According to reports, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has lost its deputy head, Waliur Rehman, to a US drone strike in North Waziristan. Though the TTP has not confirmed the incident, and spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan has, in fact, denied it, the various reports coming in suggest that Rehman is indeed one of those killed in the attack, which killed five persons at a guest house in Miramshah. The others killed are believed to be middle-level TTP commanders and Uzbek militants. Few other details are known, but it is thought that four missiles targeted the guest house. The intelligence on which this strike was based obviously appears to be precise.
The loss of Waliur Rehman, understood to be the operational head of the TTP, and the man behind much of its planning and strategy, naturally comes as a big blow to the TTP — indeed, the biggest it has received since the death of former head Baitullah Mehsud in a 2009 drone strike. However, while we certainly do not wish the TTP to flourish, the killing of Rehman raises all kinds of questions. The fact is that drone attacks violate our sovereignty and go against international law. As we already know, they are also a source of much angst within the country. This strike, coming at a time when the incoming government is planning talks with the Taliban — in the hope of gaining the peace we desperately need — will only complicate that task.
The fact is that we, as a nation, need to resolve the militancy issue itself. There must be no intervention from other lands, given that this creates further issues. Pakistan must determine how to tackle the TTP and then set out on this mission swiftly and determinedly, whether through the use of force or through dialogue. Indeed, we need to resolve this issue once and for all, and do so in so decisive a manner that no such intervention from any other country is required. To some degree, at least, failure on our part to do so results in drone attacks. We need to convince the world we are capable of handling the Taliban problem, which has affected our nation worst of all, and then set about demonstrating this ability through actions on the ground.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.
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