Futile Military operations


By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)

People are fed up of the endless claims of victories against terrorists. Every claim is followed by a series of suicide attacks in different cities of Pakistan, killing dozens of innocent people. Nobody knows when this endless superficial war against terror will come to an end. Afghanis are also facing the same situation, where terrorists are successful in their plans amid international forces.

Few days back in Bannu, police killed a suicide bomber sitting in a vehicle carrying 1,700 kilogram explosive material. The people of Bannu are fortunate that it did not explode otherwise it could wipeout a thickly populated residential area. In the same locality there is a high capacity water tank, police line and cantonment area. The question arises how this vehicle entered into the city. Bannu is situated close to tribal areas where almost a year and half ago military operation was launched. The locals of the tribal as well as settled areas faced severe hardships during that military operations. But the advantage was that then people could move around without fear of kidnapping and they also got rid of rocket attacks at night. The army also lost their brave men while clearing the area. But it is our misfortune that today again this area is under threat. Few days back the suicide attack on police station in Nurar area of Bannu, attacks on army and police convoys, and the death event of Colonel Imam – the God father of Taliban – in North Waziristan shows the increasing strength of militants.

After US reconciliation in Afghanistan it seems that our establishment has changed their policy of elimination of terrorism. US reconciliation in Afghanistan is providing legal grounds to terrorism and fundamentalism. The emergence of terrorists after military operations gives an impression that reconciliation is the sole mechanism left to restore peace but we must not forget that this kind of reconciliation failed in Swat. Reconciliation will only result in establishment of new breeding centers of terrorism. People having strong belief in militancy and weapons can not leave this psychology at once.

Besides military operations and reconciliations there is an option of starting developmental projects in the region. This option is never applied in tribal areas. Still Pashtuns of these areas try to go abroad in search of jobs. Their second option is Karachi and some other industrial cities of Pakistan. But it should be kept in mind that even the highly developed areas of Pakistan are also providing nurseries to terrorists. The term ‘Punjabi Taliban’ well describes the situation of Punjab where many terrorists’ plots are discovered.

However one option is still not used in the war against terror. Eliminating terrorism, extremism, and fundamentalism through education is never applied. Our education system is the main nursery of fundamentalism and extremism. Our school and college books are full of hatred and fundamentalism. We must think that why militancy is again at its peak even after reconciliation with terrorists and military operations. If military operations, reconciliation and developmental plans can not alienate terrorists in the society so we must find the fault.

Perhaps military operations are just a deception. How it is possible that after clearing an area, terrorists can again reestablish their links. Just destroying terrorists’ hideouts is not the solution. The death of Colonel Imam in North Waziristan, where we have administrative agreements with few sections of Taliban, is a serious blow to the government. The links and visits of Raymond Davis to Waziristan is another failure of our intelligence agencies. How a foreigner who is not familiar with local languages, can move around in tribal areas. Even local journalist can not enter easily to these areas but a foreigner not only established links there but also visited the area.

The only solution to clear these safe heavens from terrorists is to start multidimensional projects. After military operations in tribal areas there is an urgent need to establish educational institutions. It’s a dilemma that the only Cadet College (Razmak) in this area is still not able to start its classes in its own campus situated at a strong military base. It was the only well established educational project in Waziristan. Besides educational venture there is an urgent need of starting industrial zones in this area. Any industrial venture in this region can change the fate of tribal people. Setting up industrial zones in Pahktun belt will also help in easing the tension in Karachi, which is now presenting the scene of Beirut of 80’s.Not only our people will get jobs in these industries but rather the products of these industries can be easily exported to Afghanistan and beyond. Only a developmental plan for this area can bring our perverted people back to mainstream national life. To defeat terrorism on permanent basis is only possible by changing our half a century old syllabus which is merely perverting the mind of our new generation. In the 21st century where nations are coming close to each other we are teaching our children the lessons of separation and religious extremism. It will only lead to confusion and will result in psychic new generation that can become easy prey for terrorists. While on the political front politicians will have to make sure that system must work smoothly so that people can express their annoyance though legal ways.

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