Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Northwest Pakistan Abandoned to Taliban

The Pakhtunkhwa and FATA in the northwest Pakistan are bearing the full brunt of Islamabad's 'strategic depth'. Taliban are the masters of huge swaths of the countryside here. 481 bomb blasts in 2012 in KP only, killing hundreds but scaring millions. The helpless eyes turn towards the Pakistan's powerful military after each fall of a town and every act of terror. But every time the public has to hear only the creaking noise of a kind of  'strategic silence', instead, from the military's power corridors in Rawalpindi. It is more a story of the military's 'abandonment' (appeasement--not at all) of its territories and less of what the West sees as the War on Terror (WOT) through the glasses of a Pakistani general.
Today TTP has its writ in Pakistan's northwest countryside and suburbs of the cities, extending its authority to over 27000 sq kilometers area--a land equal to Belgium in area. About seven million population-considering only FATA, PATA and semi tribal regions residents, more than the Georgians and many other states, are living in the shadow of the 'Made in Taliban' horror. Its religious courts have the power to grant life or death sentence to the TTP opponents in the presence of over 80,000 troops deployed in FATA. The towns and markets are manned and patrolled by Taliban gunmen under the watch of the US-funded Pakistan military posts. The tribesmen have been rendered as the forced subjects of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan (IEW) with headquarters in the North Waziristan. And imagine the Pakistan military kindness--the 'caliph' of the Islamic Emirate on the Pakistani soil is Afghan citizen--Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani. Just about 300 km eastward from Miram Shah in North Waziristan, a Pakistani with dual nationality can not sit in the parliament in Islamabad. Mr Haqqani's brothers and cousins move freely in convoys of motorcades between Rawalpindi and Waziristan with brief spills in UAE and Saudi Arabia
Break the rules of the IEW and death is just next door even if the violation takes place beyond the boundaries of the parallel Taliban state. They target the civil society figures at their free will whether its the defenseless six female aid workers in Sawabi on the 1st day of 2013, a teenager education activist Malala Yousafzai in Swat or an elderly politician Bashir Ahmad Bilour in Peshawar. The violent foot soldiers of the Strategic Depth named as Taliban are the unleashed wolves tearing down all the good faces of the northwest Pakistan. The victims of a Taliban-claimed suicide attacks can be anyone--an elderly mother, a newly wed couple, a bread earner for a family of nine members, a newly born daughter or a student of the 1st grade. They choose the place, timing and target for the fight without fearing the consequences.
All this goes for purifying the religion for Taliban; and securing the region for the military.  The goals are 'sacred' and so are the Jehadi tactics--everything is Kusher. Behead the opponents; blow them up in the suicide attack; abduct them; torture them; accuse them of spying; declare them infidels; call them a threat to the state and security. The terror Hollywood has its main studio in Pakhtunkhwa and FATA with branches in Baluchistan and Karachi.
There is no military operation on the cards for retaking the lost territory despite the increasing public demands. The main opponents of the operation are the military and militants. Both parties are not willing to challenge the status quo--a kind of their extra-parliamentary coalition rule in FATA where the "live and let live" policy is comforting both sides. The nexus is, however, dangerous for the civilized people of Pakistan and stakeholders in Afghanistan. Right now it can be termed as a recipe for the slow murder of everyone and everything they don't like, including Polio, in Pakistan. In the months to come, the IEW & Co. will return the favors with interest in Afghanistan by doubling the current efforts there.