A discussion to support the armed forces carrying out Operation Zarb-e-Azb against the insurgents in North Waziristan was held at the South Asian Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) auditorium on Saturday.
Speakers agreed there was need to back the armed forces and develop a narrative to counter the militant mindset.
“No state around the globe can decide how much of force is to be used and how many non-violent ways can be used to counter insurgencies,” said Dr Mueed Yousaf, a defence analyst.
Yousaf said the country had “failed to achieve the balance between the use of power and non-violent ways of dealing with the insurgents”.
“As per my research, the question whether we should have talks or dialogue with insurgents is wrong. The question we should be asking is what kind of insurgents we could talk to and when and where to talk to them?”
He said he favoured talks too but “I am sure the dialogue will not work out because the insurgents you are talking to will never compromise. Hence, I am in favour of the operation,” said Yousaf.
He said the militants needed confusion of narratives and it was prevalent. “It is a win-win situation for them whereas the state needs clarity of narratives in the minds of people,” he said.
Yousaf said people were confused as to who were the ultimate enemies of the country. “This is where the state has to play its role. It has to remove the confusion from the minds of people.”
In South Asia, he said, there were no insurgencies that were ongoing without the role of “third party spoilers”
“Even in Pakistan, the role of third party spoilers cannot be ruled out…,” said Yousaf.
He said Operation Zarb-e-Azb was needed and lot more needed to be done. “We have to stop criticising the state and armed forces and eliminate the ideological confusions.”
Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political and defence analyst, said the military operation in North Waziristan was the first step in the right direction to eliminate terrorism.
“We need to win this war as North Waziristan had been becoming an epicentre of terrorism for the region,” said Rizvi.
He also highlighted the issue of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). “Usually our state machinery is slow in dealing with such issues. We need to be efficient this time,” he said. Rizvi said rehabilitation of the IDPs held much importance and the state needed to plan it in advance.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.