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War on terror: dialogue & use of force


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THE war on terror or dirty war has completely changed battlefield dimensions where the world is a battlefield. In spite of the fact that it is a global war, Pakistan is one of those countries (including Afghanistan, Iraq and others) which have suffered the most.

The terrorists are exploiting our weaknesses and are fighting a different kind of asymmetric war against Pakistan. Some of these terrorist organisations have multinational elements with diverse goals and objectives.

To begin with, one has to find out specific answers to certain pertinent questions about terrorism related to Pakistan. What are the ultimate objectives of these terrorists? Do they have certain legitimate ends to achieve? Who is responsible for creating these terrorists?

What are the political and military strategies of terrorist organisations? Who is providing financial support to these organisations? What kind of social, moral, religious and human ethics are they following?

Let me put it emphatically that I am not at a loss to answer these questions and can write numerous pages while answering each question. The more I deliberate the more confused I am as each answer leads to a diseased conspiracy.

The people of Pakistan are mostly concerned about the opposing arguments of the debate. Do we have a political and military strategy to fight against terrorism and what is that? What is the reason of our failure and how long the people of Pakistan would suffer? Is it incompetence, lack of resolve or lack of capabilities or all of these?

Do we have certain goals, objectives, means and ends in sight while fighting the war on terror? What are the causes of our failures so far? I am sure responsible people must be concerned about these questions and would be taking corrective measures in the best interest of the country.

It apparently looks that we mostly resorted to defensive measures (except on a few occasions) to fight against terrorism in the last or so decade. We resorted to protecting our vital installations, erecting barriers on roads, arresting terrorists after cruel terrorist acts and sometimes occasional shift to diplomacy.

This reflected our somewhat defensive strategy and tactics. The initiative thus so far rests with the terrorists and they strike at the places and time of their choice.

The given scenario of terrorism requires a mix of available courses to fight against this monster. First, a well-planned counter insurgency operations within territorial limits against those who challenge the writ of the state. The second course is counter-terrorism operations against those who strike at long ranges inside Pakistan territory. These operations must be offensive in nature and ruthless. Terrorists have to be taken out of their hideouts from anywhere in the world.

The third course is to try to win the hearts and minds of those affected by terrorism.

What we need is to formulate a firm political and military strategy based on mix of diplomacy, dialogue and continuous offensive use of force.

The strategy must be executed in a way that it strikes terror into the hearts of the terrorists and wrest ‘initiative’ from them. The ultimate objective should be to force the state’s writ at the negotiating table.

Diplomacy and dialogue must be based on professional ethics looking after vital national interests. The focused strategy would necessitate a political resolve and cooperation among all organs of the state without any reservation. The stratagem must have clear political objectives and ends within a specific timeframe.

Also, the exit strategy and flexibility in political and diplomatic space must be pre-determined.


Comments (4) Closed

ali Aug 27, 2013 01:48pm

Thank you for asking the right questions. The whole nation is waiting for an answer from concerned authorities. Anyone out there listening?

Ali Vazir Aug 27, 2013 08:45pm

In shortest and simplest words: Where there is a will, there is a way. All those concerned are wholly or partially responsible for the malise. What solution can on expect from them? However, I can propose one Anti-terrorist force, armed with equipment, technology, skilled manpower, training and research. Some dedicated recruits could be found from the heirs of those who lost their lives in terrorism. This will have double impact, employment for the affectees, as well as self motivated team members, so desperately required in all of the fields, esp in anti-terrorism drive.

M Ibrahim Khan Aug 27, 2013 10:15pm

Lets face the truth on our failures on war on terror, A war for which the Army was never trained for and learnt it the hard way. Jumped into without a strategy of exit. Violated the principle of economy of effort and got dissipated all over. The Civil and Military were seldom on the same page and lacked the sincerity of purpose. The Nation was never on board and is divided till date as to whose war is it that we have got our self into. The heart and mind were divided resulting into confusion. Trust deficit at the highest level and with our coalition partners whose war we were fighting till we got entangled and made it look as our war. Collateral damage that went in the favour of the militants whose support increased from less than 5 % to over 50 % at a conservative estimate of the tribal strength which stands at 5 million. Uninterrupted monitory support available to the militants and exploitation by our enemies across the border in provision of strategic information and material support. Now the withdrawal of the western and American troops is having its toll and exposing us further. What to do from here onwards. Hand over the tribal area to the forces it belongs to and pull out your Army and allow it to recoup and get prepared for the protection of our eastern borders for which it is configured. Our Tribals and FC are the best defenders of our western borders.

Agha Ata Aug 27, 2013 11:09pm

Who are you talking to Mr. Nawazish Ali? To the government or to the army? (Please think about it; it makes a big difference.)