Zarb-e-Azb: Decisive Action or Delaying The Inevitable?


Zarb-e-Azb is a welcome news to everyone who is tired of waiting for a response to the plague of terrorism and wondering just how many innocents must be killed before decisive action is taken against the jihadi networks that have taken root in our country. Our hopes have been renewed by Nawaz Sharif’s promise that operation would continue ‘until terrorism is eliminated from the country’. It is worth noting that even PTI has given its blessing after years of dragging its heels and claiming that the military can never succeed against Taliban.

Even with this renewed hope, still there is some small worry that clings to my mind however, which is whether these new military operations represent a new direction or merely a bigger version of the same incomplete strategy that has been the tale so far.

The worries are based in some details of reports from the operations. For example, many of the first reports emphasised targeting of foreign terrorists.

Local security officials put the death toll far higher, saying that about 150 militants died in the air strikes, which primarily targeted Uzbek militants in a remote area of the tribal agency.

Following these reports, ISPR issued statements that also suggested that despite being larger and louder, the new operations were still targeting only certain militants.

The operation is not targeted against our valiant tribes of North Waziristan but against those terrorists who are holed up in the Agency and have picked up arms against the state of Pakistan.

Such ambiguity raises the question in my mind whether PTI has endorsed the operation after receiving assurances over their concerns about the protection of so-called ‘Good Taliban’.

He also said that groups such as the Haqqani network have no war with Pakistan and are being isolated without reason. “Does the government want to burn all cards for the incoming government in Afghanistan?” 

Trying to remove only the ‘anti-Pakistan’ jihadis while protecting the ‘pro-Pakistan’ jihadis is like trying to swat only the mosquitoes that bite your self while protecting those that bite your neighbors.

Pakistan can no longer afford to accept this false belief in ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’, and no operations based in this lie can be successful. Inshallah our military has finally begun decisive action that will finally remove the plague of terrorism from our borders. Otherwise, no matter how impressively named the operation, it will only be delaying the inevitable…

No such thing as ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism’. All terrorism is unjustified.

Blast kills 24 at Islamabad fruit market

The terrorist attack that tore through a fruit market near Pir Wadhai on Wednesday morning killed at least 24 innocents going about their daily lives. Hundreds were injured in the blast. TTP was quick to condemn the attack, terming the killing of innocents as haram. However, such statements by Taliban terrorists can be understood as only a cynical ploy to hoodwink the masses when those same Taliban terrorists have confessed to the same crime of bombing markets and killing innocents themselves. This time, responsibility for the blast was claimed by a group of Baloch militants, and was condemned widely. Today, the Interior Ministry has rejected this claim, terming it as ‘ridiculous‘. Meanwhile, another attack has taken place in KP where gunmen attacked NATO container trucks killing a driver. Will this be condemned as strongly as the Islamabad bombing? Too often whether or not an attack is condemned depends on the justification behind the attack. Balcoh separatists are condemned, but those killing truck drivers are excused. Hafiz Saeed condemns terrorism inside Pakistan, but supports terrorism outside Pakistan.

We need to stop picking and choosing which terrorism is condemned and which is excused. There is not such thing as ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism’. All terrorism is unjustified and should be condemned equally.

Imran Khan, Chaudhry Nisar Share Responsibility For Sibi Attack

sibi railway attack

At least 16 were killed and dozens more injured in a blast at Sibi railway station today. This is not the first terrorist attack in Sibi. Actually, it’s not even the first this week. According to Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, terrorists fired on the same train earlier this week. Before that, there were attacks in 2008, 2012, 2013, and January of this year. Additionally, while no one has claimed responsibility for today’s attack, the timing coming the day after reports that FC men killed more than 30 Baloch separatists leads many to suspect that today’s attack was an act of revenge by the same.

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What Justice System Says About Our Society

Only 4% terrorism suspects convicted

The reality about how so-called justice operates in Pakistan was put in stark relief this week. Courts gave decisions in three different cases, and the decisions speak volumes not only about law and order, but our society more generally as well.

Thursday, the Lahore High Court granted bail to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq who is facing charges of fanning sectarianism through giving hate speeches. Malik Ishaq must be quickly approaching the world’s record for being charged and released in terrorism cases. Actually, though, it’s not just Malik Ishaq but most terrorists never get convicted.

While Malik Ishaq is repeatedly given the benefit of presumption of innocence, another Pakistani is facing a very different judiciary. An appellate forum under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) has ordered a new case against Shakil Afridi, the doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden, for alleged involvement in anti-state activities and collusion with foreign intelligence. This is not an excuse for Shakil Afridi or a plea for innocence, only an observation that it accusations of cooperating with Americans against terrorism seem to be treated much more seriously than accusations of cooperating with terrorists against Pakistanis.

And then there is the third group in this trio of justice systems. According to media reports, as SC was prepared to close the 35 missing persons case, it was revealed that no FIR has even been filed against the accused Army men.

To the Court’s credit, it is taking the case seriously and is making what appear to be good faith efforts to see justice prevail. However, the Court also has to work within the boundaries of law, which means that it relies on other officials to carry out their own duties, who in this case appear to dragging their feet.

And let us not forget that which some would certainly like us to quickly forget, which is the much rubbished New York Times report that ISI had a secret, unaccountable desk dedicated to Osama bin Laden during his stay here. This is a serious allegation made in one of the most prominent of the world’s newspapers. The last time such unsourced allegations were made, judicial commissions were constituted, officials were placed under house arrest and their movements restricted, and the nation found itself in an uproar. In this case, though, the article was dismissed almost unanimously within hours. Gen Pasha will not be called home from Dubai. No judicial commission or investigation necessary.

But even if the ISI is completely innocent, which is, of course, a possibility that must be given all due consideration, the article does name others and mentions specific evidence against them:

The haul of handwritten notes, letters, computer files and other information collected from Bin Laden’s house during the raid suggested otherwise, however. It revealed regular correspondence between Bin Laden and a string of militant leaders who must have known he was living in Pakistan, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a pro-Kashmiri group that has also been active in Afghanistan, and Mullah Omar of the Taliban.

Will the DG-ISI secretly meet with the author in a London hotel room to view the evidence against Hafiz Saeed and Mullah Omar? Will the alleged correspondence be ‘leaked’ to the national media so that the public can decide for itself about the facts of the case?

So here we have one system of justice with at least three different types of justice: The jihadi terrorist who cannot be convicted, the accused foreign agent who can never be acquitted, and the Army men who can never be properly brought to book due in the first place. We can place the blame on the judiciary, but isn’t what we’re seeing actually a reflection of something much more familiar?


Nawaz Sharif’s Secret Government Is Making Mockery of Democracy

Nawaz Sharif

The essence of a democracy is that the government represents the will of the people, not the arbitrary whims of one man or a small group of elites who wield power to their own benefit and to advance their own agendas. Part of ensuring the will of the people is requiring government officials to work in ways that are open to public view so that the people can protest and express disapproval if officials do things that they do not like. Despite being a democratically elected Prime Minister, however, Nawaz Sharif is governing like a dictator.

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