Pak must take care of Terrorist sanctuaries

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Ray, May 11, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The unfinished business

    US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on his maiden visit to Pakistan has reiterated what has been said repeatedly that unless Pakistan takes care of the terrorists’ sanctuaries operating in Pakistan, peace would not return to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Pakistan’s suffering because of terrorism has been horrific but in order to give one more chance to peace the government of Pakistan has started a dialogue with the Taliban. The result so far has been far from satisfactory though. It might be that we get peace momentarily and there would be attacks, few and far between, but the general fear would still loom and could explode into a larger conflagration at any given time.

    With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year, both Pakistan and Afghanistan would have to forge strategies to deal with the menace that has remained uncured even after the longest war in modern history. Pakistan has been blamed for most of this situation by providing safe havens to the terrorists in its tribal areas adjoining the Afghan border that helped them attack Afghanistan undeterred. No US/NATO effort could succeed all these years because of this arrangement that had been allowed to continue under what had been called the policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan. In the quest to protect our interests in Afghanistan, we raised the Taliban who had been as inattentive to Pakistan’s security needs as we had been attentive to protect them from hostile elements from within and without Afghanistan. Of late though, this policy has backfired and would become ever more dangerous if Pakistan fails to see the potential developments shaping up in the post-US withdrawal scenario. What if the Pakistani Taliban gets safe havens in Afghanistan and are allowed to operate against Pakistan from there? We might be able to push the Taliban out of our territory but we could not overcome the threat unless we decide to crush them completely. The right way is a combination of military operations and leaving the door open for militants who wish to come in out of the cold. However, for sustained peace, the support of the tribes in the areas the Taliban are based in is critical. We encouraged the formation of tribal peace lashkars (militias) but later abandoned them. They had been attacked by the Taliban while we did nothing to keep their morale up. Confused, they stopped supporting us since they could not make out the direction the government had been taking to fight the Taliban. If we could win back these tribes and provide them with the right kind of support, the Taliban would find it hard to sustain themselves in the region and we may be able to bring closure to this unfinished business at last.

    The unfinished business
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    Is this wishful thinking on both sides.

    Talking to the Taliban will not solve the issue or bring peace.

    Many times it has been tried and after a lull, terrorism has returned in full force. In fact, it helps the Taliban to rest, recoup, refit and be ravishingly dangerous for man or beast.

    It is ridiculous an idea that one should undertake military operations against the Taliban and at the same time also keeping talking to them.

    Is there any answer to this dilemma?

    When the US withdraws the Taliban's aim will be to ensure that the whole subcontinent gets destabilised.

    The Pakistanis are myopic and leave everything to Fate.
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Dialogue with the people of FATA

    To uproot militancy in the area, the government needs to work not only on taming militants but de-fertilising and uprooting the seeds and weeds that help nourish this nursery of disgruntled and disenchanted teenagers


    After the famous British strategy of divide and rule, we see an interesting strategy by the Pakistani government of exclude and overrule. Exclusion is the best way to disengage, dissipate and disintegrate people, societies and nations. In a world where the mantra is democracy, which is a model based on the principle of inclusion of all, it is strange that the British feudal and the autocratic mindset still prevail behind loud claims made by our politicians of public welfare and public accountability. As if East Pakistan and Balochistan are not proof enough of the dangers of exclusion and inequity, FATA is perhaps living evidence of what being treated as “not quite like the rest of us” can do to people living there.

    Most people, at the mention of FATA, have this image of a Stone Age world where people are ready to aid and abet extremist views and aggression. In fact, this image is now so strong that immigrants from FATA find it difficult to find jobs in bigger cities as soon as they reveal their place of birth. The first part of the perception of FATA being in the Stone Age is virtually true thanks to our government policies but the second part of people being trigger-happy is unfair and untrue. Geographically, FATA is a victim of the British divide of the Durand Line as the semi-autonomous states of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai and North and South Waziristan are divided from Afghanistan on one side and politically from Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Lakki Marwat and Tank on the other side. The last census put its population at 3.2 million, which is now estimated to be over four million. For the 180 million people of Pakistan there is a separate political system, while for these four million a different one exists.

    We wonder about the ancient dark ages prevailing in FATA not realising that it is politically, economically and socially orphaned by this country, left at the mercy of militant and military forces, and constantly shunned in any attempt of inclusion, engagement and participation as part and parcel of being an integral region of Pakistan. It comes under the same government but is not governed; rather it is administered. To date, it is administered through the ancient British law of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) made in 1903, led by the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who lives in Peshawar and is appointed by the president of Pakistan.

    The governor then appoints a Political Agent in each Agency who is a federal civil servant. To further make the case of exploitation, the Political Agent singlehandedly acts as an executive, a judge and a revenue collector. To make it worse, the representative of the community, a ‘Malik’, is also appointed by the Political Agent and thus the feudal, autocratic, bureaucratic and top down system at its worst contains and limits growth and progress in society, making it almost primitive in its bearing and behaviour. Prior to the 2011 reforms, no political representation of the region was allowed to function in the tribal areas; in effect, there still exists a lack of political vibrancy that is required to create awareness of citizens’ rights and allow them to mobilise themselves politically to pressurise the government to listen to them.

    Socio-economic indicators present a dreary picture. Sixty percent of the people live below the poverty line, which implies that this region contains the highest percentage of people who do not know where their next meal is going to come from. Combine this with a literacy rate of 29 percent for males and three percent for females, and you will find yourself wondering whether the ancient sub-Saharan tribes are better off than this region or not. Health facilities are non-existent as is exemplified by one indicator of the patient-doctor ratio being 1:7,670. As the area is literally shrouded as a no-go zone for assessment by civil society and media, very few independent studies are available. However, according to some studies available like the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) assessment, the biggest concern for the people of FATA is education and health followed by unemployment and law and order. This study clearly highlights that, despite being aware of what they do not have, they do not have a voice that can either come on the media or in parliament strongly enough to make themselves matter.

    Politically shunned, left at the mercy of the coalition of the power of the Political Agents and the Maliks, the area has become an open ground of unquestioned use of power by politicians, the security forces and the militants. Combine this miserable existence with a rough topography and a geographical location right in the centre of regional conflict, and you understand why the area has become the best fertiliser for deprivation, resentment and isolation. All three are ideal breeding grounds for rebellion and violence. The militants have used these depressed and repressed minds to their advantage. Most young people have a very bleak future in the area and, with few education and job opportunities, they are ideal candidates to become rebels without a cause. The militants have given them cause by creating this jihadi narrative of fighting against the US’s war on terror. This narrative has substantial appeal as drones have been causing substantial civilian casualties in many families and creating bitter resentment and a retaliation environment. Similarly, military operations have been going on for many years and have resulted in damage in terms of internally displaced people who have to give up their homeland and restart their lives away from their land, home, jobs, family and friends. These people feel that they are at the receiving end from all sides.

    To uproot militancy in the area, the government needs to work not only on taming militants but de-fertilising and uprooting the seeds and weeds that help nourish this nursery of disgruntled and disenchanted teenagers who will willingly become engaged with anybody willing to give them a sense of worth and belonging. Thus, while the government is having a dialogue with the militants, the government needs to have a dialogue with the people of FATA also. To decide the future of a region without engaging them in the process will again cause a short-term lull and then thrust you back in the storm of conflict of some form or the other.

    While a committee has been formed to have a dialogue with the TTP, a committee should be formed to have a dialogue with the locals of FATA. For the last 10 years, no president and no prime minister has ever visited the place. If civil servants as Political Agents are located there, certainly security-proof visits by the president and prime minister in the safer areas will carry huge symbolic value and a message of change of stance, seriousness, and importance of the people in those areas. The prime minister should then announce that a committee is being formed to abolish the FCR and bring them into the Pakistan Political Parties Act to give them a sense of participation in the future of this country. Most importantly, the committee should be given the task to hold dialogue with the main locals concerning not only how to control militancy but also a dialogue on education and health issues, and through a consultative process design localised solutions on how to improve the abysmal conditions. These solutions should not be ready-made template-based development sector projects but designed to respect the local conditions, local traditions and local absorption levels. As the tribal opinion leaders and people from jirgas become part of the dialogue, development initiatives will start having an ownership and engagement that will make implementation possible and feasible.

    Exclusion will result in opposition and inclusion will result in participation. The principle of reciprocity says that if we do not treat people fairly, they will not treat us fairly. The aim of having a dialogue with the TTP should not be just to save Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Karachi from violence but also to remove the injustices and inequities that the people of FATA have been beset with from the time of the British colonial rule. Otherwise this deprivation and disengagement will keep on resulting in other forms of conflict. If we expect them to be peaceful and patriotic citizens of this country, we have to give them the same rights and conditions that we have given to other citizens of this country. Only then should we expect national unity to exist and only then can we nourish the diversity of our people to develop sustainably.

    Dialogue with the people of FATA
     
  4. Eastman

    Eastman Regular Member

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    Bye Bye DFI
    Without Jihadist/terrorist Pakistan will loose its identity/morality.
     
  5. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    pakistan is taking care of their terrorist sanctuary perfectly,its their assets and bread and butter,

    koi apni roti ko laat marta ha kya ???
     
  6. BangersAndMash

    BangersAndMash Regular Member

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    Pakistan complaining it is a victim of terrorism is no different to a rapist complaining he is a rape victim.

    Pakistan has no right to complain it is a victim of terrorism until it gets rid of it's strategic assets aka good terrorists and all other terrorist activities from their soil once and for all, which ain't happening, because the cowardly nation of Pakistan is addicted to terrorists, they don't have the balls to fight on the open battlefield, they can only resort to using cowardly methods which hasn't and will never succeed, if they haven't learnt their lesson by now, they never will and will continue to deservedly suffer because of their evil ways.
     

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