Pakistan has been hit hard by Taliban militants and is under close scrutiny by the world community. Under this pressure, the army and the government have acted swiftly to secure peace and stability, and protecting Pakistan’s culture and way of life.
The tide is turning in Pakistan, and the army has turned the tables on Taliban militants, but the fight is not close to over. Speaking yesterday, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kayani noted the success of the Pakistan army in turning around the situation in Swat, and that the military would keep pressure on Taliban forces until all safety was returned.
Presiding over the Corps Commanders’ Conference at General Headquarters, he said that major population centers and roads leading to the valley have been largely cleared, and high value targets were being aggressively pursued. However, the army would continue to carry out limited operations and isolated incidents of violence will continue to take place and will have to be managed.
Major Gen Athar Abbas, a spokesman for the Pakistan military, described how the army ultimately managed to rescue the captive students. He said soldiers had opened fire on the militants as they were taking the students to South Waziristan.
“Under cover of the firing the militants escaped and we have recovered them all,” he said.
Pakistani troops are battling militants in the Swat valley and pushing northwards from its main city of Mingora, which is now under full government control.
The authorities say more than 1,200 militants and about 90 soldiers have been killed since their offensive began in a neighbouring district nearly six weeks ago.
Gen. Kayani also called on the government to quickly launch efforts to make the return of refugees as fast and painless as possible once military operations are complete.
But the fight is not close to over. Today, a suicide bomber exploded a mosque in Upper Dir killing at least 30 people during jumu’ah. This is clearly an effort by the Taliban to strike fear into the hearts of the people and undermine the work of the Gen. Kayani and the government.
But despite the worst efforts of Taliban, quick progress is being made and justice will prevail.
So why is Nawaz Sharif causing problems?
In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Supreme Court was “paving the way” for Sharif to return to parliament and cause trouble for the government. Sharif is barred from being PM again, since he’s already held the office twice, but that does not mean he does not have his sights set on disrupting the work of the government.
This weekend, President Zardari is meeting with Sharif in Lahore. As a popular political figure in his own right, Sharif could do much to support the important progress made by Gen. Kayani and President Zardari. I will wait to see what the outcome of the meeting is, but hopefully Sharif will be throwing the full support of PMLN behind President Zardari’s government so that progress may continue quickly and effectively, and no more rumours like those reported by the Wall Street Journal will be spread.