November 4, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 3:48 pm

This disowned war has engaged Pakistan’s LEAs for over 10 years costing thousands of casualties. The typologies and linkages of this conflict crisscross into a maze difficult to untangle.

After the elections, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s plans to fight the militancy with political support were suspended under political disapproval. Political parties led by Imran Khan wanted to give one sincere shot to peace before resorting to a military option. To borrow from Shakespeare, it was a grievous fault and someone was doomed to answer it grievously.

Despite best intentions on part of the government and Hakim Ullah Mehsud (HUM), the government hastened into negotiations neither comprehending dynamics nor the pathology of conflict. Talking peace was never easy. Notwithstanding that much was at stake with peace, instability too had many stakes.

First, formulating a counter terrorism policy was ignored though crucial to conflict management and calibrated peace. Politicians erroneously perceived that it would be too military in nature. They were wrong and played into a field placing they never mastered. Their initiative without detail, secrecy and snail pace methodology was doomed to backfire.

Secondly, John Kerry’s visit ignored the mantra of peace talks and concluded with the familiar demands of eliminating militant havens in Pakistan. Followed by a spate of terrorist attacks, the Federal and KP government should have factorised the reality that not only USA but segments within the establishment and media were not interested in peace. The processes warranted imaginative planning and fail-safe execution.

On the other hand, TTP with diverse groups under its umbrella would always find selling peace within difficult. As engagements for peace began, so did the spate of violence by disparate groups.

In a world wrapped in NSA’s surveillance, even a whimper with interlocutors was not a secret. While the government and HUM set respective echelons in motion, their moves were monitored. Selling peace amongst groups of TTP by Hakim Ullah Mehsud was as difficult as selling the idea to USA by the government. Both Prime Minister and Interior Minister failed to convince. Rather than pause and review, the government persisted; in the process giving away valuable information.
There were also disagreements within TTP. Not long ago a TTP leader critical of HUM was killed by a suicide bomber in Miran Shah. HUM on government assurance took the decision fatale. Had he not, he was still doomed because of dissentions within TTP ranks.

HUM of late wanted sanity to prevail. Efforts to dissuade him were ineffective. He used his media skills to portray a normal individual enjoying a picnic, standing by a stream, talking to select journalists and showing a desire to revert to a settled life. His world of dreams was morphing.

After his death, TTP will become more violent. Most of the Taliban groups will radicalise. Some will fall into Al Qaeda Influence. Sanjana and his group feared for ferocity will now rule the roost. HUM will not be there to moderate them.

Attacking rallies for peace is a war crime under international law. Had HUM not been given assurances by the government (in turn assured by USA), his command group would not have moved so openly in Miran Shah. The government as a face saving may continue to persist with its peace efforts. But who will believe it? Certainly never the TTP lured into an ambush.

The high drama has been played to a feverish pitch. The government and PTI may go hoarse yelling that the strike in intent and purpose was anti-Pakistan; the media will make everyone believe that it was to the contrary.

In days to come the winter fires will burn with more ferocity. There will be winds and cinder to ensure that the pyre burns. Pakistan has tougher days ahead. We neither know when the war began nor have control on when it will end.


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