A looming disaster

There have been voices emanating from Washington for quite some time now that Pakistan should launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, especially after Faisal Shahzad attempted to bomb Times Square. White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta were recently in Pakistan to discuss this issue, among other things. Pakistan’s foreign office responded by saying that “be it the tribal areas or any other part, Pakistan will proceed in accordance with its own priorities and plans”. It seems as if the US too has taken the same line now. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen maintained that it was up to the Pakistan Army and the government to decide the timing of the offensive since the military was already “stretched” by operations in other tribal areas.

The question on everyone’s mind now is when Pakistan will actually launch the military operation in North Waziristan. Of course we do not have the answer but it is advisable that it should be carried out as soon as possible. After the offensives in Swat, South Waziristan and other tribal areas, an influx of militants took refuge in North Waziristan. The Haqqani network provided these militants with a safe haven. The authorities turned a blind eye to this because they consider the Haqqani network an asset in a post-US Afghanistan. Instead of protecting such so-called ‘assets’, Pakistan should reconsider its policy. In the past we not only nurtured the Taliban but lent them our complete support, with the result that today this Frankenstein’s monster has come to haunt us. Suicide bombings, terror attacks, defying the writ of the state became a norm before the government and the army finally decided to put their foot down. The Haqqani network’s harbouring Pakistani militants on the run is another disaster waiting to happen. We must act before this situation turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Allowing militants to escape after the Swat operation should not come to mean that the sacrifices made by the local people and the security forces have gone to waste. There are scattered attacks taking place in Swat as well as fear and intimidation by the militants once again. What was the use of the military operation in the first place if this was going to be the end result? We must not disrespect the lives laid down by our soldiers and the people of Pakistan by letting these terrorists regroup. The authorities must see the operations through to their logical end. Without wasting any more time, there is an urgent need to crush the militants residing in North Waziristan. Just because the US has been pressuring the government and military to launch an offensive does not mean that we are following their dictates. It is in our own national interest to go into North Waziristan before the terrorists wreak havoc once again.

Washington’s concern that Pakistan’s defence doctrine is India-centric is not without substance. But the real and present threat now is on the western and not the eastern border. Our military has the capacity to crush the militants. North Waziristan is a hotbed of terrorists and given the global jihadi threat, we must not rest until this threat has been eliminated.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Ammar said…
Any further delay in the North Waziristan operation will allow the militants to further consolidate their positions, while such massive operations need elaborate planning but the operation must not be delayed on protecting a certain breed of militants
Sadia said…
The reports of delaying the operation is North Waziristan are disturbing as it give militants more time to strengthen their positions, why does the state wait it’s too late to act we saw that in the case of Sawat where we continued to appease the militants until they got on our nerves! The operation in N.Waziristan is inevitable any further delay can be catastrophic

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