Terrorism Flourishing Despite Zarb-E-Azb

Terrorism flourishing in Pakistan

Terrorism is flourishing in Pakistan despite Zarb-e-Azb operation and ISPR press releases. The hard truth is that while Army continues to target Uzbek militants in North Waziristan, Pakistani militants across the nation are carrying out attacks with impunity. This has been documented by the Jinnah Institute in its excellent program, ‘Extremism Watch‘.

In the past seven days, at least 12 innocent Pakistanis were murdered by terrorists in 4 separate attacks.

August 19: Six killed in Bajaur bombing

Six people were killed in a bombing in Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur Agency when when a remote-controlled explosive device was set off as a school van was passing. The victims included two schoolchildren, three teachers and the van driver. A non-governmental organisation was running the community-based school whose van was targeted. Express Tribune 

August 21: School teacher killed in Mastung

A school teacher, Abdul Samad Sarangzai was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in Mastung district. Police had not confirmed whether the motive behind his death, but both school buildings and their staff have been targeted by militants in the area. Express Tribune

August 23: Two Christians injured in SWA blast

Two members of the Christian community sustained injuries in a blast at a bus stand in Wana bazaar in South Waziristan Agency (SWA). Responsibility for the explosion, which was allegedly caused by a device in a tape-recording device, was not claimed by any group. The News

August 23: Three killed in Karachi Shrine attack

At least three people were killed when armed motorcyclists opened fire at a shrine in District East. The city’s various shrines have seen a spate of drive-by shootings in the past few months, and various extremist groups have been blamed for the attacks. Meanwhile, two supporters of the extremist group Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) were shot dead in Shah Faisal Colony. It was the latest attack on ASWJ cadre in the city, who have previously been targeted in a similar fashion. Express Tribune

COAS has said that terrorists are on the run and has vowed complete elimination of terrorists, but so far there is no sign of any interruption to the bloodshed.

Media Its Own Worst Enemy

Mubashir Luqman PTI dharna

Raza Rumi’s latest piece is a must read for anyone concerned with the direction of the country, particularly those who believe that a free and independent media is a fundamental necessity. He begins with a troubling report on the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America (APPNA) convention held in Washington, DC where wealthy Pakistani-American professionals and journalists trashed democracy and even recommended Pakistan to join an Islamic Caliphate (all while they live comfortably in America, no doubt). But this is an issue for another post. First let us deal with the issue of journalists trashing democracy and blurring the lines between reporting on events and influencing events.

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Zarb-e-Azb: What’s Really Going On?

Zarb-e-Azb

Before the standoff in Islamabad, there was the standoff in North Waziristan. While ‘Azadi’ and ‘Inquilab’ operations have replaced ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ in the media headlines, those operations continue. Like the political operations, the military operations may not be going as well as some of the rhetoric would have us believe.

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Diplomatic blunders and our failed Kashmir strategy

Nawaz Sharif meets with Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik

All attention in Pakistan has been focused on the dramas and concerts being staged in Islamabad since the past week, but outside this insulated bubble, life goes on and the world continues to turn. Important, even critical, events have taken place that have received little to no attention despite the fact that these are likely to have much greater impact on Pakistan’s future than retired cricketers and Canadian expats.

Serious inquiry needs to be made into the massive diplomatic blunder that led to Indian canceling talks after Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit announced plans to meet with chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik, and chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Meetings between Pakistani diplomats and Kashmiri separatist leaders are nothing new, but this time the Indians requested that Pakistan hold off on the Kashmiri meetings and talk to India first. Instead, the Foreign Office chose to snub India and meet with the Kashmiri leaders only. This was a major diplomatic blunder, and one that demonstrates a failure to think strategically.

Putting off meetings with Kashmiri leaders would not have meant abandoning Kashmir, but it would have sent a signal to India that Pakistan is willing to make some sacrifices in the interests of improved relations. This would also have given Pakistan a moral upper hand, showing that Pakistan is willing to take difficult decisions in order to advance the cause of peace.

Worst, one of the Kashmiri leaders, Yasin Malik, told the media that violence may increase.

Yasin Malik, a Kashmiri leader, said: “This shows India does not want to discuss the Kashmir issue with Pakistan, only trade. They are pushing the new generation of Kashmiris on to the violent path.”

This is a fundamental failure in our strategic thinking about Kashmir. We operate from an incorrect assumption that all of Kashmir must be freed from Indian control as a precursor to any other agreements. History suggests the opposite.

China has never given up its territorial claim to Taiwan, yet China does not refuse to meet with other countries unless the issue of territorial integrity is at the fore. Instead, China uses issues like trade as an opening for dialogue as part of a long term strategy to re-integrate the territory under Beijing.

By choosing to meet with Kashmiri leaders at the cost of talks with India, Pakistan once again looks like an obstinate country that is unwilling or unable to find ways to work with its neighbors. We have also demonstrated an inability to ‘see the bigger picture’ and use incremental steps as a path towards a long term goal. Ironically, by always trying to force a short term solution on a long term problem, we are actually making it less likely that Kashmiris will see either freedom or peace.

The Coup That Is Not A Coup: Army’s Masterful Checkmate

PM Nawaz and COAS Gen Raheel

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. After a week of long marches and escalating threats, one side has emerged victorious in the battle for control of Pakistan. While Imran Khan desperately tries to incite bloodshed and Nawaz desperately prays for the protesters to pack up and go home, the Army has brilliantly checkmated.

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