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‘War on terror’: dialogue and use of force

Updated August 31, 2013

THIS is apropos Nawazish Ali’s letter ‘War on terror: dialogue and use of force’ (Aug 27). The writer has raised a plethora of questions on the ongoing war and its future course. However, I may say that like a typical Staff College instructor, he has raised very important questions but given a broad brush to the response part of it. There are no student syndicates to work on these questionnaires to formulate a suitable response.

Both the decision-making portfolios (defence and diplomacy) in this regard are held by the chief executive at the moment. He has politically more important issues to address and unfortunately petty party politics is a drag on our national affairs even after elections.

Getting back to the questionnaire, it is important to note that the ‘use of force has created more enemies than those killed in the process’. So, that is not the solution at all. Just contain them militarily till the dialogue part of the strategy comes into action, and results can become visible.

Before formulating the dialogue strategy, we must carry our strategic appraisal of the situation to identify the objectives of various militant groups to respond to them accordingly.

Secondly, the non-military part of response must aim at suffocating the aggressors by cutting their inflow of finances and logistics. We will have to be a little bold in taking it up with the sponsors of the militants of various creeds on the basis of evidence, which our intelligence agencies must collect.

Thirdly, socioeconomic part of the strategy must move on to dissuade many more from joining the ranks of militants.

Fourthly, the political control mechanism of ‘Maliks’ in tribal areas has to be revived and strengthened to empower the local population in countering the ingress of militancy into the tribal moorings.

Lastly, the political leadership and military command have to be on one page in all efforts in countering the menace. That is not a DS solution, but an outline plan as we call it at operational and tactical level, and strategic vision at the national security level.

Hopefully, the political leadership realises the gravity of the issue and goes beyond point-scoring.

They must revisit the statement of Al Gore who, having lost the presidential election, said: “Here politics ends and United States starts”.

That is the kind of spirit we must display instead of wasting time and energy in crying over spilt milk after losing the election.