By Farman Nawaz (The Frontier Post)
The option of military operation in North Waziristan is always a point of disagreement between Pakistan and US on one side and among Pakistani politicians on another. When Pakistan army announces that it will not accept any external pressure for launching operation in NWA then it reflects the fears about its strategic assets – Afghani Taliban – but when Pakistani politicians oppose operation in NWA then it reflects their concerns about the religious vote bank and a possible a delay in conducting general elections.
So far Pakistani army is successful in tolerating international pressure in this respect. It may be because of the active advocacy of Pakistani army for its role in Afghanistan or may be US has some unknown hopes that refrain it to twist the arm of Pakistani army. Perhaps successful drone attacks are the indication of an understanding between the two sides. However the ‘tit for tat’ chain of suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan also retells the story of clash of vested interests. The facts about the funding sources of Pakistani and Afghani Taliban can also explain the nature of clash of the interests.
Keeping in view this clash of interests of Taliban, Pakistan, US and Pakistani politicians, the option of military operation in North Waziristan is very complicated. It becomes more complicated if both Pakistani and Afghani Taliban are targeted. It’s a common approach here in Pakistan that US wants to shift the war on terror to Pakistan to protect Kabul after the departure of international forces in 2014. Its very appealing analysis but here the question arises that what will be the motives for Taliban to fight against Pakistani forces after the departure of Americans. Just an operation is enough to seduce Taliban against Pakistan or it will also need some religious grounds for it. Secondly for how long Pakistani Taliban can keep continue their struggle without the support of Afghani Taliban and local political support inside Pakistan.
For Pakistan Afghani Taliban and American pressure are not the headaches. The present wave of demands for military operation is against Pakistani Taliban. To save their vote bank, Pakistani pro-negotiation politicians have raised the questions that so far military operations are futile. Launching a new military operation will destabilize Pakistan. Again the question arises that how a small group of fundamentalists without having any clear political support from political parties can destabilize Pakistan. And if there is any hidden hand that supports Pakistani Taliban then these politicians must tell the truth to the nation. Even only this truth is enough to discourage and defeat Pakistani Taliban.
The option of negotiations with Taliban is no more than a deception. The previous history of negotiations with Taliban is not encouraging. It must be noted that with how many countries Taliban has started negotiations when they were in power in Afghanistan. The US attack on Afghanistan was the result of Taliban tough stance about Usama and even decision of Loya Jirga about Usama was not accepted. Before Swat Operation an agreement was signed with Taliban but afterwards Taliban started propagating their fundamental opinions about parliament and judiciary of Pakistan.
‘Pro-negotiation’ politicians must bring their agenda in front of the nation that what they want to discuss with Taliban. Is it possible that Taliban will shun their fundamentalist approach towards education, democracy and religion after successful negotiation with Pakistani government? Will they apologize for their deeds? Still it is not clear what is the agenda of these politicians. It is also dubious whether these politicians have any influence in the circles of Taliban.
In Pathan culture there is concept of Jirga to settle disputes. But arbitration is an integral part of Jirga system. The decision of Jirga is abiding on all and arbitrators are so influential that they can force the parties to accept the demands. The issue of agenda for negotiations and the question of arbitration can disclose the reality of the politicians who supports negotiations with Taliban.