Foreign Policy Blogs

Wazirstan Operation

Finally, the operation in Wazristan is under way, thank God. Pakistan is doing a good job of clearing every place that was a safe heaven for the nuts in and around Pakistan. Now, policy makers in Pakistan should not focus on achieving short term military objective. This war is not going to be easy and a lot of people believe that this is a generational issue as for as defeating the Taliban threat.

Obviously the military is going to easily defeat those who are going to take up arms against the army in Wazirstan, or at the very least, it is hoped that the army is going to defeat them. However, after the military moves out, how will the civilian population going to react to the future Talibans interested in making Wazirstan their home again? This is a very important question and I hope that the army and the civilian leadership in Pakistan have given it serious consideration. Remember, majority of the population not only in Wazristan or in Swat, but all across Pakistan is interested in living peacefully. And when thugs like the Taliban come, people try to not get into fights and quarrels with a group that is heavily armed and willing to brutally murder anyone who questions their legitimacy.

Second, this battle cannot be militarily if the population in Pakistan does not understand the overall danger that religious militancy poses to the country. Therefore, it is important that the Pakistanis are clear about the actual reasons that the army is battling the Taliban and every other force (internal or external) that tries to destroy Pakistan as a country.

Regretfully, there are voices, and these voices are loud, that is propagating  that Pakistan is in turmoil because of some bizarre international conspiracy in the region. Pakistan has to aggressively counter this and other erroneous myths being pumped in Pakistan by those who are interested in turning back the clock and want to bring Taliban style government just like the Afghan model in Pakistan.

Given the recent attacks by the Taliban in Pakistan, it won’t be an exaggeration to suggest that the Taliban have become either desperate or terribly committed to bringing down Pakistan’s current set up. In fact, Taliban are convinced (based on their own claims) that they can take over the country if they keep up the pressure by non-stop attacks on Pakistan’s soil. But, it seems that the Pakistani society is not ready to accept the Taliban or their code of life as the norm in the country.  As a result, the current battle will become extremely bloody and it has the potential to go on for a while, but, there is no doubt that in the end, Pakistan will overcome the thugs and nuts currently threatening Pakistan’s survival.

The current fight in Wazirstan should also remind Pakistanis about the dangers of not taking religious militias seriously, especially when these groups are in the process of formation. For example, if a group of people is saying, repeatedly, that they are interested in taking over the country, than it is the duty of everyone to pay attention. And if Pakistanis had been vigilant from the start, the country wouldn’t have to suffer as much as Pakistan is suffering today. But, it is never too late to do the right thing. Pakistan can, and Pakistan will win the current fight against the pathetic Taliban. But, never again should anything like this become an issue for Pakistan. The country must take steps, and by steps I mean everything that it takes to become safe and secure, period.



Bilal Qureshi

Bilal Qureshi is a resident of Washington, DC, so it is only natural that he is tremendously interested in politics. He is also fascinated by the relationship between Pakistan, the country of his birth, and the United States of America, his adopted homeland. Therefore, he makes every effort to read major newspapers in Pakistan and what is being said about Washington, while staying fully alert to the analysis and the news being reported in the American press about Pakistan. After finishing graduate school, he started using his free time to write to various papers in Pakistan in an effort to clarify whatever misconceptions he noticed in the press, especially about the United States. This pastime became a passion after his letters were published in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and his writing became more frequent and longer. Now, he is here, writing a blog about Pakistan managed by Foreign Policy Association.

Areas of Focus:
Taliban; US-Pakistan Relations; Culture and Society