Monday, December 20, 2010

Why should Pakistan Army start operations in North Waziristan?

Recently there have been reports of the growing US pressure on Pakistan to ask its army to expand operation in the North Waziristan, after its success in the south. So far Pakistan has not responded positively and naturally for obvious reasons. Pakistan has been drawn into this War on Terror or may I say War of Error for the sake of US interests. People in USA are of the opinion that after 9/11, invading Iraq and then Afghanistan was a flawed strategy as it did not yield anything. Even the very pretext to invade Iraq to find and destroy the WMD turned out to be fake and a hoax. Rather the overthrow of the Iraqi government has increased Iran’s influence in the region, which is biting back the Americans now.

Coming back to Pakistan, the so called “safe havens” seems to have been created because of the US operations in Afghanistan. Due to the very porous nature of the Pak-Afghan borders over the rugged mountain terrain, it was easy for the militants to cross over to Pakistan and get “absorbed” in the local population due to similar appearance, language and aspirations. The Pakistan Army’s operation against these militants was a huge success, but it was undertaken at the cost of thousands of IDPs who had to leave their homes to clear way for the military operations. Some say that the move of IDPs was the largest ever move of people within one’s own country to save them from the collateral damages.

The operations in the North Waziristan would have a similar displacement of the local population, who would suffer, lose their houses and property as these would be destroyed in the operations. Doing so in the severe winters would further increase their woes as living in the open in tents would be miserable and deadly. And like the South Waziristan, the militants who infiltrated to the North would now move to another agency and this would go on and on. One can really be not sure as to who is a militant and who is not due to their appearance.

And the expansion of operation would not only be confined to the North Waziristan, the collateral damage will be felt all over the country in the form of bomb explosions and suicide bombings. The pattern has been the same ever since the army started taking action against the militants. So many civilians and innocent people have been killed since the army’s operation who didn’t even know where South or North Waziristan was.

And by the way who are these militants? The American officials claim that “Al-Qaeda” Is out there to weaken Pakistan and snatch its nukes. Who is Al-Qaeda anyway? Many in Pakistan believe that Al-Qaeda is in fact a US funded organization, which is taking operations not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan at the behest of the US to ultimately find an excuse to take over Pakistani nukes in US custody and ultimately de-nuclearize Pakistan. And this may be right too. Otherwise how can these militants continue to get state of art weapons, explosive devices when these are actually been cornered? Who is providing them funds to sustain? Don’t tell me the Saudis are doing it.

Now there is news of moving in the US forces into Pakistan to “wipe out” the safe havens. The presence of Black Water personnel is already raising concerns. With the moving in of the US forces, the hidden agenda seems to be getting exposed. Such actions are based on similar assertions as were presented before invasion of Iraq. Now moving into Pakistan is “on cards” and is really troublesome. Many fail to understand in Pakistan that if it was beyond the capability of US to wipe out Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, why it came here in the first place. Now with the defeat in sight, the US administration want to exit by 2014 and is having cold feet how to.

While the drone attacks inside Pakistan have had a margin of success, as claimed by the US, but never substantiated by free media, it has been more damaging and deadly for along with the suspected militants, many more civilians have died. Recently there has been a lot of hue and cry by the relatives of the slain civilians against the US. The CIA head in Pakistan is said to have been “called back” recently, but many believe that he was hurriedly called back when his covert identity was compromised. The operations by the so called Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams inside Pakistan have also been viewed with concern and instead of winning hearts inside Pakistan, US with its flawed strategy is making people in the FATA more hostile to it. Instead of allowing progress in the area to let people get busy in business, the continued harassment is making them more volatile rather than friendly.

There is a saying in Afghanistan that no external power has ever been able to subdue the Afghans. The Russians tried for ten years but failed. The present venture by the US which was totally uncalled for, is also nearing its own demise. There are indigenous dynamics of each region, specially the Afghanistan and the Pathans / Pathans. The present government in Afghanistan consists of non-Pashtuns, which the majority Pashtuns would never accept. I think time has come that in order to deflate the situation for an honourable exit, the US should talk to the Pashtuns and bring them to power in Afghanistan to alleviate the grievances of the majority people to end the conflict

Any action into Pakistan is going to have far reaching ramification from which it would be difficult for the US to disengage honourably and save its face. It would be far better to find a political solution to the muck already created due to which more than anyone Pakistan suffered the most. Let there be no more bloodshed due to flawed US policies in the region.

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