Monday, October 26, 2009

FATA: Our political folly

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is 60-years old fatal folly of ours. The special status this area achieved soon after the partition, has become a quagmire for Pakistan after 6 decades.
The general impression of the FATA among the world is a lawless terrain where the Pakistan government has no direct control. The area is ruled by tribal chieftains who pay no heed to any Pakistani law. Most of the organised crime in Pakistan is rooted in this tribal area. From car snatching to hired assassins, from drugs to illegal weapons and from abductions-for-ransom to selling of women; FATA has to offer everything but for a certain price.

Almost all of us have acquaintance with a person who can narrate first hand account of his bad interaction with FATA. The Pakistan government has kept mum over the crimes in FATA, giving a free hand to criminals to do what every they like.

The world is right to doubt our intention in the war on terror, and demand “do more” because we had been covertly supporting FATA elements as our strategic assets just two years ago.

The Pakistan People’s Party government appears determinant to do operation in the area where around 12-15,000 miscreants are hiding. The terrain, topography and local population supports these terrorists.
The number of army personnel in the area should be increased from thousands to hundred thousands.

Indian had deployed around 700,000 troops in the Kashmir valley to counter 10,000 insurgents and still it faced difficulties in brining peace to the region. Going by that ratio, Pakistan has to pour more force in FATA.

Another major folly we did was that we taught the lion how to climb the tree and that renegade lion is now after our jugular.

Only two segments in Pakistan – the army and the Awami National Party - have openly supported this war on terror and faced militant wrath. Rest of all political parties, including the PPP, have done only lip service.

Why not PPP senior leadership visits our troops in FATA? Why PML-N wants to delay by-elections due to security fears? Does the PML-N doubt sacrifices given by the armed forces in eradicating terrorism?

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