War against drones
Professor Ali Sukhanver
“We are ready to provide them security if they need. We endorse Imran Khan’s plea that drone strikes are against our sovereignty. The anti-drone rallies should have been taken out by the religious leaders long ago but Imran had taken the lead and we would not harm him or his followers,” said a Taliban spokesperson talking to media a few days back. On the other hand in the last days of the previous month a big gathering of notable of Waziristan was held at Tank, town hall of South Waziristan.
Leaders from Mehsud, Burki, Behtani, Gandapur and other tribes were also present at the gathering. They all announced to welcome Imran Khan and other participants of the peace rally in a befitting manner. In short Imran Khan would be warmly welcomed there in Waziristan by every one, not because Tehreek-e-Insaf is a very popular political party there, but simply because Imran is doing all this to express his solidarity with the people of Waziristan, who have been suffering a lot from the American drones since long.
For the last many years the continuous re-occurrence of drone attacks on innocent people of Waziristan has been the most irritating issue for Pakistan. The drone attacks have become a grave threat and a serious challenge to the existence and survival of Pakistan.
The US authorities say that the drone attacks are a part of the global war on terror but in fact the drones are increasing terrorism in spite of curbing it. The US authorities are ignoring the daylight reality that showering rain of drones on innocent and helpless women and children is nothing but a heartless brutality giving birth to a never ending hostility and hatred against US. More astonishing is the thing that the US authorities are consistently pressurizing the government of Pakistan to start a new operation clean up in the North Waziristan Agency in assistance of the US forces. The US authorities are blind to the reality that continuous US drone attacks resulting in killing of countless innocent civilians, have enraged the people of North Waziristan and they are already eager to avenge the bloodshed of their dear ones. In such a sensitive situation, any military operation would generate more aggression and hostility.
Moreover military operation is not a viable solution to every problem. Even the political leaders in Pakistan are of opinion that any military operation in North Waziristan would result in a never-ending disaster. In a recent statement Maulana Fazlur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam warned the government to keep itself away from the proposed military operation in North Waziristan as it would deteriorate law and order situation across the country. He announced that his party would stand by the people of tribal areas if any military operation is launched in North Waziristan Agency. In the same statement the JUI leader said that the US and its allies had broken all records of cruelties and barbarism in the name of ongoing so-called war against terrorism but they failed to define terrorism and extremism.
In such a situation where the political parties, the religious leaders and even the people from every walk of life are against any military operation in North Waziristan, it would be a blunder on the part of the government of Pakistan to launch any military activity there.
Even the hi ups of the Pakistan army are not in favour of any military operation in the North Waziristan Agency. In the third week of August, General James N. Mattis, Commander US CENTCOM, called on Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. In that meeting the Chief of the Army Staff clarified Pakistan’s position by referring to Secretary Clinton’s statement of July 3, 2012, in which she talked of coordinated actions against terrorists who threaten Pakistan and the region. In the same meeting, General Kayani categorically dispelled the baseless reports published in US media, regarding understanding given to General John Allen, Commander ISAF about Pakistan Army’s readiness to launch joint operations in the North Waziristan Agency.
“We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing and determined only by our political and military requirements. It will never be a result of any outside pressure. Pakistan’s national interest continues to be the prime consideration for any decision in this regard,” said General Kayani.
Today, the US and Indian media is replete with a lot of speculations regarding the North Waziristan operation. The aim and objective of this media campaign is nothing but to build a negative pressure and force Pakistan to go for the operation in the North Waziristan Agency.
It must be kept in mind that Pakistan is a sovereign state; it knows well how to take care of its national interests; it would never undertake any operation in Norht Waziristan Agency under international pressure, prematurely. If any operation is imminent, it will be decided by the government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army keeping in view the internal dynamics of the country.