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The Emirate of TTP

Updated Aug 12, 2013 08:00am


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THERE is a businessman in Karachi who lives in one of those manors with barbed wires atop high walls.

He generates his own electricity through solar technology, as none is available from the state. He harvests rainwater for domestic use, as none is provided by the state. He has employed private guards, as the state is not even pretending to take responsibility for his life and security. What he says with a chuckle reflects the painful reality of Pakistan: all I need to do is design my own flag and I can declare myself a state.

What will the prime minister say to families of the 11 boys who were blown up playing football in Karachi? That the act of killing innocent citizens is heinous and he condemns it? What will Sindh’s chief minister say to the grief-stricken mothers in Lyari? That it was God’s will? What will the IG police say to the wife of the SSP just killed in Chilas? That only brave officers die in the line of fire? What does the army chief say to all the martyrs who die fighting the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) every day? That their kids will be proud of their sacrifice?

Will any of them say they are sorry and ashamed that they have failed and are continuing to fail in discharging a responsibility that comes with the public offices they hold? This is the latest fad in Pakistan: matter-of-fact acknowledgment of the wrongfulness of a situation, without the slightest suggestion that such wrongfulness is the product of individual acts and omissions that must attract responsibility. What else can explain the D.I. Khan jailbreak, which was a replica of the Bannu jailbreak?

After each terror incident we are told that it was caused due to intelligence failure, as if only coordination amongst agencies and sharing information would sort out the menace. There was no failure of intelligence this time. We have been told that concrete intelligence had been provided to law enforcement agencies regarding the target, timing of the attack and the identity of the terrorists. The TTP came, it saw, it conquered, and then left undisturbed. How do you understand such an event within a sovereign state?

Let us break this down. So we know there is an enemy within our territorial borders planning and executing attacks against the state and citizens alike, and publicly taking ‘credit’ for them. In one such incident, intelligence agencies determine that an attack on a jail holding TTP affiliates is imminent. There’s information that the TTP is organising itself in the neighborhood in preparation for the attack. And how does the state respond? It awaits the attack.

Are we analysing the conduct of two belligerent nation-states where even in the face of imminent war you don’t wish to be the first one to breach the peace? The TTP has a state of its own within what the world mistakenly believes to be Pakistani territory. It is called North Waziristan. Not only does the writ of Pakistan not extend to North Waziristan, this is enemy territory from where the TTP plans and executes attacks on its declared enemy: the state and citizens of Pakistan.

It is misleading to call North Waziristan a sanctuary. A sanctuary is a place where someone has been given refuge. There is an assumption within the concept that there is a higher power actually providing such refuge. The TTP has not been afforded sanctuary in North Waziristan. It is the TTP that is affording sanctuary to Al Qaeda and foreign fighters within North Waziristan, as the TTP’s writ is supreme within North Waziristan and its orders are habitually obeyed by all living within such territory.

From a legal perspective, the contemporary notion of state sovereignty has four attributes: defined territory; distinct population; authority over territory and population; and recognition of such authority. Should the TTP not claim North Waziristan as the Emirate of TTP? After all it enjoys independent and absolute authority over a distinct territory and population. There might not be international recognition of the TTP’s sovereignty yet, but doesn’t the state of Pakistan offer de facto acknowledgement through its conduct?

Wouldn’t formally declaring North Waziristan the Emirate of TTP be advantageous? Once TTP has its own state, we will know for sure that the war consuming the soldiers and citizens of Pakistan is our own war, notwithstanding how it started. Each time the TTP attacks a mosque, a funeral, a school, we can file a complaint with the UN building public opinion that the Emirate of TTP is a rogue state that attacks unarmed civilians in other sovereign states and shows no respect for human rights.

Each time it attacks a naval or air base, the GHQ or ISI offices, we can take it to the Security Council for illegal use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of our sovereign state and ask the international community to protect us from the next-door savages. Given that neither our politicians nor our generals have developed a narrative against the TTP, let’s formally give them the state that they already run and let the media develop the required narrative and drum up hate against them.

TTP sympathiser will become a curse word. Those projected as forgiving visionaries who’d rather hold talks with the killers of our children in the interest of peace will be instantly declared agents in the pay of our enemies who have sold their souls to the devil. Our drone problem will go away as the attacks will no longer be a breach of our sovereignty.

We might even be able to evolve public opinion in favour of taking action against slaughterers of Shias and other murderous militias in Karachi and elsewhere by disclosing their linkage with the TTP.

The more you think about it, the better it gets. The TTP is a formidable enemy that is winning. Let’s give it what it already has and ask for mercy. If it still keeps hurting us, let us go and complain to the big boys.

The writer is a lawyer.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (50) Closed

Kashif Nawaz Shaikh Aug 12, 2013 08:36am

WoW...A great idea so that our public eyes can be opened that TTP is our real enemy. I think Government should ponder over this which will make life easier for everyone and make our enemy clear.

Shaukat ali Chughtai Aug 12, 2013 08:56am

It is a fantastic idea. Let many anchor persons, intellectuals, scholars and analysts sit together and draft a paper to be given to the so called pseudo parliament to make it a bill, get it passed by the assembly and let us work th way u have proposed.

Tariq K Sami Aug 12, 2013 10:04am

Its easy all you have to do is to speak to the TTP in the language they understand.

Jazzy Aug 12, 2013 12:53pm

Beautiful piece of work Babar Sattar. Those who want to talk to such beasts must choose the right direction now.

gulzar Aug 12, 2013 01:34pm

Truth. But who we are to speak it. those who created them and securing them are more powerful. they could have killed and even captured all the 150 attackers on Dera Jail but they did'nt want to. speaking aginst the Taliban means no thing unless we dare to speak aginst the owners.

Imran Aug 12, 2013 01:51pm

Depressing but true. Trouble is the TTP will not be content with North Waziristan alone.

umer Aug 12, 2013 01:57pm

The TTP is working for an emirate of Pakistan, not just NW. Problem is,Punjab and Karachi is never going to allow that. That only leaves the hapless people of Pashtoonkhwa at the mercy of TTP.

Khalid Pathan Aug 12, 2013 02:04pm

I fully endorse the suggestion of Babar Sattar. Under the circumstances this is the best option, either we adopt it or else we have to use full force of state to establish the writ. Otherwise, the TTP will continue bringing more and more geographical territory under their control, to rule it de facto.

Uza Syed Aug 12, 2013 02:34pm

Instead of allowing them capture and illegaly establish themselves as state within state, shouldn't we forcefully recapture oyr terriitories and obliterate all that resists our rightful claim to what is rightfully ours? In my view, we should and we must while we still can. No more dilly-dallying, act now and get the job done.

Sameera Aug 12, 2013 02:38pm

The case cannot be better prepared

Human Aug 12, 2013 03:51pm

I personally agree cent percent with you

Hassan Aug 12, 2013 04:11pm

Good sarcasm but no concluded concrete suggestions. American line is to attack N.Waziristan but they want to negotiate with Taliban. TT/TTP line is to accept their authority but they want to negotiate with America. What Option do we have? A PEACE PLAN for Pakistan

Mohni Aug 12, 2013 05:25pm

Brilliant idea!

Khanm Aug 12, 2013 06:07pm

The utter incompetence of the Pakistani leadership, intelligence, and total failure in every rank and file is literally incomprehensible. Where are we going? Oh God only you can help us but then why would you

Akram Aug 12, 2013 06:36pm

We are fast approaching a situation where the state needs to decide on an operation in North Waziristan. Its a mountainous region not easy for army's to control, ideal for those who want to hide in nooks and crannies. We can either try to hold this region, or if threatened as we are daily by it, destroy it with a scorched earth policy. Neither of these seem palatable, but then again daily attacks from there are not palatable either. We are at a cross roads. Talks with people who oppose the very concept of compromise, are futile. I'm afraid its going to have to be a forceful response. It seems these people understand nothing else.

Mustafa Haider Aug 12, 2013 06:38pm

Amazing...and true!

Masood Hussain Aug 12, 2013 07:39pm

Very pathetic reading.Come what may concerned authorities are going to budge and always come out with some unconvincing story.

irfanzone Aug 12, 2013 07:41pm

Frontmen ( politicians ) and behind the scene power corridors ( Estab / Army ) , Both are either confused , scared to acknowledge ( own beast turning against them ) , living in denial OR Worse , still dreaming of strat depth aka Launch of caliphate at the hands of these Barbarians.

Ahsan baloch Aug 12, 2013 07:58pm

Ironic it is, as always.

Kazim Muneer Aug 12, 2013 08:10pm

Very practical analysis and suggestions. Unusual circumstances, such as those being confronted by Pakstan, require unusual solutions. Mr Sattar is a known public speaker and one of the most prominent Lawyers in Pakistan. His suggestions very much points to possible solutions provided that the current army of most incompetent individuals filling the numbers in so-called elected House of Representatives, pull a miracle and implement solution applauded by masses.

BRR Aug 12, 2013 08:17pm

Rather fanciful, Pakistan govt and military keeps harping about sovereignty and demanding US and NATO to respect its sovereignty when it has handed over parts of FATA and KP to its own trained militants, it pet extremists. Now, to declare such militants as beyond its control is to acknowledge public that they were under its control initially - a mea culpa. DO you really expect Pakistani govt. and Military to do that?

Malik Aug 12, 2013 08:24pm

Security costs money, and money comes from taxes. This lesson will be learned over and over till all the small businesses men clamoring for security start paying taxes and than ask for security from it. I am surprised somebody from Harvard wouldn't make this point.

Sharjeel Jawaid Aug 12, 2013 09:20pm

It is actually The Kharijite Emirate of North Waziristan!

Arif Humayun Aug 12, 2013 09:27pm

Despite the irony, an excellent solution to the problem of terrorism and radicalism in Pakistan. Let us either bite the bullet and take the proverbial bull by the horns and separate religion from politics or allow the creation of the Emirates of TTP.

orish Aug 12, 2013 09:39pm

Why are we not ready to accept the reality and are constantly burying our head in the sand. Lets talk to them and bring them in mainstream politics. May be they bring the change we all are clamoring for.

Mamoon Aug 12, 2013 09:44pm

So what you mean to say is that if tomorrow some one was able to take a bunch of people hostage in a society, that society should then be declared a sovereign state of those criminals and both hostages and criminals should be dealt with in a similar fashion?

Dan Aug 12, 2013 10:33pm

Bravo bravo bravo..

Farah Aug 12, 2013 10:58pm

What a wonderful idea, sir!

Bakhtawer Bilal Aug 12, 2013 11:14pm

I do agree with all the post TTP Emirate scenario. I do differ on one notion. I seems as if we, the Pakistan, are in a position to decide to give or not to give them the space. It is completely the sweet wish of TTP if and when to declare. We just observe everything passively. How many times we have read that "after" the suicide bombing, police is totting their guns. After the event, we comment. Similarly, we will wait. Once they choose to go the way of declaring, then our Highness in and out of uniform will comment.

Munir Saami Aug 12, 2013 11:21pm

One of the most profound articles that I have recently read, on the failure of a state and abdication of duty to citizens by all the players of a state's relevant players.

Md Imran Aug 12, 2013 11:27pm

Janab, that is all fine, but how about solving this with love and affection ? Ummah brotherhood transcends borders and tribes. They are our own brothers who have been mislead by external forces. We must look to negotiate and not continue on a collission path.

yasir Aug 12, 2013 11:39pm


Aasim Aug 13, 2013 12:20am

The TTP is but a shadow of Alqaeda in Pakistan. If Pakistan helps the NATO forces in eliminating Alqaeda in Afghanistan, TTP gets weakened and will eventually fizzle out.

Besides, we can employ guards/security forces at the entrances and exits to North Waziristan thereby cutting their links with bodies in other parts of the country and/or limiting their mobility and communications.

Their telephone, mobile phone communications can be jammed by employing jammer devices in/around N.Waziristan.

The sources where they get guns/ weapons/arms/munitions can be shut out by a number of ways. And there are a host of others things that can be eradicate TTP. Just don't know who will do this and when.

Ahmed Aug 13, 2013 12:41am

Although I agree with most of the article, there are some glaring issues with your ideas. The biggest I can see is that TTP (and all of its variations) aren't simply an army or a race or a territory that can be fought with, bargained with or talked to. It's an ideology that may be strongest in North Waziristan, yet has spread its roots all over the place.

I've repeated this in every discussion regarding the TTP and LeJ. It's not the brainwashed suicide bomber who we should be afraid of. It's the average people who endorse such acts, or at least choose to stay silent. And most of the remaining simply chalk it up to conspiracy theories and move on.

Imagine the furor if there's even any serious thought of a separate emirate of TTP. It would be labeled as a conspiracy to separate Muslim brothers and divide the only remaining "fortress" of Islam.

And let's say such as state did come into existence. The sympathizers would still cripple any efforts to speak up against this evil. We all know the role Saudi Arabia already plays in spreading hatred in our country. What have we been able to do about that and their ongoing destruction of Islam's holiest places? Not even a peep. I don't see the ETTP being treated any differently.

a Aug 13, 2013 01:04am

I don't understand this Lyari issue and the locals living there. When the army launches an operation to get rid of the thugs and hooligans, everyone comes out on the streets protesting against the army operation. And now they cry that the govt is not doing enough and people are being killed.

Faisal Aug 13, 2013 01:29am

Wake up Mian Sahab. For God sake.

Parvez Aug 13, 2013 01:32am

More than brilliant.

hashmi Aug 13, 2013 01:51am

so much is for our sovereignty .

Gulbagh Singh Aug 13, 2013 02:43am

So, India should talk to TTP for violation of peace at LOC.

Syed Aug 13, 2013 04:16am

Nothing will be done by our government to rein TTP, because they and their brother TTAfghanistan are our assets for capturing Afghanistan after American leave it. Government can atleast get a declaration from TTP and TTA that their anti state activities against Pakistan will sease after NATO forces leave Afghanistan in 2014.

Nasiroski Aug 13, 2013 06:08am

When are we going to stop talking and start doing "something" about it? Good article but unfortunately nothing new. This is what we all know already and we know the opposing argument to this as well. Instruments of state and public are loosing moral and hope, the time for discussion is long over and time for action is quickly ticking away, so before it's too late whatever it is that the powers of state want to do negotiate or use force or both get on it now.

Farhat Abbas Adv. Aug 13, 2013 09:43am

Very well knitted piece of sarcastic writing and the purpose behind is to coax the sitting govt to take practical measures to curb the menace but the question is who will bell the cat?we have a number of security agencies and all of them have been deployed for the one and same purpose but ground realities are totally against it,if any agency even gives prior information,that too proves futile owing to lack of will to do something.

khan Aug 13, 2013 01:15pm

Let me share on the same pattern of this writeup with u that the D.i.khan jail break was a high intensity incident than abbotabad operation. Americans came with stealth tech (latest tech of the world) for one man but could not get him alive. TTP came with the oldest tech. and got 250 persons alive. On the first incident dg isi offered his resignation. On the other one who should? If they had any ghairat they should shoot themselves not resign.

Amir Ali Khab Aug 13, 2013 08:36pm

Nonsensical writing of a defeatist. Why not just order army to go in and clean up the place? Once NATO forces leave it will also give less reason for afghan terrorise to cross cross the border

We can also use landmine equipment

North Waziristan is and always will be Pakistani territory. And even though you're so quick to generalize in order I score points and scare people, waziris are not all supporters of TTP. The latter gets majority of its support in Paktia and Khost (Afghanistan)

Expat Aug 13, 2013 10:32pm

I used to be of the opinion that perhaps negotiating was the civilized way out of this mess. And perhaps legitimate grievances of those amongst 'us' who had taken up arms and chosen the coarse of violence and militancy, could be addressed. But gradually I realized the fundamental truth there is no 'us' in this whole paradigm, its the classic case of Bush doctrine all over again, this time with the TTP proclamation that 'you are either with us or against us'. Negotiating with the TTP will bear no fruit. It would further embolden them. It already has with every passing day. The Americans understood this 12 years ago and went on invading 2 countries and wrecking a few in the pursuit of their enemy. Unfortunately our innate societal has fragmented us to such an extent that dissent is a cause to to every effect.You'll always find someone opposing you whether you are the government, the opposition, civil society or the media. Perhaps a victory in a cricket match over India is the only thing remaining with some semblance commonality and is owned by everyone, terrorist & pacifist alike. So how do we come about this mountainous task of combating terror when we will not agree on a unified course of action. The answer is we cannot, period!

tariq Aug 14, 2013 11:45am

Sir excellent depiction of our apathy and lack of appreciation of dangers posed to our society . By the way is there any list or data available for the family , business and other interests of our decision makers in outside world , this would be true depiction that how much they had stakes in Pakistan s welfare and prosperity.

ali Aug 14, 2013 12:16pm

Though some people would say what blunt and old article is written by sattar but i would say its bravery must be shown by all leaders within govt and out of govt..!

irfanzone Aug 14, 2013 01:30pm

@Md Imran: Love and affection ? You are either a monk , TTP apologist or a plain nut ......

Faqir Ahmad paracha Aug 14, 2013 04:43pm

Babar Sattar 's article has come out of a state of despondency. If the menace cannot be eradicated from within the state, let it be fought from without. But the question is if the state with all its might cannot or does not do it from within,why it would wage a war with another state.

khan ismaeel Aug 15, 2013 02:50am

@Amir Ali Khab: used to think same, fill the border ,spread land mines everywhere and see who will cross