Zardari’s timely warning

Published: August 4, 2010

President Zardari’s comments in an interview during his visit to France that the international community – including Pakistan – was losing the war against terror because they had lost the battle for hearts and minds is rather demoralising. The thought that we may be on the losing side even after all the sacrifices made and all the lives lost to suicide bombers is depressing. But if we bravely face up to facts, there may indeed be some truth in the president’s grim warning. It certainly offers up a reminder of the
need to avoid complacency and to look realities squarely in the face.

Even today there is a distinct element of shakiness as far as support for the struggle against the Taliban goes. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, flood-hit people have spoken of relief efforts by militants. In the conflict-zone and elsewhere people have gained little from the defeat of the Taliban, in terms either of stability or an improvement in the quality of their lives. In some places, notably Bajaur and also South Waziristan, military claims of victory have been rather premature or even false. These are key factors in the failure to win over people — even though many dislike the Taliban or the brutality they have brought to so many tracts of the north.

What is crucial is that a strategy be put in place to make up for errors in the past. Pakistan, more desperately than any other nation in the world, with the possible exception of Afghanistan, needs to defeat militancy. If it fails the future may be too awful to contemplate.

Alongside warnings of defeat, the president needs to tell us what can be done to turn around the war. President Zardari has indicated the strategy used so far has not worked. He needs now to suggest to allies what tactics should be used to ensure his dark predictions do not come true. Only then can the people be persuaded to unite and rise against the extremism most of them already oppose.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Popsiq
    Aug 5, 2010 - 12:32AM

    If Pakistan ‘doesn’t’ – as opposed to the American won’t, or the historical can’t – defeat its “terrorists”, its future looks grim. For at the first glimmer of radicals approaching those nukes, the east, in the words of Chairman Mao, will be red, atomic crimson to be precise.

    And so, to help them in their purpose, the west is prepared to unleash on Pakistan more of what’s been failing in Afghanistan for nine years. It may be a no-win situation, but the Islamic extremists can’t be allowed a default victory. A loss, real or imagined, will result in a nuclear strike on Pakistan. Things don’t look well.Recommend

  • Ashfaq
    Aug 5, 2010 - 5:53AM

    To be honest, Zardari speaks the truth and the West has to assent it. Mr Zardari have talked about loosing war in “Afghanistan“, not in “Pakistan“. there is a difference between Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban. certainly Pakistani Taliban have support from India and it was proved after Swat operation when Indian made weapons were found there, but Afghan Taliban aren’t on the Indian side, so that these two kinds of Taliban have no similarities in their agenda as well as in activities.
    Pakistan army have done a great work in northern areas to eliminate the Indian supported terrorists. but on the other side Afghan Taliban are fighting for their own country their motherland. Two different groups with similar names.Recommend

  • Shahjahan Bhatti
    Aug 5, 2010 - 6:13AM

    What Pakistani media is harping is just the one side of the story, it is underplaying the remarks of Cameroon. He has alleged Pakistan of double crossing Europe and USA. This shows how many innocent Pakistanis were killed by our premier agency to prove they were not playing double game. Let there be a high level probe into this allegations.Recommend

  • Sultan Ahmed.
    Aug 5, 2010 - 11:57AM

    No, it is wrong absolutely wrong,Pakistan is exporting terrorism.
    Pakistan is fighting with terrorists inside and out side,ground reality is witness,vide Arkzai battlefield and other related areas.
    We are sacrificing ,unique sacrifices .

    This war against insurgency has made us disabled ,our economy is coming down with high speed
    On the other hand baseless allegation is being leveled we are export terrorists.
    For your kind information, we have not such dangerous items in our stock it has created in our areas by other means.

    There looks some facts when presiden Zadari said nato forces is losing war in Afghanistan,long time consisting on nine years has passed but there is no remarkable success.

    The leaders, having longstanding experience have knowledge that without Pakistan extremist can not be defeated and as have seen Pakistan is defeating them,many places they have laid down their arms.

    Without acceptable proof groundless allegation can not imposed,we are all on board against terrorism shouldn’t made friction by irresponsible statements.

    Asif Ali Zardari visiting united Kingdom,meeting between the leaders is expected,matter and disputes would be negotiations ,we should hope outcome would be fruitful and mistakes would also be removed.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    Aug 9, 2010 - 8:16PM

    Counter insurgency measures need to well planned and well executed, the policy of reactionary military offensives are not likely to succeed as often we are merely treating the situation and not addressing the factors that contributed to that situation. Religious extremism is still rampant in our society and thus militants have ample grounds to find new recruits. We need to identify the factors that promote violence and invest more in social reforms for if the needs of citizens are met they are less likely to be influenced by the propaganda.Recommend

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