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Why operation Zarb-e-Azb will not be a “success”?

By: Imran Khushaal Raja On: 18 July 2014

Pakistan Army’s latest initiative in Waziristan has got a lot of attention on both local and international spheres. The operation is satisfying some, irritating others; but whether they are in its favor or against it, it seems that just about everyone is keeping an eye on it. Media is reporting it with all its strength and debates are on full swing at iftars and dinners. 

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Some say Pak army is sacrificing its blood for the betterment of this country and no doubt this operation is a great breakthrough in this regard. But others in contrast not willing to forget the past, call them responsible for the creation of these non-state actors during their persuasion of strategic depth in Afghanistan, particularly against Russia on behalf of American intelligence i.e. CIA, after a communist revolution in 1978.  Regardless of these hot debate and discussion there are some ground realities that tell us whether this operation is going to be successful or not and in both cases to which extent. I found five reasons that you should know why operation Zarb-E-Azb is not going to be a smash success.

1. A very delayed operation

If it was necessary it should be done long ago. Soon after the 9/11 when Pakistan has decided to go for a war on terror, was a right time to initiate any of such kind of operations because the terrorist organizations got banned and have not proliferated and stretched yet not at least with suicide jackets and blowing stuff. One should admit that Pakistan has wasted a lot of its time in categorizing and separating the so called good Taliban from the bad and Punjabi Taliban from the rest. And if not then at least after the “successful” conclusion of Swat and South Waziristan Operations was comparatively more suitable time for heading towards North in Waziristan.

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. But Army Gen. of that time Gen. Kayani was not in agreement to his crew for this operation. As Maj Gen Ather Abbas (R) ex-DG ISPR revealed to foreign media that the military was prepared to launch the North Waziristan Operation by 2011 and that it was Gen. Kayani’s dithering that delayed the operation, thus allowing the militants to further entrench their positions.

2. Being conducted on one side only 

Such operations are hard to conduct and difficult to achieve the goals.  These are not war fight against outsiders where one have to invade and destroy rather win and preserve. These are more complex tasks to perform, against one’s own people where one have to win, not only the battle but the hearts of victims i.e. non-combat. Such operations need to be conducted on multiple fronts i.e. socio-religious and political along with military front.

549198-ImranKhanNawazSharif-1368546963-714-640x480Whereas in this case Pakistani society has mix opinion. Some support terrorist openly even on media, in public gathering and at universities. Other oppose but in low voices and synonymic writings. And remaining are confuse and muddled. Political governments are not in its favor. Punjab wants to maintain its supremacy and do not want to bother the Punjabi Taliban. KPK under the headship of Imran Khan always opposed such initiatives. Baluchistan and Sindh are encountered by their internal problems.  Gilgit Balistan’s opinion has no value and Kashmiri terrorists are inviting Al-Qaida and Taliban to join them in Azad Kashmir (truthdive.com). Although some liberal religious clerics like Tahir Ul Qadri has given “fatvâ’s” against these people but no religious front is equipped officially. That is why the religious institutions and authorities are confusing and misinterpreting the situation instead of giving a clear declaration against terrorist organizations.

3. Lacking International consciences and future planning 

The operation is lacking an international consciences on the prevention of possible inflow of militants into nearby countries through common borders particularly into Afghanistan. As it happens in 2009 When the Pakistan army launched a military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in northwestern Swat valley, Mullah Fazlullah, who is the current chief of Pakistani Taliban, fled to Afghanistan and still operates from there. So if the terrorists find a safe haven in Afghanistan with the support of some anti-Pakistan forces, as has been witnessed in the past, then the ongoing military operation will fail to achieve its goals. The possible measures should have been taken on diplomatic level with Afghanistan to eliminate the threat of future attacks on Pakistan’s soil from across the border.

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The operation will also have serious social, economic and human costs. The possible blowback could take the shape of more militant attacks in Pakistan, a country which has seen some 60,000 of its civilians killed in terrorism-related violence. The country is likely to witness more terror attacks, more bloodshed and more devastation of infrastructure in retaliation as Syed Fazl-e-Haider sees.

4. Not adequate facilitations for IDPs

After weeks into the ongoing military operation, the conditions of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is getting worse as reported by AisaDespatch.com. In Bannu, where at least 600,000 IDPs are housed, over 80% of the families have refused to stay in camps, especially made for them by the armed forces as they argue that the camps are not big enough for their families, nor they are good enough to keep them safe from the blistering heat.

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Whereas having a joint-family system, one tribal family encompasses at least 15 people while it can also go up till 80 members. This situation doubts the government announcement of a compensation of PkR12000 per IDP family that if even this amount has surely given to them will it be sufficient for them.

5. See who is rescuing from whom

The first flex for the donation to help IDPs was displayed by Jammat-e-Islami and Jammat-e-Dawa, the welfare and political fronts of militants. On one hand Pak army is conducting a military operation against terrorist organizations whereas on other hand it is just letting going their recruiting agencies to interact with IDPs and gain their sympathies. Apparently nothing is bad in helping displaced people but it really matters who is helping. These are the religious exploiters and opinion makers for the militants.

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Till yesterday they had supported them by all means. They declared them true heroes of Islam and martyrs when they got shot by Pak army. If they are martyrs then what about Pakistan Army? This is not an incident neither some kind of sympathy. This is a shared ideology between these and those. As Awami Muzzamat a leftist paper says, “Extremism is a mindset and political thinking which can’t be change by bombing at distant areas of the country.”