Guest Post by Insouciant
As the new Afghan-Pakistan policy of Obama is unfolding it is now evident that the drones attack will be an essential part of it. Another drone attack in Orakzai agency was carried out yesterday that left nearly 14 dead and several injured. The victims included foreign militants, locals, women and children. Yes, it was collateral. The thing that strikes me immediately is that Orakzai agency is the only agency among the seven of FATA that does not border Afghanistan.
Wait a minute – Had our bosses in the Washington not said that there will be drones only in the borderly areas? Or, if it should not be a concern as long as our Prime Minister is confident that the drones will not enter in Swat and Balochistan, after all this is from where the Pakistani governance starts these days on the map. Gillani looked really ugly when he announced with a sense of accomplishment that “they had taken up the issue of drone attacks with America and that there would be no drone attacks in Swat and Balochistan”.
Coming back to the recent Orakzai attack, there were no notes of condemnation from the quarters of government which is becoming increasingly apathetic in this regard. Well why should they condemn every attack? Have they not already “clearly stated” policy in the governmental gazette that they are “against these attacks as they are counterproductive”. Does this mean there is no other option? No, this is not the case even if the government wants you to believe otherwise. Nawab Aslam Raisani recently warned that if attacks come to Balochistan then they could knock on the doors of U.N. At least he appeared a man with options in his sleeve unlike the Federal government which seems to be at sea or pretending to be.
More than 14 suicide attacks have been carried out so far in the present year which very well maintains the average of 60 of previous two years. Baitullah Mashood is enjoying the lordship of Waziristan (Emirate) while he is now sending his partisans to the big cities like Lahore and Islamabad. One thought that after a successful operation in Bajaur the government would prepare for the final battleground against Baitullah in Waziristan, yet there is no urgency being shown for that. It is really perplexing that the state does not appear to have a clear outlined and a public FATA policy. Obama has a written policy of Afghan-Pakistan, even if it is not working, but what Pakistan has is only a farce notion of 3D’s often touted by Gillani (Dialogue, Development, Deterrence) that is reading more like “drones, damage and daze” these days.
The agencies and the government is not coming out clean with the public, not to say the Americans. The foreign aid has already been tied with the performance at home and the asymmetrical relationship of Pakistan and the U.S. will only give a more mercenary and transactional look which will certainly not help the situation. Then again, one can not expect the world to give Zardari a blank cheque. The political parties are widely bifurcated on the issues, and there is no single coherent voice. While one is only condemning the drone attacks, the other is worried only about the growing extremism in his locality. The joint session of Parliament failed to produce any tangible result after the in-camera briefing and the public at large was kept in oblivion. This has been the custom; ‘the important security issues’ are not put in front of the public as they are not considered worthy of it. Hamud-ur Rehman commission report comes in mind that was only allowed to surface after 30 years of dismemberment of East Pakistan. The path that lies ahead is not clear; that is sure that this is not the right one.
Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, the heroic figure, who recently conducted a successful operation against insurgents in Bajaur, said that the militants fighting there are nothing more than low life criminals who have got no moral resistance or a certain ideology behind their resistance. They are only playing in the hands of westerners for their interests. The success story in Bajaur was only possible with the help of local tribes. But the government has failed to take the leverage provided by Gen. Tariq yet. The refugees from Bajaur are still in Jalozai camp and are increasily becoming frustrated with the attitude of the government (their recent clash with Police left 2 dead and many injured). People of Waziristan are waiting for another General Tariq and certainly not for drones. It would be better if Frontier Corps (FC) is used more often than the military as they comprise of indigenous population who have experience of the terrain. For this it is mandatory that they are provided with all the required gadgets and trained to the fullest and led by people like Gen. Tariq. This is where the Americans come in the equation to ‘facilitate’ the above situation and not to create more problems.