Thursday, June 9, 2011

Will army get public support for North Waziristan operation?

Another army operation against insurgents in North Waziristan is on the cards. Like always, except the exceptinoal Swat operation, the order has come from the US. The US had been asking Pakistan to push Taliban harder but Pakistan on one pretext or another was not complying with the US demand.
Then came the Abbotabad raid of US forces in which Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed along with his accomplices in a compound not far from Pakistan Military Academy. The mounting US pressure in the wake of the Abbotabad operation was unbearable for Pakistan. Pakistan was given two options either accept incompetence to track down Al Qaeda chief or confess that Pakistan was complicit with Al Qaeda.
The military establishment, which has never accepted any fault in its history, was left with nothing but to opt for incompetence. The US did not accept our incompentence plea and said on many occasions that someone in Pakistani military knew about Osama’s presence in Abbotabad. The US declared Pakistan innocent after Islamabad gave in to Washington’s pressure that Pakistan start a full fledge operation against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in North Waziristan.

People’s perspective:
Most of the people in Pakistan have never owned this war against terrorism. Only Swat operation had the necessary public support only because of a video in which Taliban were allegedly thrashing a young girl on her buttocks. All operation before Swat, were carried out half heartedly by the army and the people.
The public opinion is not likely to be in favour of the proposed operation because they have seen the army’s embarassing performance in recent incidents of terrorism. Abbotabad operation and subsequent reaction of army was an eye-opener for a nation which has always remained a fan of its armed forces.
Then came Kharotabad incident in Quetta which also forced people to think about the competence of the army which is a major budget consumer. The Taliban attack on PNS-Mehran base in Karachi was too embarassing for armed forces to digest. A handful of Taliban fighters entered the base and destroyed two survilance aircraft of Pakistan navy before escaping. The nation saw the army batteling with the handful of insurgents for the whole day and insurgents fled at the end.
The deput air chief has also told parliament that Pakistan can drop US drones flying over tribal areas but its consequences will be unbearable. Pakistan’s acceptance of US drone strikes is no more a secret. People know that Islamabad is hand in glove with Washington on drone strikes and all protests were a mere eye-wash.
With this kind of situation, army will not have any public support for an operation in North Waziristan.
The operation, likely to be started, will have grave consequences for nation. North Waziristan is the last bastion of terrorists. They will retaliate with a series of suicide attacks on targets never attacked before.

1 comment: