Gaining control: Writ of state to be established in tribal areas, says Aziz

Published: January 9, 2014
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 Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs PHOTO: AFP

Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

The federal government expects to restore control in all regions of Pakistan’s tribal belt soon, said Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

“We have restored the writ of the state in six out of seven agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata),” Aziz said. “For the seventh, discussions are going on and I feel that in due course, in the coming weeks or months, the writ of the state will be restored in all the tribal areas.”

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The seventh tribal agency Aziz was referring to is North Waziristan, where the Haqqani network and groups associated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are active.

Aziz was speaking with the media after the launching ceremony of scholar Akbar S Ahmed’s book The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.

Ahmed, who holds the Ibn-e-Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University in Washington, DC, posits in his book that the post-9/11 US war on terror has wreaked havoc on tribal societies and the weakening of these societies has led to ideological militants gaining more ground.

Aziz said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has expressed its opposition to drone attacks at every occasion during the past six months.

“We have called them counterproductive and demanded that drone strikes be discontinued,” he said.

He said Pakistan is also starting to receive international community’s support against drone strikes: United Nations (UN) Secretary General issued a statement against drone strikes and the UN general assembly passed a resolution in December against the US drone campaign.

He said the tribal structure in Fata was disturbed by drone strikes and military offensives there in the past, which has complicated the situation. The government is tackling the situation with a three-phase approach, he said.

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“First of all, we have to establish our writ. Secondly, we have to control our border with Afghanistan so there is no illegal movement either from this side or that side and thirdly, we have to work on reconstruction and rehabilitation and reestablish the tribal system,” Aziz said.

Responding to a question about dialogue with the Taliban, he said “some contacts are being established we cannot predict the outcome but efforts are in progress.”

Aziz said stability in Afghanistan is necessary for stability in Pakistan.

“If there is large-scale fighting in Afghanistan, there would be spillover effects,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Major Iqbal
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:30AM

    “If there is large-scale fighting in Afghanistan, there would be spillover effects.”

    He’s right. Obviously, if your neighbors house is burning, there is a risk your own house may burn.

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  • objective observer
    Jan 9, 2014 - 12:50PM

    @Major Iqbal:

    Yes, usually you would help your nieghbor put out the flames not throw gasoline on them.

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  • Jan 9, 2014 - 4:42PM

    Had the PML(N) government of 1990-93 cooperated with Afghanistan regime of Dr Najeeb Ullah in his hectic efforts for peaceful transfer of power to Afghan Tanzimat leadership stationed in Pakistan, the peace in Afghanistan would have been achieved much earlier and our State,s writ in FATA would have remaind intact.

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  • Shaikh Mohommad
    Jan 12, 2014 - 11:40PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    Who set the neighbor’s house ablaze? General Musharraf allowed Pakistan’s territory to be used by USA to occupy the country? No one is looking after Pakistan’s interest. The government is still carrying on the same policies as was done by previous government. NO CHANGE. The skirmishes in Norther Pakistan is still going on causing casualties to Pakistan Army and civilians. No one is interested in peace.

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