Going after the militant?

It is time to eliminate militancy and we must hope that we can succeed in achieving this as swiftly as possible.

Editorial August 14, 2012

The words from General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in his Independence Day message are encouraging. He has indicated Pakistan is determined to go after militants with all the force it can muster and to end insurgency in the country. Till now there has, of course, been much debate over how fully the Pakistan military is committed to dealing with the Taliban and other forces based primarily in the tribal areas. The nexus with them for strategic purposes has existed for a long time. It would be a huge positive change if this relationship was ended.

General Kayani’s strong words indicate this will indeed happen. Following improved relations with Washington, there have been consistent rumours that a huge operation is to be conducted in North Waziristan and other areas.

The US has, of course, long demanded that militant strongholds in these areas be squashed. Till now, Pakistan has been somewhat reluctant, but as Kayani has correctly pointed out, no country can afford to allow a parallel force to exist within its borders even if it is hard for the army to take on its own people.

What we need to do now is to also change mindsets. The ambiguity about the militants, tied in to anti-US feeling needs to be ended. There is no reason why a choice needs to be made between extremists and the West. Both can be criticised for their faults, and a course which favours all the people of Pakistan chalked out.

This is something we need to work on ahead of any military operation. Such a drive can succeed only if people are behind it and confident that this time the Pakistan army means business. There have been too many doubts about this in the past.

If militancy can truly be wiped out, this would genuinely brighten the future of our country. The generations to come deserve this. We have suffered greatly as a result of the Taliban threat. It is time to eliminate it and we must hope that we can succeed in achieving this as swiftly as possible even though it will mean more fighting in certain areas of the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012. 

Correction: An earlier version of the editorial missed out the word 'brighten' in the last paragraph. 


Asher Rafiq | 9 years ago | Reply

Good News!! We desparetly need this military operation/ action against these millitants. Army should eliminate them from the surface of this earth. Give peace and harmony to the people of Pakistan. Also take action in Karachi and Balouchistan.Sick and tired of these extremists, terrorists and so called bhatta Badmash.

Rana M. Afzal Khan | 9 years ago | Reply

This decision seems to be taken under intense US pressure and hopefully with full consideration of the cost of its fall out on Pakistan. Basically this is the cost of supporting Karzai Government not acceptable to an average Afghan. Problems of this region (Afghan & Pak border areas) will only get in control once Afghanistan's Governance issues are settled for the majority of Afghans in a free and non coercive environment where they themselves decide how to run their country with guarantees for acceptance of UN charter. Pakistan will continue to pay a heavy cost for its American friendship perceived as US agents by anti Karzai Afghans. Rather than postpone this war initiative in North Waziristan till settlement in Afghanistan this decision may have positive results in prolonging the Karzai Government and US stay in this region ie prolonging the problems of this region. This will be continuity of bad news for Pakistan's economy. US Government is bulldozing Pakistan's National Security for its ego - winning an unwinnable war in Afghanistan

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