Taliban & North Waziristan Operation
By Sajjad Shaukat
Since October 9, when a teenager Malala Yousafzai, children rights activist, a child educator and National Peace Award winner has been critically injured by the Taliban’s dreadful attack in Swat, Pakistan witnessed unimaginable reaction by all the political, religious parties and civil societies in wake of protest rallies across the country. In this regard, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for this brutal act.
On October 11, President Asif Ali Zardari chaired a meeting with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who had already condemned attack on Malala, agreed to formulate a new strategy to prevent such incidents. Gen. Kayani informed the meeting of actions being taken against terrorists and preparedness of the Army for further action. Afterwards, rumours started that they have decided action against the Taliban and military operation in North Waziristan.
Although all the leaders of political and religious parties strongly condemned this cowardly assault on Malala, yet polarisation exists among them in relation to strict action against the Taliban and military operation in North Waziristan. In this context, the PPP targeted Imran Khan of PTI, who supports Taliban, and suggest the rulers to engage in talks with TTP.
PML-N’s spokesman Senator Mushahidullah Khan stated that Malala incident should not be linked with any proposed offensive in North Waziristan.
Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Syed Munawar Hassan and chief of JJUI-F Fazlur Rehman remarked that the attack on Malala Yosafzai has no connection with TTP but it was conducted to create justification for military operation in Waziristan, while many innocent girls and children are being killed in US drone attacks.
It is interesting to note that division exists even among those politicians who favour Taliban, and also oppose military action in North Waziristan. In this context, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while strongly criticising Imran Khan said on October 14 that during his march to South Waziristan, he did not say a word against America.
However, these leaders also pointed out that the government seeks to launch operation in North Waziristan to fulfill a long standing US demand.
Notably, in his telephonic address, MQM chief Altaf Hussain stated that the citizens should decide whether they supported the Taliban or wanted to see Pakistan as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam. He asked the heads of the armed forces and the country’s intelligence agency, ISI, to crush the Taliban.
Leader of ANP, Bushra Gohar who condemned the assassination attempt on Malala, suggested on October 15 stern actions against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and supported military operation in North Waziristan where Taliban have their hideouts. However, we need to grasp reality in wake of controversial debate regarding clean up operation against all the Taliban.
In the last six years, the Taliban who have killed thousands of people across Pakistan, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA through suicide attacks, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence etc, destroyed hundreds of schools of girls and boys. They have discouraged women’s education, keeping them ignorant and exploitable. But they justify them to wage their holly war by killing the moderate dissidents.
When Taliban had their hold in Dir, Swat, Buner and other adjoining areas, they imposed their self-styled religious agenda far removed from Islamic teachings. It was due to Taliban’s inhuman activities that when in 2009, Pak Army ejected them from these areas through military operations, general masses did not protest against the armed forces.
Meanwhile, more than 50 Islamic scholars of the Sunni Ittehad Council issued a joint fatwa, terming attack on Malala as un-Islamic. They pointed out that the assailants’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual Islamic teachings. They clarified that Islam made it obligatory on every man and woman to seek education—strictly forbids taking life of innocent persons, which is not jihad. Besides, Shia religious scholars also condemned Malala incident.
In fact, Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, moderation and human rights.
It is also mentionable that foreign agents backed by American CIA, Indian RAW, and Israel Mossad are also penetrated in Taliban outfits. By availing the anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan activities of the Taliban, these agencies are defaming Islam and are propagating abroad that Muslims are terrorists, besides undermining the security of Pakistan. In this context, just after Malala event, a new wave of suicide attacks and bomb blasts have started in the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.
Nevertheless, Taliban’s dreadful attempt on Malala has distorted Pakistan’s image in the world as various countries like US, France, Australia, Germany and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have condemned this heinous attack by protesting against the Taliban.
Nonetheless, these extremist elements do not want to see Pakistan a moderate, peaceful and developed country by isolating it from international community.
Now, a majority of people wants that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to impose their self-created ideology in the country.
Regarding drone attacks, we should know that we are facing unjust world order as IMF and World Bank are under the influence of US-led major countries. Every time, Pakistan which has been facing multiple crises, gets loan after American green signal Despite it, opposition has started in other western countries and even in the US against these aerial attacks. So US would be compelled to stop these predator strikes.
As regards military operation in North Waziristan, recently, while dispelling speculations of foreign media, Gen. Kayani reiterated, “We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing as “determined only by our political and military requirements. It will never be a result of any outside pressure.” Earlier, he stated, “the army has always considered people’s support vital for its operations against terrorists.”
Recently, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik ruled out any possibility of military operation in North Waziristan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations