens under plans made in North Waziristan. The presence of foreigners has especially weakened Pakistan’s policy of ‘abstention’ and has made it look like a ‘double-gamer’ rather than a ‘game-changer’ in the war against terrorism. It has given rise to a dangerous mass psychology in Pakistan of ‘loving tormentors’ and rejecting friends.

Intelligence reports say as many as 10,000 battle-hardened militants are ensconced in North Waziristan. There are Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, Indonesians, Tajiks and some European nationals affiliated with al Qaeda, while some Afghan terrorists such as the Haqqani network have, much of the world thinks, been used to target Indian installations in Afghanistan. Local tribal warlords like Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir, involved in dubious peace deals with the military that have been honoured more in the breach, have increasingly moved under the umbrella of al Qaeda.

It is said that Pakistan’s reason for delaying the operation in North Waziristan was logistical, that Pakistani troops were overstretched and that it was not possible to prevent the vast gathering of dangerous terrorists from fanning out into the rest of Pakistan after the operation was launched against them. This has simply increased the immunity of killers who destroy lives in the plains and then take refuge in North Waziristan. Instead of turning the people of Pakistan against the world, the military establishment should have leaned more effectively on international support against the heavy odds in the agency.

Doubts have proliferated. There are reports, also in recent days through WikiLeaks, about the Haqqani family being sheltered from drone attacks by being moved out of the agency to settled districts. The ‘confederation’ of the Taliban and other killers in North Waziristan has threatened to unleash a war against Pakistan if it is attacked, but the truth is that the terrorist headquarters located there has spared no stratagem to destroy Pakistan, including the poisoning of the public’s mind.

North Waziristan has done more to destroy Pakistan and create the psychology of defeat in its population than any other place in the world. The forthcoming operation will need global support and Pakistan can use it to break out of the isolationism unleashed by its unworkable unanimous parliamentary resolutions. Also, going after the terrorists is ultimately going to be in Pakistan’s own interest and it is about time that it stopped differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 1:32AM

    Spare a thought for the refugees that will be created. Reports suggest that the government has notified aid agencies, but going from past experience, given the hot summer and monsoon, the misery is going to pile up really quick.Recommend

  • Ahmed Baksh
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:55AM

    Thank God!!
    Go Pak Army!!!
    Kill themRecommend

  • Wisdom Chambers
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:40AM

    I don’t understand the logic of this editorial. On one hand the western forces are holding talks with Taliban and on the other hand Pakistan is urged to do opposite to that. The editorial talks about Pakistan differentiating between Good Taliban and bad Taliban but what about the West’s strategy of talking to the Taliban isn’t it the same thing, or as the West and especially USA is doing it this makes it right. Now at this time after 10 long years and after thousands of civilians deaths the blame of failed western strategy is being shifted to Pakistan.

    And the editorial very innocently failed to mention the economic, humanitarian and social costs that we have to bear as a result of this operation. There is no mention how a fledgling economy of Pakistan will further bear the cost of refugees, deaths destruction and a military operation. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 1, 2011 - 7:36AM

    North Waziristan has done more to destroy Pakistan and create the psychology of defeat in its population than any other place in the world.

    Worth repeating.Recommend

  • salim
    Jun 1, 2011 - 7:45AM

    This is great news. pakistan should be able to handily defeat these miscreants since pakistan is a military superpower and ISI is thousand times more powerful than mossad, cia, kgb and raw put together. This should be a quick battle and pakistan will once again be a safe prosperous nation once the radicles are defeated in shame.Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 9:32AM

    About right time for this operation to start. There is only one way for pakistan to emerge from this. They need to fight their way, for once, they need to fight on the right-side. The whole world depends on it.Recommend

  • Ali Sultan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:16AM

    @Ahmed Baksh:
    This is not gonna be in the interest of our country. Haqqani network is doing nothing against pakistan. They have a peace pact with pakistan army. There hasnt been any attack from north waziristan but all were from south waziristan. Haqqanis are the people loyal to pakistan. I oppose such operation against pakistan. I have a message for my army. “If you dont have guts and courage to fight against USA and india thn please dont fight against pakistanis, past abbotabad operation has shown how much competent our army is. May Allah help haqqanis to continue their jihad in afghanistan. Amin” Recommend

  • Atif
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:45AM

    I am pretty sure terrorism is never gonna stop even they do operations in entire Pakistan unless they stop supporting USA and stop being puppet of USA.Recommend

  • mahmood
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:52PM

    For those who argue that since the Haqqani network is not fighting against Pakistan there should be no N Waziristan offensive – I suggest you read the Editorial again since you apparently missed the point. The entire World has joined forces against Pakistan because you have allowed terrorist sanctuary within your borders and in the long run Pakistan cannot survive as a isolated pariah nation.Recommend

  • AMJAD
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:55PM

    I think it is absolutely wrong to say that at any time during the past decade Pakistan has been differentiating between good or bad Talibans. By launching an operation in NW, Pakistan will alienate the entire tribal population. Under their domestic pressure the Americans may decide to leave Afghanistan within a year or two but Pakistan will be here to face the collective wrath of all the Taliban groups. US knows very well that by fighting for a decade with all their might they have not been able to annihilate the Taliban and they will not be able to finish them even if they keep on fighting with them for another ten years. Hence in Afghanistan they are holding secret talks with the Taliban but they do not want Pakistan to talk to the Taliban. The fact of the matter is that US has created this great mess and now wants Pakistan to clean it. Haqqani Network is just an excuse otherwise 90% of the Taliban who are fighting against US forces are located in Afghanistan where they have sympathetic population and extremely familiar terrain. Unfortunately in their arrogance of a super power and the superiority complex they are not prepared to listen to their smaller partner and just want every other country to work according to their wishes even if these are devoid of logic. Pakistan’s adventure into North Waziristan will have a serious negative fall out on our country and therefore should be avoided. Recommend

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