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Operation in North Waziristan at last

Pakistan is in a state of war for the last many years and it has suffered a lot in the US war against terrorism than any other country. It is not the right of any other country to take decision and impose it on us.

At last after resisting the US pressure to launch military operation in North Waziri-stan, the Pakistan Army has finally decided to launch the operation to flush out terrorists there. Actually the army point of view with regard to launching the operation was that while it did not rule out the operation, it would decide its timing after reviewing the prevailing condition in the Agency. Now after the May 2 incident and extreme US pressure, the situation has changed.

After the death of Osama bin Laden, US has been exerting more pressure on Pakistan to launch operation in the region. Earlier, US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen announced that Pakistan’s army had planned an operation in North Waziristan. However, Corps Commander, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Asif Yasin Malik, who supervises all operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its adjacent tribal regions, said: We will undertake operation in North Waziristan when we want to.

The operation in North Waziristan will need global support and Pakistan can use it to end its isolationism. Before going for the operation in North Waziristan, our government will have to gear up the security and intelligence apparatus.
Government officials are also denying media reports about North Waziristan operation. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Salim Saifullah told reporters that the government representatives informed the panel that Pakistan alone would decide whether or not to launch a operation. Security officials, however, do not entirely rule out a ‘targeted operation’ in North Waziristan.

The US and its Western allies blame Pakistan’s reluctance to launch operation against the Haqqanis to its plan to use the network to protect its interests in the post-war Afghanistan. On the other hand, Lt-Gen Asif Yasin Malik contradicted the US blame by saying, ‘For the Army there is no difference between the Haqqanis, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the Afghan Taliban. The Army acts against all those militants who are a threat to Pakistan. However, he revealed that the Army had planned a full-scale operation in the Kurram tribal district, which borders North Waziristan and has become increasingly violent amid an in
flux of Taliban.

There has been a lot of media hype about the army operation in North Waziristan, where security forces have been fighting homegrown Taliban since January this year. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said, ‘We will undertake such an operation when it is in our national interest militarily’ he said, describing North Waziristan as calm and peaceful as it was weeks ago.

No doubt, all Pakistanis have been united on the topic of sovereignty. However, this unanimous stand after the recent serious incidents like violation of our airspace on May 2 and terrorists’ attack on the Naval base in Karachi, have become unavoidable when one sees the fact that North Waziristan has been used as a launching pad for terrorism and the government fails to ensure its writ there. The international community was behind the US when it attacks North Waziristan, thus weakening Pak stand on this serious issue.

Pakistan’s national honour was exposed when the world looked at those elements, who killed our armed forces personnel and innocent citizens under conspiracies made in North Waziristan. The presence of foreigners in the area has weakened Pakistan’s stand and has made it look like a country playing double-game in the war against terrorism. It has also earned bad name for our country in the eyes of the world community.

On the other hand, it is not true that the public opinion in the country is completely against this operation: A number of analysts too had proposed it at every time the Taliban struck against military targets. It is also true that the US is insisting on this operation because the terrorists use North Waziristan as a launching pad from where they attack Nato forces in Afghanistan.

According to some secret reports 10,000 militants are present in North Waziristan. It is said that Pakistan’s stand on delaying the operation in North Waziristan was logistical, that it was not possible for Pakistani troops to prevent the terrorists from fanning out into the rest of Pakistan after the operation was launched against them. This has simply increased the immunity of killers who destroy lives in the plains and then take refuge in North Waziristan.

There are reports about the Haqqani family being protected from drone attacks by being moved out of the tribal area to settled areas. The coalition of the Taliban and other terrorists in North Waziristan has threatened to unleash a war against Pakistan if it is attacked, but the truth is that these terrorists have spared no one.

The operation in North Waziristan will need global support and Pakistan can use it to end its isolationism. Before going for the operation in North Waziristan, our government will have to gear up the security and intelligence apparatus in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi to stop the terrorist blowback that is almost sure to follow.

Pakistan should decide keeping in view its national interests when to launch the operation in North Waziristan. Pakistan is in a state of war for the last many years and it has suffered a lot in the US war against terrorism than any other country. It is not the right of any other country to take decision and impose it on us. While US pressure to launch operation in |North Waziristan mounts, Pakistan has already suffered nearly $68 billion (Rs 5.1 trillion) in losses — equal to almost half of the country’s total debt — on account of being a frontline state in the war on terror. The damage to the social fabric of society in addition to that, is unquantifiable. According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan suffered loss of $27.83 billion (Rs 1.528) equally to this year’s tax target.

By: Waseem-ur-Rehman Khan

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