North Waziristan operation: Peace talks were never going to work anyway!

Published: February 20, 2014
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This is an existential threat to Pakistan and it needs to be crushed in the most brutal of manners, let there be no doubts about it. PHOTO: AFP

This is an existential threat to Pakistan and it needs to be crushed in the most brutal of manners, let there be no doubts about it. PHOTO: AFP This is an existential threat to Pakistan and it needs to be crushed in the most brutal of manners, let there be no doubts about it. PHOTO: AFP

After much hue and cry about the peace talks, things ended up as most people predicted – the militant group would not let go of its savage ways and the federal government’s peace initiation would eventually go down the drain, fuelling military action from our armed forced.

On February 16, 2014, the TTP beheaded 23 FC soldiers. This was the last straw for our forces and the government retaliated by directing the Pakistan Air Force to launch airstrikes in North Waziristan, killing 40 militants. This is the first time our Air Force has launched airstrikes in the region since 2007.

A fantastic move by the federal government, one that could not have come soon enough.

Everything has a boiling point and the recent wave of attacks by the militant outfit is no different. The atrocities committed have reached new levels in recent times and it was only a matter of time before the state of Pakistan took action. The magnitude of the threat by these groups should not be downplayed at any cost. This is an existential threat to the state of Pakistan and it needs to be crushed in the most brutal of manners, let there be no doubts about it. The writ of the state should not and cannot be challenged at any cost.

These factions have not only tested the resolve and patience of the powers that be in Pakistan for way too long, they have themselves proven how they do not deserve even an ounce of sympathy.

The notion of peace talks, or whatever was left of them, should be well and truly off the table permanently now. Having said that, the recent airstrikes by the Pakistan Air Force will spark a string of attacks from the militants end.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) is already their favourite playing field, with Karachi also being the city they target very regularly. Punjab has been relatively safe compared to the rest of the country but there is every chance that it will be next on the hit-list. In short, cities across the country, regardless of their geographical location, will come under fire from the militants now. The magnitude of the bloodshed Pakistan will face in the not so distant future cannot be stressed enough. It is a scary state of affairs, but it is a reality staring at us right in the face.

What is even scarier is the fact that despite their horrendous levels of brutality, the militants continue to have sympathisers in every walk of life – from people in the media to people in the government, from professors in universities to the average man on the street. The militants are not short of apologists who paint a sorry picture for them and how they are only misguided docile creatures.

The most common story developed by this pity-party for the militants is the fact that they only launch attacks in retaliation to brutality against them in the form of drone attacks by the US and military attacks by the Pakistan Forces.

They are completely and utterly oblivious to the fact that there has not been a single drone attack in the last 55 days, the longest pause between drone attacks in Pakistan, but there have been 460 terrorism related deaths in Pakistan during the same time – the latest of many stark reminders to every militant sympathiser that there is no link between drone attacks and terrorist attacks.

Even though sympathy for the militants is very visible, there is still hope and no matter how thin it may be, it lies in military action. As things have developed recently, it should start dawning on everyone how peace talks have become redundant and they serve no purpose. They only serve as an utter waste of valuable time which could otherwise be spent on taking down militants via military action, which is the only logical and obvious solution to this whole dilemma.

The militants are not interested in resolving anything via peace talks and it should be obvious to everyone by now. They were given yet another chance, but they (pun intended) blew it themselves. Everyone in our political arena needs to come together on one united platform.

As General Kayani rightly said,

“Our biggest enemy now is an internal one and not on our western borders.”

It is high time everyone accepts that. Not only is that imperative for how history will remember the eternally disillusioned, it is even more important for our mere existence.

The drums of peace talks and Taliban sympathy need to be silenced, broken and thrown where the sun doesn’t shine. Everything has a certain level of tolerance; the state of Pakistan has reached that level.

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.