Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY May 25, 2010 ~ Military Operations In North Waziristan

Defense News: DTN News: Pakistan TODAY May 25, 2010 ~ Military Operations In North Waziristan
Source: PakObserver By M Ashraf Mirza
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - May 25, 2010: Pakistan has ultimately agreed to launch military operations in North Waziristan, but has said that it alone will decide its timings. ‘Discussions focused on measures that both the countries (the US and Pakistan) are and will be taking to confront the common threat we face from extremists and prevent such potential attacks from occurring again…both sides pledged to do everything possible to protect our citizens’, said a joint statement issued after recent meetings of the US National Security Advisor Gen James Jones and CIA chief Leon Panetta with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Chief of Army Staff, Gen Pervez Kayani in Islamabad.
After prolonged reluctance, Pakistan has seemingly succumbed to the US pressure amidst reports that the US officials have conveyed President Obama’s ‘a blunt message’ to Pakistan’s political and military leadership about Times’ Square bombing conspiracy alleged to have been hatched in North Waziristan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had, in fact, threatened that any future attack on the US soil will have ‘serious consequences’ for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s civil and military leaders reportedly told the US officials that the Pak army is not in a position to move immediately into North Waziristan because of a number of factors including efforts to consolidate the gains made in the areas cleared of Taliban and capacity as well as resource issues. A meeting of the Troika viz President, Prime Minister and COAS later also decided that the operations will be carried out solely on the prerogative and discretion of Pakistan. Foreign Office says that the operation will be launched in keeping with the country’s plans and priorities and not at Washington’s behest. ‘It will be our sovereign decision as to when and how to proceed’, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told journalists at his weekly briefing. Interestingly, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen have also said that the US is not pushing Pakistan to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan. US officials’ meeting with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership had focused on the overall strategy for combating terrorism and not on any particular operation, they said.
The fact of the matter is that the United States has been exerting pressure on Pakistan to send its troops into North Waziristan after Pak Army’s successful military action in Swat and South Waziristan. Pak Army’s success was undoubtedly glorious and enviable despite the loss of life. US and NATO forces have no such achievement to their credit in Afghanistan since its occupation about a decade ago. Washington, therefore, wants to push Pakistan into North Waziristan to destroy the militants’ safe heaven like it did in Swat and South Waziristan. It wishes to see the militants engaged by Pakistan so as to relieve pressure on the NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s leadership has, however, been in a state of doldrums on the issue as it’s mindful that it may prove as hornet’s nest not only for Pakistan but also for the region as a whole since it has become hotbed of local and foreign militants after having been pushed out of Swat and South Waziristan as well as from Kandhar and other areas of Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that North Waziristan has become militants’ powerful sanctuary with thousands of militants believed to have taken refuge in the area. Pakistan has defeated the militants in Swat and South Waziristan as a result of the carefully planned and executed operations carried out in the suitable environment. It cannot obviously afford to plunge into North Waziristan without proper planning and preparation.
There are, however, many a pitfall tagged to the military operation in North Waziristan. Pakistan has friendly militant leaders like Jalaluddin Haqqani and Sirajuddin Haqqani in North Waziristan, who are fighting to compel the United States vacate its aggression in Afghanistan, but have seldom created any problem for Pakistan. Islamabad would and should not antagonize them to the detriment of its own interest for the sake of US that has always betrayed Pakistan at crucial junctures of its history. Besides, no one should entertain any illusion that the operation in North Waziristan will be easy or short lived. The possibility of its undue prolongation cannot be ruled out as it may prove swampy due to the concentration of Pakistani, Afghan and foreign militants ion the area.
With Pakistan’s military operation, these militants will be forced to flee to other countries of the region creating serious problems in region. The whole region will, in fact, be destabilized. The militants may even enter India and occupied Kashmir creating hazardous situation of conflict between Pakistan and India. New Delhi has already threatened of war with Pakistan if Mumbai like incident took place anywhere in India. They may also take shelter in the cities of Pakistan and resort to terrorist activities creating an ugly situation for the people of Pakistan. It’s, therefore, pertinent that operation should not be launched without taking into accounts its serious repercussions on peace, security and stability of the region in general and Pakistan in particular.
The US contention that militants enter into Afghanistan from North Waziristan and attack the NATO forces there doesn’t seem to be a tangible logic to compel Pakistan for the military operations. NATO forces have, in fact, scarcely nabbed such militants while entering Afghanistan or returning to North Waziristan over the past decade. It has unfortunately become customary with the NATO forces to shift the burden of their own failure to deal with the Taliban, fighting for their freedom from the US occupation, on to Pakistan. The truth of the matter is that the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan have miserably failed to consolidate their occupation of the landlocked country.
The resistance being put up by the Taliban against US occupation of their motherland is, in fact, mounting with the passage of time. Like Vietnam and Iraq, Afghanistan is also slipping out of the US hand. US pressure on Pakistan to launch military operation in North Waziristan is seemingly a desperate attempt of face saving before withdrawing from Afghanistan. Faisal Shehzad’s episode is being used as a pretext to intimidate Pakistan. Strangely, the evidence coming to light so far has been made public by the US authorities themselves. Besides, a terrorist cannot be so naïve to leave all proof of his implication as Faisal has done. A vast majority of people in Pakistan are, in fact, not ready to accept that Faisal is a genuine culprit. There is a feeling that he has been made scapegoat for justification of US pressure on Pakistan to launch operation in North Waziristan, which it has been resisting quite for some time.
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