Operation Zarb -e- Azb and talks with the TTP
by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.
As Operation Zarb – e –Azb, gets under way, it is time to briefly reflect on why the operation may be the best option, albeit about 3 months late. But with all its negative serious, tragic and often horrific consequences of an urban nationwide devastation, and the many innocent loss of life and property in the “operational zones, who will suffer the “hot winds” of terrorist actions, it is essential that this now must be militarily fought to its bitter and painful end.
What is even more important is the “re-building” of the ravaged land of its physical, human, and emotional devastation and consequences. In this the role of post war, rehabilitation is CRUCIAL. Otherwise, like the circular debt, it will raise its hydra heads with even more viciousness and devastation. And unfortunately the current Federal Government is the worst possible one could have imagined to do this. So while we sincerely pray that the operation will succeed, we must think and plan for the post operation phase and have a governance entity which can do the needful. Tough times need tough decisions. The NS government cannot do it .Period.
So why is Operation Zarb-Azb, crucial and essential to give us a fighting chance of future peace?
Firstly, the TTP wanted breathing space to consolidate their forces, recover from the degradation of their power, because of the army operations these last two years. And remember we are specifically talking of the TTP and its Al Qaeda affiliates and those who propagate the ISIL and ISIS philosophy and NOT the people of FATA at large.
This resulted in a significant loss of the TTPs ability to launch any operation against the Army as they had been doing from 2007 to 2013. But because they were beaten and pushed into North Waziristan, they are now unhinged and on the back foot. However they can and will still create havoc by bombing civilian soft targets in urban cities of Pakistan.
The TTP is our main enemy. The TTP have very cleverly developed a narrative which weaves Islam, Pakhtunwali, liberation of Afghanistan, anti US resistance, an Islamic Caliphate, Sharia, and God Knows where they get their version of the Sharia, anti Shiasm, and of course loot plunder, money and power into one narrative and attracted various criminal elements into their fold.
So they also wanted their people freed from jails, they wanted the summer months to pass without a military operation, because it is difficult to conduct military operations in the winter, and lastly they did not want an operation till the bulk of the US troop departed from Afghanistan, so they had large force into a free run into Afghanistan.
In a nutshell they used the “talks” presence”, to recover from their wounds and consolidate their power. Once they would have been ready, they would have renounced the talks under one pretense or the other and then wreak such terrible havoc and hell all over Pakistan, as they started to do with the Karachi airport attack. And these will now most likely increase.
Their agenda is simple, destabilize the state of Pakistan, as their partners are doing in other Muslim countries, such as Syria and Iraq, weaken these countries, grab territory and impose their terrible and horrible version of our pure faith. In this they are playing right into the hands of the enemies of Pakistan who fund them through several faces removed.
Lets be clear on one core objective that fuels the anxiety the world over.
Everybody in the world except Pakistan would love to see a “de-nuked” and a weak and, God Forbid, the worst case broken up Pakistan,.
So here we have it as clear as it can be. While many had hoped, perhaps some in genuine naivety that the talks would end in a genuine peace time has proved that it hasn’t and will never for the reasons cited above.
So fight we must !!
Hence the view that Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the only answer, amongst the very limited choices we have and had, and now. .
Today a large part of their “foreign fighters” have left for Syria and Iraq. Also for the time being their sources of funding have been significantly reduced as their “financiers” are now financing ISIL/ISIS in Syrian and Iraq. Hence their resort to kidnapping for ransom to fund their activities, has risen manifold. This last coupled with the “power struggle” within the TTP, has brought about the split which we see today.
So we have to fight them, and sooner than later. So those who still want talks. Take your pick. Now or later. Otherwise Peshawar, then Nowshera and then Islamabad and so on is on the cards..
And the real difficult question is whether even this military option will work or not? The jury is out.
But clearly a better chance now for success, than later when these enemies of Pakistan would become even stronger.