Hakeemullah’s death and its fallout

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Ray, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hakeemullah’s death and its fallout

    Hakeemullah Mehsud, leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), along with his deputy, bodyguard and 25 other people were killed on Friday in a drone attack on his house in a village near Miransah, North Waziristan. Clearly, this is a big blow to the TTP.

    Nevertheless, if history is any guide, the TTP may bounce back by electing another chief as it has done in the past and continue its activities, likely with redoubled viciousness. Hakeemullah himself rose to chief of TTP after the death by a drone attack of his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud in 2009.

    Already reports are filtering in that while on the one hand, Hakeemullah’s supporters planned to bury him on Saturday, the TTP shura was expected to meet urgently to elect a new leader.

    Hakeemullah Mehsud had a bounty placed on him of $ 5 million by the US after he appeared in a farewell video with the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA operatives in a camp in Afghanistan in 2009. Hakeemullah and Baitullah Mehsud’s deaths by drones fall in a fairly long list of terrorists taken out by the unmanned aerial weapons.

    The Pakistan government’s reaction, as expressed by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in a press conference on Saturday, seems to revolve around the narrative that this attack is a deliberate US attempt to sabotage the peace efforts that were poised to begin by a ‘facilitators’ delegation on its way to meet Taliban representatives with a letter setting out the dialogue offer.

    Sceptics and critics, however, are doubtful that the government’s claims hold water. Certainly, there was no indication so far that the TTP were willing to come to the negotiating table and in fact had set such unacceptable prior conditions such as release of all their prisoners and withdrawal of the army from FATA that indicated a lack of seriousness on their part.

    Theirs appeared to be a tactical position of fighting while creating the maximum confusion in the public’s mind about the talks process.

    Unfortunately large parts of our media too have been peddling this narrative of the peace talks being the best option, poised to take off, and offering a way out for Pakistan from a war many (including Chaudhry Nisar) argue is not theirs. To justify this line of argument, the government, Imran Khan and those sections of the media forget, and fail to remind their audience, of the trajectory whereby things have come to this pass.

    Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan over the last four decades is conveniently brushed under the carpet, including the fact that the Afghan Taliban emerged from Pakistani soil to take over Afghanistan, retreated to the ‘mother’ country after the overthrow of their government in 2001, and now are linked with the Pakistani Taliban inside Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. Imran Khan’s emotional claim to stop the NATO supply lines, even if it means the loss of the PTI’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, boils down now to the KP provincial government hijacking foreign policy.

    That policy, according to Chaudhry Nisar’s remarks during his press conference, would involve delivering a demarche to the US ambassador, approaching the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the drones issue, reviewing US-Pakistan relations (including presumably cooperation in the US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan), and drumming up support by briefing the other political parties.

    Chaudhry Nisar also appealed to the media to support the government at this delicate juncture. Just how delicate the juncture is, and could become, may become clear in the following days, but one fact is glaringly obvious. There are definite limits how far Pakistan can confront the US without severe damage to its interests, including economic and security aid, and perhaps worse.

    The need of the hour is not to get on our emotional high horse regarding ‘sovereignty’ and ‘national honour’ while claiming the US had committed, and violated, a promise to halt drone attacks during the peace efforts. A careful reading of the outcome of the prime minister’s Washington visit does not uphold this wishful thinking. We had argued in this space after that visit that the US maintained a diplomatic silence on the drones issue and refused to be drawn into any form of commitment either way. This assessment now stands vindicated by the latest developments. Pakistan cannot ‘go to war’ against the US. Our interest lies in protesting against drone attacks, which is our legitimate right, but not getting carried way by our own rhetoric to the point where we fall foul of the sole superpower

    Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan

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    This aspect is most imp[ortant

    Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan over the last four decades is conveniently brushed under the carpet, including the fact that the Afghan Taliban emerged from Pakistani soil to take over Afghanistan, retreated to the ‘mother’ country after the overthrow of their government in 2001, and now are linked with the Pakistani Taliban inside Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. Imran Khan’s emotional claim to stop the NATO supply lines, even if it means the loss of the PTI’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, boils down now to the KP provincial government hijacking foreign policy.

    and so is this

    There are definite limits how far Pakistan can confront the US without severe damage to its interests, including economic and security aid, and perhaps worse.

    There is no option for Pakistan but to realise that Pakistan cannot ‘go to war’ against the US. Their interest lies in protesting against drone attacks to assuage domestic anger, but not getting carried way by our thier rhetoric to the point where they fall foul of the sole superpower.

    China will steer clear of any confrontation Pakistan decides to have with the US.
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Wrongful Mourning

    “… friendship with America is only one of the two reasons we have to conduct jihad against Pakistan. The other reason is that Pakistan’s system is un-Islamic, and we want that it should be replaced with the Islamic system. This demand and this desire will continue even after the American withdrawal.”

    These were the words of now deceased Hakimullah Mehsud in an interview given to BBC last month. It is solemn to recall his words. The late Mr Mehsud, as one feels one must address him, after listening to the respectful mourning tones, of almost teary-eyed analysts, politicians, anchorpersons in the aftermath of his demise, was in it for the long haul. He was not so fickle as to be convinced of laying down weapons and becoming a peace-loving, anti-drone activist after some chat. He was not a lost soul with a misplaced sense of fighting imperialism. Nothing as quaint as that, he had ideological motivations and objectives (which incidentally are also imperialist if taken to their logical extremes) and was prepared to kill in large numbers for them.

    The system of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is quite Islamic; however, it was not good enough for Mr Mehsud. Neither was democracy. He never really explained his system. However, he was clearly upset with the present one. Upset enough to kill thousands of civilians and military and police officers. That fact needs to be repeated; he was responsible and proud of the fact that he had been instrumental in killing thousands of our men, women and children. The fact bears repetition since watching the analysis on display immediately after his death, one could almost miss it. Drone attacks are illegal and a breach of sovereignty, etc. The case against them can and should be made independently. The day the leader of the organisation responsible for the most killings that this country has seen is killed is not the day to do it. This is when you, at the very least, say that your thoughts are with the martyrs and their families. Yet, the only martyr visible was apparently Mr Mehsud, and that is noxious. He was a criminal, who had admitted to mass murder.

    One word uncritically and nauseously thrown around was ‘sabotage’. The context was that the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud was an attempt to ‘sabotage’ peace talks. One has to be a moral cretin to believe something like this. The TTP is not a legitimate entity, the peace talks had not really started and of course, they were by their nature doomed to fail. The slick presumption that the TTP were dead serious about negotiation and that talks would have succeeded is perfect nonsense. The TTP have never earned the right to any presumption of good faith. The TTP have also never displayed any reluctance or allowed us any respite while we begged for talks. Those attacks were also ‘sabotage’, of course up to the point when the TTP accepted responsibility. Then the TTP became Hindu-Zionist-RAW-Mossad-CIA agents, and in the next breath, they would become our estranged brothers just annoyed at drone strikes. Sometimes analysts would go back and forth between the two descriptions multiple times, within minutes. A particularly, dark moment was when the Peshawar church attack happened and the TTP disowned it. Yet, just when the blood in the veins of the apologist began to pump and they were getting in their stride, the TTP further said that in any case, they ‘approve’ of the attack as being Sharia compliant. On moments like these, one feels for the apologists and the impossibly tough task that they have. They seem undeterred though, pleasures of living the good life unfettered by reason and facts, etc.

    The government, the opposition, the media — all were almost unanimous in their condemnation of the drone strike and death of Mr Mehsud. Mr Khan and the religious parties displayed such visible sorrow and heartache, a fraction of which they have never expressed on a suicide attack. Mr Khan now seeks to stop the Nato supply route in protest. The last time that the State of Pakistan did this was when our soldiers were martyred in Salala. Do Mr Khan and his party’s government seek to elevate Hakimullah Mehsud to the level of our martyred soldiers? Will Mr Khan now suggest that our flag now be at half-mast in K-P? Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, along with the rest of the federal government, did not fare any better substantively, neither did much of the rest of the opposition. Those media luminaries, who had been busy fighting their jihad against the evil designs of Malala and Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, now seemed to be so grief-stricken that one could almost send them a condolence message. Those who are at their fiercest and most violent against young girls and old professors were still palpably afraid, deferential to a dead Hakimullah Mehsud. What bravado!
    This is how toxic the narrative is. Mr Mehsud was a criminal, a war criminal and an opponent of civilisation and is now gone. Yet, it was hard to find anyone to state this obvious fact (notwithstanding shining exceptions). All of us are entitled to a brief breath of relief. Does it mean drone attacks are legal? Does it take away anything from the innocent civilian victims of drone attacks? No, it doesn’t, and one looks forward to a time when the obvious will not have to be stated. We can oppose drone attacks and still be entitled to our fleeting moment of relief on the passing away of Mr Mehsud. The wrongs of drones and Mr Mehsud are not comparable. Even if they were, his death is no time for that comparison. One does not have to comment on everything before one comments on anything. In this instance, the death of Mr Mehsud is the real story and there are no legitimate grounds for any sorrow. Mr Mehsud was an enemy of life and as his resolve in the recent interview displays, an enemy for life. The small feeling of triumph on his death is dampened and overtaken by the cowardice and ignorance in reaction to it. This is a war of narrative and a long war; a fact, which the now dead Mr Mehsud understood better than we evidently do.

    The moment of relief will be fleeting indeed. Mr Mehsud’s replacement will take over and the killing will continue. The debate on drones can and should also continue. Our fight for survival will also have to carry on. However, it would have been nice and decent that on the day we learn about the death of our enemy number one, responsible for thousands dead, we say a small prayer for those that he has killed, their families and of course, to the heavens.

    Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2013.

    Wrongful Mourning – The Express Tribune

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    The indignant lament and seething anger for the wrong person.

    The real culprit was Zia, who is dead and long gone.

    Zia's idiocy turned Pakistan upside down and in this sorry state.
     

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