I am not a critic of the goals and objective of the government in Swat. It is the right and prerogative of the government to establish its writ and use all available resources for this purpose, but the way the government wants to achieve these goals is not suitable at all, rather, I would say the government’s strategy of using the military at this point in time has been counterproductive. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others. The Pakistani military is neither more powerful than the U.S. Army, nor does it possess the state of the art war technology which the
Despite having the largest and strongest army in the world and spending more than one trillion dollars in two wars in
The formula of the military ‘surge’ like
Moreover, an inadequate arrangement for the displaced people is adding fuel to the fire. It only sends out the message that the government has no concern for the affected people. This style of military operation against militancy is unprecedented. Perhaps no one in recent history has used such an annoying technique, which affects the whole population of the area so severely. The basic rule in fighting against militancy is to win hearts and minds of the civilian population. If the government thinks that by proving the Taliban wrong and holding them responsible for the military operation will win the hearts and minds of the public, then it must revise its approach. TV talk shows cannot alleviate the suffering of those who have been evicted from their homes, and anyway, the displaced people do not have the luxury of watching TV programs about themselves in their refugee camps.
As an example,
Ironically, one wonders why our security establishment does not try to get inside knowledge as to how these people motivate their followers and what are the arguments they present before a young boy who becomes willing to sacrifice his life in the hope of attaining paradise. The Taliban were rapidly losing public support in Swat valley, but military operation has become a godsend for the weakening Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of the Taliban in Swat. The militants will definitely exploit human rights violations and collateral damage caused by ongoing operation, and as a result will be able to attract even more youth of the area, and thus militancy will never end in the area.
I personally believe the only solution of the problem is for the security forces to avoid committing bigger mistakes than those of Maulana Fazlullah and Tehreek Taliban Swat. Furthermore, the Government of NWFP should go ahead with the implementation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (NAR) and prove to the people of the area that it was always sincere. Before implementation of NAR though, a military operation, or use of any kind of force for that matter, will not work at all. If you have any doubts regarding my analysis then just wait until this phase of operation is concludes and the ground reality for speak for itself.
The writer is an expert on militancy and regional security issues.