Violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty
THE debate is raging in the media after the recent drone attack that killed head of the TTP Hakimullah Mehsud, and impression is being conveyed by some politicos and analysts that the TTP was ready for holding talks with the government. But this is not true. Whether Hakimullah Mehsud was evil incarnate or someone willing to accept the writ of the state is not the point here. It is imperative that both the US and the TTP should be condemned in the strongest possible terms for their crimes and vile activities, and neither the US nor the TTP should be allowed to trample Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Pakistan government, all political parties, religious parties, and in fact the entire nation have condemned the recent drone attack that killed head of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). On the whole drones’ attacks have been counter-productive for one that Pakistan’s sovereignty is violated and secondly when Pakistan looks helpless, this emboldens the militants, as it gives an impression of weakness of the government as well as armed forces. International community starts believing that Pakistan government and its armed forces are not capable of controlling the menace of terrorism.
In keeping with desire and aspirations of the people, Pakistan’s political; military and intelligence leaderships are on the same page so far as non-acceptance of drone strikes is concerned. Whether talking to the TTP is a good idea or not is not the issue here. There is a little room for discussion with a terrorist organization that has killed thousands of Pakistani citizens and espouses a violent and sectarian ideology. People of Pakistan have suffered at the hands of terrorists, and they want that the government should be deal with an iron hand. However, if the government could bring peace through negotiations, it was worth trying. At the same time, for it to be effective, the decisions about the ‘when’ and ‘how’ of such a crackdown must be taken by the government of Pakistan in close consultation with the security establishment. It can’t be left to the whims of a other countries albeit a super power. It is true that the government has been sluggish and inept at devising a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy. It has so far appeared to have espoused expectations of US aid for overcoming economic crisis, which proved a hoax in the past.
For months it seemed in a state of paralysis. And when it finally moved, it convened yet another All Parties Conference to garner for itself the crutches of national consensus and a license for talks. Even after that, there was more talk about talks rather than any real movement in that direction. Pakistan is facing a dilemma. If the government does not take stern action against militants that pose a threat to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the latter tend to violate of Pakistan’s sovereignty. On the other hand, if the TTP leadership does not showcase its intent to hold talks to bring peace in the country, or the government procrastinates due to one reason or another, the militants get breathing space to reorganize. After being decimated in Swat and Malakand, Pakistani Taliban reorganized and came back with full force. Anyhow, Hakimullah Mehsud was reportedly at his headquarters in North Waziristan to attend a gathering of 25 Taliban leaders to discuss the government’s offer of talks. Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan termed the US drone strike that killed the TTP commander as an attempt to sabotage the government’s plan to hold talks with the TTP.
The fact remained that the TTP had issued a list of preconditions including the release of all its members held in Pakistani jails and the withdrawal of troops from the tribal areas along the Afghan border, where the militants have hideouts. On Friday, before the drone attack that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, TTP spokesman had reiterated these demands and said the government must fulfill them to prove they are serious about talks. As the TTP militants continued their attacks on military and civilians, yet some political and religious parties have been pressurizing the government that it should enter into dialogue with the militants. The TTP’s spokesman is on record having said that the TTP never made an offer for talks. The TTP seems to be changing goalposts, and also try to create confusion by denying its involvement in one incident while owning the other. However, All Parties Conference had passed a resolution that dialogue with the militants was the first option to bring peace to the country. Despite that overture, Major General Sanaullah Niazi, Lt. Col. Tauseef and soldier Irfan were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Upper Dir district after they were returning from visiting forward posts along the Afghan border. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Some political and religious figures often justify militants’ vile activities on grounds patently spurious. It is now for the civilian and military leadership to think out a strategy, which indeed they should have done long time ago, but apparently have not done so far. Extremism has indeed become the biggest internal threat to the country; rather it has turned into a dreadful threat to its very existence. The perpetrators of terrorism are laying claims to religious motivation, albeit very dubiously. The way they destroyed schools, shrines and attacked mosques and worshippers knocks the bottom of their pretense of being practicing Muslims. The sophisticated weaponry militants possess and use; the fighting expertise they display and unlimited funds they have go to prove that they are not religiously motivated but the proxies of certain alien powers. Unfortunately, our past and present governments have been hesitant to name the countries that support the militants. As stated above, the government has been procrastinating in holding talks either due to its ineptness or strategy of the TTP to gain time and to reorganize. The government should start telling the truth.