Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drones or Ababeels ? God Sent ? Nothing Happens without Gods Will so Stop the Groans !

The advocates of wounded pride and injured sovereignty lose sight of the critical fact that these actors of the “Islamic internationale” who use Pakistan as a springboard of Islamic revolution the world-wide are the first and foremost violators of the country’s sovereignty.

Ever since the WikiLeaks revelation that the army chief requested for drone attacks, there are many ‘hurt’ egos and protests doing the rounds. Very few it seems are willing to take into consideration why the attacks are a timely necessity. Our current anti-drone mindset is simply strengthening the agenda of the extremists, and we should very wary of representing views that protect and serve the interests of the terrorists who are holding a gun to our future.

First, we must not lose sight of the fact that large swathes of areas in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas lie beyond the state’s control. These places remain under the control of foreign and local terrorists, who over the years have eroded the state’s writ, administration and intelligence gathering abilities by decimating maliks and political agents and heavy-handed terrorist activities all over Pakistan. As it is, years of negligence from the government has rendered Fata impoverished, shoving the people there away from the mainstream country, at times from even those who share the same culture and language in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Today, we don’t have adequate human intelligence to know what is going on our own soil. Take, for instance, the fact that the ‘rumour’ of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death in a drone attack could not be confirmed for weeks due to lack of ground intelligence; the same can be said about the mystery in which the death of Baitullah Mehsud’s was shrouded in for days.

Drones hone in the audio visual signatures of the terrorists while depending critically on real-time information about the targets from human intelligence that the US has developed. The unmanned aerial vehicles are targeting known terrorists and neutralising the existential threat to Pakistan and to the larger world. The ruthless and barbaric Baitullah Mehsud topped the long list, comprising Abu Laith al-Libi, Abu Sulayman Al-Jazairi, Hamza Rabia, Midhat Mursi, Abu Akash, Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim, Rashid Rauf, Abu Zubair al-Masri, Usama al-Kini Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Each and every single one of them was decapitated by drone attacks.

Briefing journalists in Miranshah, General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood, who is in charge of the troops in North Waziristan, had confirmed the deaths of many ‘hard core’ elements with a sizeable number of them being foreigners. “Conceding there have been a few civilian casualties, he added the drone attacks also had social and political repercussions,” the news report read.

Without denying the collateral damage, it is also an uncomfortable truth that most of those dying in the attacks are mostly “facilitators” hiding and working for the terrorist network and not ordinary innocent victims of senseless terror attacks across the country.

It is a folly to think that terrorism can ebb with mere negotiations. The experiences in South Waziristan and Swat are enough to convince everyone of the terrorists’ duplicity when they would violate every accord and use commitments to gain time, strengthen and strike back. The destruction of schools and enforcing a primitive, alien and tribal sociology is an ugly manifestation of their ideology. But this is not to sideline the importance of negotiations which need to be conducted only from a position of strength and only at the stage when the terrorists have been rooted out so as to afford the moderates in their ranks an opportunity to join back the society and start anew.

The advocates of wounded pride and injured sovereignty lose sight of the critical fact that these actors of the “Islamic internationale” who use Pakistan as a springboard of Islamic revolution the world-wide are the first and foremost violators of the country’s sovereignty.

Many Pakistanis are confused and may be myopic, unable to differentiate between good and evil: they are tormented over the deaths of “terrorists and their facilitators” but ignore the 35,000 killed across the country for no crime of theirs. May be no fault of theirs; apparently the establishment’s ‘good and bad’ Taliban policy has backfired, as those considered assets for our foreign policy are coming to haunt us. The attack on GHQ and a host of others apparently do not seem to have convinced our security establishment of revisiting their outdated policy of harnessing the “assets”. Security analysts believe attack on PNS Mehran by well trained “fidayeen” carried signatures of such groups. It is this very mindset which has confused people to blame external forces rather than to look internally.

The drone strategy needs to be however discussed under a different light. It must be realised that the UAVs are tactical and offer short-term benefits but allows the space for intervention by local security agencies. A space that shrunk and then became non-existent over the last few years! Can anyone deny that Baitullah’s death did not provide some leverage or that Hakimullah’s death was a blow?

Would you rather have the militants culled in a remote region where the casualties from them can be contained, versus in a city such as Quetta where the US had long-held that the terrorists have moved and a strike there will increase the number of dead?

Indeed, that would result in an unacceptable greater civilian death toll causing political and civilian backlash.

We need to move on from debating whether drones are right or wrong. It is about time people come out of the injured pride and wounded sovereignty cliché prevailing these days and end the hypocrisy over drone strikes. You can’t have your cake (read “zero terrorism”) and eat it too (read “no collateral damage”). The debate has to centre on a long term counter-terrorism policy in which the security establishment willfully participates.

1 comment:

Uff Toba said...

I dont see any analysis from Moid Ansar. Just a Copy Paste Job.

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