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Footprints: Dispatches from North Waziristan

Updated Jul 08, 2014 11:04am


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Ever since Operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched, details emerging about the operation are completely one-sided.—File photo
Ever since Operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched, details emerging about the operation are completely one-sided.—File photo

IT has not gone unnoticed that ever since Operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched, details emerging about the operation are completely one-sided. Few details are appearing from the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and those trapped in the area. The ISPR has been constantly issuing press releases making various claims, such as killing scores of militants, on a daily basis. But my clandestine trips to Mirali and Miramshah and the ordinary people that I met in Bannu show a different picture.

I met 65-year-old Zahir Shah from Miramshah in Bannu who was with his family in a truck. He had one of the most heart-rending stories to narrate about his difficult journey. “It feels like the Day of Judgment. I may seem alive to you but inside I am dead. No warnings were given about the impending operation. The bomb attacks started suddenly and I had to leave two of my sick children behind. I handed them over to Shawwal Scouts belonging to the Afridi tribe requesting them to bury my children should they die.”

Shah’s version appears to have some basis because some local journalists and I had managed to slip into Dattakhel, a village west of Miramshah in North Waziristan Agency, and were present on June 15 when a curfew was imposed unexpectedly and the operation was launched without a proper announcement. The aman jirga and the tribal maliks had been meeting officials for nearly a month to delay the operation. However, this did not happen.

According to Shah and other IDPs, Miramshah Bazaar, a source of livelihood for many, has been completely destroyed. “Air strikes have killed many civilians including women and children and hardly any terrorists. Ordinary civilians have also been shot at sight,” claimed Shah. Though Shah said this with authority, his claim — like those of the military — cannot be independently verified.

Also read: No timeframe for completion of Zarb-i-Azb: Asif

I was in Mirali nearly 20 days ago. There I saw a house reduced to rubble and I could smell decomposing human flesh. A bystander claimed that the house was bombarded at 1:30am in which 24 members of a family were killed. A girl of about seven to eight years of age survived. Noor Behram, a journalist friend, also undertook an arduous 26-hour journey from Miramshah to Bannu with his family when the operation began unannounced. “There was no way to get out. Roads were closed. We walked all the way to the Sadgai checkpoint on the Bannu-Miramshah Road. My wife and children traversed hidden paths; climbed mountainous tracks all day and night to somehow reach the checkpoint, which is a mere 25-minute drive by car from Miramshah. But it took us 26 hours to reach the checkpoint.”

Behram also spoke about the ordeal he and the other IDPs have faced at the hands of security forces during registration. First is the seemingly never-ending wait with thousands of men, women, children, senior citizens and invalids waiting for their turn. Then, everyone goes through a body search, their CNICs are checked, they are cross-questioned and are handed chits which basically say that they are not Taliban and are going to Bannu.

And there are numerous such tales. Mohammad Saiyyid said that air strikes nearly flattened his house. “I was picking bits of rubble when my wife screamed at me and said leave all this, let’s take whatever remains of our essential belongings, grab the children and get out of here. We thought we were the only ones but when I turned to look at my house for the last time I saw a sea of people behind me with their belongings and their families. We went uphill and covered a path of many kilometres. Women in our households observe strict purdah, to see them like this in the open…,” Saiyyid couldn’t speak further.

Also see: Taliban cut hair and beards to flee army assault

After hearing everyone’s stories, I cannot help but recall Operation Rah-i-Nijaat launched in 2009 in South Waziristan. At the time, the army claimed that within two months the operation would end. It has been five years and the operation is ongoing. Thousands of Mehsuds were displaced and are now living a difficult life in Tank, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan with some of them subsisting on leftover rotis. The Taliban are present in South Waziristan where they are engaged in an insurgency against the state.

A Taliban commander Gilamand Mehsud called me up and admitted that their men have been killed and injured but not in the hundreds as claimed by the army. “So far nine men have been killed and five injured,” asserted Mehsud.

However, my sources tell me that four days ago, six bodies were found lying in Mirali Bazaar and by their appearance they seem to be Taliban. So far neither the army nor the Taliban have claimed them.

—As narrated to Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2014


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Comments (91) Closed

Rauf Jul 08, 2014 06:16am

I am not sure whom to believe. Claims of the army are unverified and will remain in that status. Pakistan army will kill scores of civilians, like it did in East Pakistan, Baluchistan and Sawat. Displaced people will placed in miserable camps, will re-locate to other cities or may go back to their villages. Will this vicious circle eliminate threat of terrorism? Absolutely not. But who is going to ask the army about the number if lies they are feeding through media. I guess no one, as journalists do love their lives too.

somro Jul 08, 2014 06:54am

Poor show of support by Dawn for our armed forces. In such a delicate operation you don't need to give notice for terrorists to slip away.. Very well done Pak army. Casualties of innocents is regretted .. but is people of N waziristan not guilty of harboring terrorists next door???

Far sight Jul 08, 2014 06:59am

Its sad to read this account of the ordeal people are facing. What I believe is most terrorists would have escaped already because of the preemptive strikes by the army there. So this serves no purpose.

Ahmed Jul 08, 2014 07:59am

This war was forced on Pakistan by talibans and their supporters. Pakistan has a right to self defense. This is what the writer conveniently forgets to mention.

Khalid Muhammad Jul 08, 2014 08:29am

@Rauf Being from Swat myself, I can tell you that the Army operation in Swat was extremely successful, once the people decided to support the army instead of the Taliban. Waziristan has the same problem. For decades, they have allowed these people to live among them, marry their daughters and are now paying for that "hospitality."

Secondly, can you tell me one military conflict anywhere in the world where journalists were allowed in during the initial stages? Embedded reporters are only included with the army once the greatest threats are removed, because the army doesn't want them to be injured or killed during the hostilities. Even then, the stories that they file are vetted by the military to make sure that classified information is not shared with the public at large. This is nothing new in the world of military action.

Lastly, I would remind you that a large cross section of the Pakistani population still believes that the Lal Masjid brigade was made up of innocent women and children. Pakistan is suffering from a mass case of Stockholm Syndrome. We have gotten to comfortable with identifying with the terrorists and trouble makers as innocent victims rather than condemning them in every forum for being what they are.

lubna Jul 08, 2014 09:11am

the echo of atrocities in east pakistan by army is loud and clear and it will have the same outcome---bravo what a way to conquer own public

Rizwan Jul 08, 2014 09:19am

Some people are just too dumb to believe there won't be any civilian casualties! And your claims are unverified too for that matter. And its only natural for civilians to rush out to safety in numbers when one of their homes is bombed.

Taimur Khan Jul 08, 2014 09:22am

@Khalid Muhammad ...well written.

syed Yousaf Jul 08, 2014 09:25am

Any one can doubt the writer of this piece even. Today they are presenting the people of NWA as innocent and undergoing hardships, don't they see what happened to the whole of Pakistan in the last 12 year, thousands killed by those provided shelter by NWA people for few pennies. So any one scripting must also keep the crimes of these people in view against the innocent people of rest of Pakistan

syed Yousaf Jul 08, 2014 09:42am

@lubna . This article is an imbalanced piece of disinformation. The writer is his misplaced benevolence is projecting the hardships of people of NWA as grave but doesn't look in to the cause which forced them out of their homes. The reason -these people sold themselves to terrorists (for few pennies) who killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis. They deserve this hardship to at least taste what they did to others

Agha Ata Jul 08, 2014 09:44am

When an army attacks with the help of the Air Force, some civilian death are bound to occur. Individual cases are not a good criteria to judge if the war is good or bad. We all know that the army announced many times that all civilians should leave, but some of them didn't and as the result suffered.

Khan T Jul 08, 2014 10:00am

@Khalid Muhammad: I could not have said this a fraction as good as you have done. If sawat operation was not successful as the writer claims very casually, then Mullah Fazlullah should have been residing there instead of hiding here in NWA.

Khan Jul 08, 2014 10:03am

Before the operation began, the bad Taliban had already left for Afghanistan and the good Taliban are cooling off their heals in Shawal mountains. The only ones paying the price are the hapless waziristanis and pitched against them are the lower cadres of army, while the generals are enjoying luxuries of DHAs. The military is fooling nobody this time, they are just fooling themselves. I hope a time comes when they are taken to task.

Taimoor Jul 08, 2014 11:04am


What if your own family was bombed and burned to bits without prior warning to move out? Would you just say "It happens"?

I think your views are extremely inhuman.

Naveed Jul 08, 2014 11:10am

Saiab Mehsud is bashing upon army for not allowing journalists to verify their claims, which is totally unacceptable. He also tried to narrate the ordeals of few persons, who were not aware of the operation and abandoned their houses in hurry. The reporter

faisal Jul 08, 2014 11:43am

The writer appears to feel entitled to a very nicely run Hollywood war movie, where everything goes to the plan.

ali shah Jul 08, 2014 11:54am

A big thanks to the writer for revealing this part if the picture. This is heart breaking to read. Brings East Pakistan to mind.

M.M.Sherazi Jul 08, 2014 12:18pm

Though the humanitarian conditions have turned out dramatically pitiable in the operation hit area, the fact of still continues to remain that any pre-announcement hinting at launching of operation may have helped the most wanted terrorists with an opportunity to fleeing the area. The establishment of peace and subsequent prosperity efforts by the Government shall bring peaceful means and ways of living for currently migrating people of NWA.

Karachi Guy Jul 08, 2014 12:30pm

@Ahmed: I wonder where you read this lie from history. Pakistan forced Talibs to war. Please read pre and post 9/11 actions of Pakistan in tribal areas and throughout the country.

SUB Jul 08, 2014 12:36pm

Truth is the first casualty of war. Be it ours or the terrorists

Abid Jul 08, 2014 12:56pm

@somro Why are you blaming the people for presence of terrorists? Is security not the job of the government? Suppose a terrorist starts living in your neighborhood and you always have to look up his gun barrel to look at his face, would you enjoy it if I accuse of harboring the terrorist? Would you not try and wait for the security forces to do their job and not dither like Pakistan Army has? Would you not feel utterly hopeless if the state and terrorists even go along? Sadly there are just too many with superficial understanding of the situation.

Ali Jul 08, 2014 01:11pm

Such scanty reporting on do few interviews and dawn publishes the article !

Bilal Jul 08, 2014 01:15pm

Its is normal in every war that journalists are not allowed in active war zones. They are embedded with the military operations. Secondly, this claim that NWA people were not "warned"; please consider the fact that Gov had been negotiating with talibs for years (including the previous PPP Gov). Its not the time to criticize this operation. We should stand against these barbarians as a nations. Have you forgotten how many innocent people were killed by them? How about the suffering of victim's families.

Now regarding the IDPs. Gov and NGOs should fully support them. The conditions they are going through are not human. I request all my fellow Pakistanis to please open your wallets and hearts for our brothers.

Muhammad Ilyas Jul 08, 2014 01:41pm

it is time we realize our religious duties and values, leave others' wars, stop following others' pursuits / goals and focus on our life and the life after death accordingly

Hassan Jul 08, 2014 01:53pm

@Ahmed But they are not killing only taliban,majority of those killed are innocent people.Shame.

Hassan Jul 08, 2014 01:54pm

@lubna ..I agree..Killing innocents is no bravery..

suhail Jul 08, 2014 01:54pm

Plaese let pak Army do its job because we dont need taliban in our beautiful country Pakistan zindabad pak army zindabad

usman shahzad Jul 08, 2014 02:42pm

i remember such news papers were how much in favor of operation..

Y Q Jul 08, 2014 03:33pm

While they're called "terrorists" for killing civilians along their target men, some are called "heroes" for doing the same thing.


Y Q Jul 08, 2014 03:37pm

@Agha Ata Suddenly killing civilians is alright? Are you willing to sacrifice your family for this? Why was TTP so evil for doing the same thing? I am not taking sides but what hypocrisy !!

Moon Jul 08, 2014 03:46pm

@Rizwan leave that area go somewhere else. when these taliban come these are the people those supporting them. now its there turn to get punish also.

Faruq Jul 08, 2014 03:47pm

The author's own claims are not balanced either. It seems to chiefly be based on the claims of one man. This should be taken with a grain of salt as well, until more information can be uncovered.

Moon Jul 08, 2014 03:48pm

how about innocent people getting killed in cities and 50,000 Soldier killed in this war. common and stop let army do their job.

Yaqub Ahmad Jul 08, 2014 03:51pm

We have faced the same situation when swat operation was launched. No one cares about civilians. Civilians are treated like animals. I have seen that well respected families were treated like beggars. Thanks to the Pashtun brothers from Malakand to Peshawar and everywhere in Pakistan event in Karachi; They shared their homes, Hujras and even food with the IDPs. I hope that the Pashttons of Banu etc will repeat this kind act of hospitality.

Yaqub Ahmad Jul 08, 2014 03:54pm

@Khalid Muhammad Yes. swat operation was very successful... the army is still there.. from last 5 years and will remain there for ever..

Ek Pakistani Jul 08, 2014 04:00pm

I dont know what to say over here. There are some important steps which army should take before launching any operation against Terrorist. We have lost so many lifes in other part of Pakistan and now we are losing them. I wish i could do anything for them to save them from bombs and from Terrorist. Army had no other choice but they should have taken some important steps like informing them. or may be they have not done it because if they informed the people terrorist will get enough time. and i guess it is also very important to warn Afghan government to launch an operation against those terrorist who ran away from pakistan or else pak army will do that on their own.

Warraich Jul 08, 2014 04:11pm

@Rauf Please suggest, which way army should have gone? Could they let the Taliban breed in there and create a national embarrassments like Karachi airport, Mehran, GHQ, Kamra etc.???????

Please stop hypocrisy. An article on difficulties of IDPs must have been great criticizing civil administration, provincial and national governments but army have to take careful measure to cope with possible negative effects of mass displacement.

For god sake let it go its own way.

Waseeq Jul 08, 2014 04:14pm

True that!!

faisal Jul 08, 2014 04:40pm

@Abid these tribal areas have always been nominally under the control of the state. Various attempts at bringing them under the control of the state failed because they didn't want the Pakistani laws etc instead wanted their own traditions and when ever someone tried they threatened the state with pakhtun nationalism which had strong political backing until taliban annihilated secular liberal pakhtun nationalists from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So its easy to put the blame on somthing without appreciating all the dynamics.

Ikram Jul 08, 2014 04:51pm

War is helland it's the innoccent who pay the price.

Noor Jul 08, 2014 05:27pm

@somro WOW. Read what you have written. Even if you are heartless enough to not cry over the terrible circumstances your OWN fellow countrymen are going through, atleast have the heart to condemn it. People like you really undermine my faith in the future of this country. Really, I would LOVE to see you in the same situation as these IDPS and THEN ask you if you think this cause is worth it. Sure, you can make tall claims now. Wouldnt be speaking sense if it actually happened to you.

Zee Khan Jul 08, 2014 05:52pm

You know People Thats your fate.. YOu arent thankful to Allah. When Different terrorists groups bombing and killing civilians women and children that time you cried > now when army is operating against them again you are....Do you have any better solution even the so called Mullah's cant solve this problem...This is the final option and there will peace in NW as Sawat...

Saad Latif Jul 08, 2014 05:58pm

@somro The same logic should also be applied to Karachi and an operation should also be conducted in Karachi. Who cares about the civilian casualties, after all Karachi has been harboring terrorists for much longer than the tribal areas in FATA.

Kudos to Dawn to coming out with the other side of the story.

Irfan Fatmi Jul 08, 2014 05:59pm

Pakistan has been bleeding since last one decade & thousands have perished, Thousands more would have perished , if we would not have taken any action.....this war was inevitable....and unfortunately....the first casualty of war is Life.

n b Jul 08, 2014 06:01pm

In each military operation, terrorists say only civilians died and military says only terrorists died. Usually military does not gain by killing civilians. Rather they have to answer later if terrorists resurface. Maybe a few civilians die in cross fire. On the other hand, terrorists gain by saying anything or killing anybody. So you can understand the respective claims easily.

Ali Zaidi Jul 08, 2014 06:23pm

"The aman jirga and the tribal maliks had been meeting officials for nearly a month to delay the operation. However, this did not happen." is what you have mentioned in this article. How then they did not know that the operation was about to start?

shithead Jul 08, 2014 06:46pm

@somro and why shouldnt the army strike in Karachi and punish the people of Karachi for harboring terrorists? get a life!

Asim Malik Jul 08, 2014 06:49pm

@Far sight That is your short-sightedness. The operation will deny the TTP space to operate from. They cannot run to the FATA and hide there after carrying out terrorist attacks elsewhere in Pakistan. There will be civilian casualties in the FATA as a result of this operation, however the locals have allowed the TTP to embed themselves into their villages and towns. At one time, the TTP have to be separated and made to run even if its Afghanistan where they head.

North Waziristan has to be garrisoned by the Army and FC like South Waziristan. Its better to have skirmishes and attacks in FATA than those that the TTP carry out elsewhere in Pakistan in the settled areas. This is the cost that our national security apparatus is willing to pay to keep the rest of Pakistan safe from the militants.

Its time to realize that the operation is a must for the inhabitants of North Waziristan. They cannot be held hostage by the TTP. As sad as it is to hear the pain of these people, it is even more important to pacify North Waziristan from the militants of the TTP.

Asim Malik Jul 08, 2014 06:50pm

@lubna Please spare us the silly comparisons. You must be a Taliban sympathizer to be spouting such nonsense. Talks have led to nothing. Do you want us to continue dying at the hands of your beloved taliban?

Rizwan Jul 08, 2014 06:51pm

the six dead bodies are just poor civilians cant u understand a simple thing

Assad Jul 08, 2014 07:16pm

@Khan The only one fooling anyone is you who is fooling himself.

The Taliban can run all they want as long as they run away from North Waziristan. Their departure means no more space for them to operate from and plan attacks all over Pakistan and give refuge to criminals. This is not that hard to understand.

The success of the operation will not be measured by how many long haired TTP terrorists are killed, rather by denial of space to them. This is the purpose of the operation and alhamdolillah its making good progress if the good Taliban have receded to the Shawwal mountains and the bad ones to Afghanistan as per your inside information.

The usual response from the anti-Army crowd is to evoke parallels to East Pakistan or call out doomsday scenarios about the operation before it has even started. The same was said about Swat and South Waziristan (both of which are much better off now) as is being said about NWA.

Dawn, for a change, please print my comments.

Assad Jul 08, 2014 07:17pm

@Hassan Has this been proven? What is different in these accounts vs. what the Army says?

Rizwan Jul 08, 2014 07:31pm

security agency said many times and also MQM claimed too that taliban have thier dens in karachi and hideouts near karachi.talibans have thier hold and hide out in quetta pishin kuchlak and many other areas in balochistan as well then why goverment not launching operation in mentioned areas they only choosen south and north waziristan for operation why ? pakistani goverment not taking harsh steps at UN level and ask india america iran and other countries who are completly involved to prevail choas in pakistan.they only have the two accused tribes and areas which are the responsible for terrorism in pakistan..plz do not insult the emotions and feeling of the young generation of MEHSUD and WAZIR tribe and also do not call them terrorist and illitrate people becoz they are the one who secured the PAK-AFGHAN border for 65 years they even never asked the goverment to build the roads any kind of huge and big buildings education centres etc etc but still they called themselves PAKISTANIS they are not like the BALOCH tribesmen who feels insult to be called PAKISTANI

so plz its a humble request to every pakistani plz help your KABAILYEES brothers and sisters and also dont call them idps they have thier own identity and history from all other ethnic groups why ? pakistani goverment not doing action against PANJABI TALIBAN in PANJAB,no they are not doing any action against them becoz they have MEHSUD and WAZIR tribe to do operations coz they are the only terrorists in pakistan they cant see the uzbeks arabs and other terrorists

Rizwan Jul 08, 2014 07:38pm

these are those tribal people on whom pakistan used to give treats to india that for u people my tribal peoples are fair enough to beat u in any war they are the people who have big contribution in annexation of azad kashmir

pakistani goverment and pakistani people have to help themout in this critical situation if they failed to give respect and other baisc needs which is thier right to have then they are memorising each and everything in thier hearts and will have the revenge after 100 years if they got the oppurtunity in future

Masooma Jul 08, 2014 08:21pm

@Khalid Muhammad from Waziristan agency myself, I can tell you that this Army operation will cause more trouble. Swat case is very different because Taliban came there first but in case of Waziristan we can not forget that everyone was living peacefully and no one has thought about fighting with Pakistan Army. It was Army who started this war in agency against those who were invited for Afghan War in 80's. And later army offended youth to become a rebel, by treating them badly.

NORI Jul 08, 2014 08:53pm

From the comments here, I see that many support the army out of a hope that this war would kill the terrorists and make Pakistan safe. However, the civilian deaths could do the opposite. The displaced and the bereaved people might be trapped by Taliban to seek revenge against Pakistan. If what's mentioned in the article is true, it's pathetic situation for the residents of North Waziristan. If Pakistan could say that hundreds of civilians were killed by (relatively precise and less lethal) drone strikes, how come no civilian casualties were announced in case of air bombardments by fighter jets ? Just remember, those IDPs are also Pakistanis !!!

I wonder at the knowledge levels of those who say the residents of North Waziristan allowed terrorists to live among themselves and hence, they are paying the price - can you apply the same logic to Karachi and ask for air strikes ?

Atif Jul 08, 2014 09:04pm

For those denouncing this operation and remembering the "attrocities" in East Pakistan should read "The Dead Reckoning" By Sharmila Bose, the grand daughter of Subhash Chander Bose. Our Army then faced an extremely difficult situation, and Bose declares that while the human disaster is regrettable, it was hardly the responsibility of Pakistani Army alone.

Coming to this situation, this article reminds of the cartoons that NFP made a few days ago, saying that first we call for the operation then we go after the operation, going in circles. Civilian casualties are indeed EXTREMELY sad, and if better plans can be made, they should be made, but some fall out has to happen. Either have that or have the rest of Pakistan bombed to oblivion.

Assad Jul 08, 2014 09:06pm

@shithead Three operations have been conducted in Karachi. So what is the problem if the Army is going after the fountainhead of all extremist and criminal activity in North Waziristan?

And who said spare Karachi and go only after NW? The biggest threat to Pakistan's security is NW and not Karachi! Lets understand the magnitude of the problem before turning this into some sort of an ethnic nonsense.

Operations are going on in Karachi, Balochistan and FATA. Where there is a need, the government is taking action.

Ahtesham Jul 08, 2014 09:09pm

Our brave army make it possible to enter this area for us however it was not possible for anyone even any reporter could not enter and he/she killed by TTP.. I don't understand how these local ppl support these terrorist and live with them.

Kamran Jul 08, 2014 09:10pm

For a journalist to break government established rules is shameful. If everyone starts to do the same, the military operation being conducted would be compromised. What additional information did the reporter get that we already do not know. People are suffering, innocent get killed and injured. Is he trying to sensationalise misery of the people? Seems so.

Shan Jul 08, 2014 09:32pm

In a war such things happen a lot. Taliban are sons of these IDPs only. They didn't come from sky. Govt. authrities and Pak army are trying hard to save lives of these Internally Displaced People. There are families in IDPs who admit that their sons are fighting with Pak army, but the sons got out-of-control and became Taliban. Truly speaking the old parents are NOT guilty. There are instances when Taliban stopped IDPs and fired on them. Perhaps Taliban wanted to use IDPs as a human shield in some areas. It is the prime & foremost duty of all jurnalists and media persons to excercise some justification to strengthen the hands of Pak Army and Govt. of Pakistan instead of maligning the operation.

K Jul 08, 2014 09:44pm

@somro yr khuda ko mano or allah se daro.. Massooom log marr rehy hein or tum unhi ko qasoor war thehra rehy ho.. Allah he maaaf kry humy.. Agr esa he operation isb mei ya karachi mei ya lhore mei huwa na tub he humei pata chalega k jb jets sy bumbari hoti hei to kesa lgta hei.. Allah rehm kry.

concerned Jul 08, 2014 09:46pm

I am sorry its difficult to admit but some collateral damage is acceptable. Pakistan has been terrorised too long now its time to clean it all up

Malik Jul 08, 2014 09:57pm

please check credentials of Shah Gee, and you may find the real SHAH GEE like "burqay wali sarkaar" or "GHAAZI". This is the aim- to create confusion, distrust and ambiguity. This creates sympathizers in the society. Let army do whatever in troubled areas, you created friends in society. They will create stories of miseries and compassion. I believe everybody has seen their compassion while playing football with HEADs.

Realist Jul 08, 2014 10:34pm

Lolz!!!!! My Uncle is in that area serving as brigadier. If army have to conduct operation like that it would have destroyed that area long ago. Most people have left that area and there is no agitation from locals against the operation. This shows that who ever wrote this article didnt went to that area anyway or was written with ill fate.

Kamran Zaki Jul 08, 2014 10:56pm

So what in your view has caused this ordeal...Pakistan Army? or the terrorist who gave no other option but to do this....talks were held....we all should support the IDPs wholeheartedly to minimize their pain but the operation was called upon on the terrorists themselves...they are to blame for all this....Pakistan Army has not been bombing civilians in islamabad or quetta or peshawar...they dont like to kill innocent people...but collateral damage is an unfortunate byproduct of this much needed operation....feel sad that it had to come to this...but if we dont do this now these IDPs would be at the mercy of the taliban for the years to come and the whole nation will suffer....

Saqib Jul 08, 2014 10:59pm


you must have a rock instead of a heart being so inhumane and uncompassionate !!! you could say it since you are not the one who's house is getting bombed or leaving his sick children to their fate, not knowing if they will ever live. Walk in their shoes and you will know what they have been through and still going through. No one ever wishes such ordeal and torment upon themselves.

aafaq mahsud Jul 08, 2014 11:09pm

@somro .. brother this is the fact infact i had just read , we belong fron these area so we understand the situation very well... i m not against army but what they are claiming is wrong and not correct side of picture ...

sky Jul 08, 2014 11:12pm

Anyone who can listen nowww .......the reality....????

sky Jul 08, 2014 11:15pm

@Khalid Muhammad.... i m also from swat sir .....u are wrong on some points

M. Mushtaq Ahmed Jul 08, 2014 11:30pm

I pray for the success of Army operation in getting these terrorists for once and all. Than reality hits me and force me to look into history of various conflicts in recent history. Not a single conflict was resolved by military means but only after negotiations between involved parties. Now, lets identify what are various parties involved in this mess other than Pakistan, namely Afghanistan, India, Iran, US and Russians to name a few. All these parties are funneling their military and material support to countless groups. These groups are spread all over along Pakistan and Afghanistan border, Baluchistan and even Karachi. Of course there is presence of some groups in most large urban area of Pakistan. Lets go over various options, close border with Afghanistan, Impossible task to close such long border. Even if you close western border eastern border is open for India. Other option is bring parties to negotiating table. Not possible, Afghanistan is not honest and will keep up the current policy. India will demand not to mention Kashmir and give them free trade access to Afghanistan and central Asia.Iran will follow its own agenda. As far as US is concerned they will see where their interest is and will support their proxy. Having seen the daylight, whats the solution. The solution is, EDUCATION AND HONEST INTERNAL SECURITY SYSTEM.

inzar Jul 08, 2014 11:48pm

@somro for your information the terrorist nurtured, trained and assembled by the state and they are not guest of the of the North waziristan people's. By the same standard your home should also be bombed, property destroyed and you humiliated because some of the terrorist will certainly be residing in your city.

inzar Jul 09, 2014 12:02am

@syed Yousaf by the same standard do also bombed your cities and every town, humiliate your ppl and destroy their properties bcz there are certainly some 0.0001% terrorist in every town and city and that that too with under covert patronage. What a golden technique to get rid of terrorism. For your information all the secterian and proscribed Jehadi groups are freely providing relief to IDPs with NOC from our Khakies and no other NGO is allowed to do so, this tell all the story if u understand.

inzar Jul 09, 2014 12:13am

@Warraich And what about the guys residing in your cities providing all logistical support to the terrorists for bombing and extortion and they are mainly from secterain, jehadi, proscribe organization should we also bombard our cities? and what about the good guyes i mean good Taliban playing soccer with our Jawans in their camps! this is absolutely no the way.

shoaib Jul 09, 2014 12:22am

Totally disagree with the authors view bcause ..its seem like north waziristan is a heavenon earth and army destroy that peace comon...from where I will verify your report....just thing twice before u write any thing

Pekhawery Khan Jul 09, 2014 12:27am

@somro So essentially you are saying that every one lived or living in Waziristan are to be blamed because somehow everyone is associated to taliban, even new born babies.OK Sir I agree for the argument sake, I say we start similar operation in Karachi to crush target killers,bhata khori,kidnappers,child abuser,terrorism,drug mafia,human traffic,prostitution and God knows tons of other tortuous issues that is killing our society.Karachi must be bombed, including defence and other elite class areas. Mr whatever you are,I applaud your thoughts full of wisdom. It must be real hard for you sitting in your comfy room writing these lame comments. People like you....wish I could to speak to them FACE TO FACE. I support army when they protect me and my people, not when they butcher them. Whats the difference between ARMY and TALIBAN then ?

Aslam Butt Jul 09, 2014 12:41am

This is what happens when we didn't nip at the bud. Though some unfortunate civilian casualties must have happened and the truth probably is somewhere in between, but this article is not well researched and presented only one side. There are other stories appearing in newspapers where people are telling about the terror that they were living amongst talibans.

Having said that... the govt and the army should issue a hit (most wanted) list and then use intelligence and go after them and capture them dead or alive. Capturing and then executing them after military trial would have much better effect then bombing

Ammar Jul 09, 2014 01:40am

@Taimoor Does TTP give you a notice before they bomb a place..many people in this country have lost their family members at the hands of TTP who were comfortably residing in our tribal areas.

Of course nothing justifies loss of innocent lives and I pray for the safety of all innocent people in the affected areas but the sad reality is that our "brothers" in tribal areas had been harboring terrorist for a long time...there is no other option left except a full blown military operation.

DifferentPerspective Jul 09, 2014 02:00am

@K - Dear K what about the attacks on Pakistan's airports, mosques, schools, churches, busy markets. Thousands of innocent people died because of these Taliban which were hiding in you have no sympathy with thousands of Pakistanis who suffered at the hands of TTP cowards.....what about hundreds of people they beheaded in Swat and Fata. Brother we all have sincere sympathy with people of Waziristan but it was their choice to give Taliban a safe heaven....

Bazil Jul 09, 2014 03:10am

It's obviously not easy for the local population but 'no warnings were given about the impending operation'. Er, seriously? Is that why 800,000 people got out of there? Next time you start harbouring terrorists, don't complain when things turn nasty.

Meerab Jul 09, 2014 03:57am

How can we believe that whatever is written here is true? If the writer claims that ISPR is reporting falsely, how can we judge that the writer is true in reporting, as probability lies on both sides?

May Allah bless this land with peace. ameen

Jerome Barry Jul 09, 2014 06:25am

Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui, I visit the site once in a great while, and I don't know if I've ever before read any of your reporting. This dispatch is one of the best I've ever read, and I've read some of the best in the history of warfare. I thank you for your skill at telling this story.

Moby Jul 09, 2014 07:05am

@somro You do the army no favors by putting blind faith in it - it is composed of humans and they need to be criticized where criticism is due. I am sure you would be singing a different tune were you the on wrong end of these faujis who took valuable time away from running farms, manufacturing fertilizer, build housing societies to go bomb some taliban (which supposedly they have been doing for 5 years) alongwith many innocent civilians.

irfan Jul 09, 2014 01:55pm

This articlw is based on a one sided story of an old man who has been forced to vacate his home, u derstandably a difficult job. I request the writer to go and visit the operational area, you will come to know , to whom we are fighting.merely siting in a bus ang publishi g ones pt of view may not give you a better picture. It has been nearly 13 yrs we are fighting with these terrorist s, even a simplest soul would make out , who is well wisher and who is not. Its hihh time, for God sake . Let Army do its operation and pls dont criticise them. We dont require mir sadiq n mir jafara at this moment,when country is inneed of peace.

Hassan Jul 09, 2014 11:47pm

Quite a pathetic article. I am assuming that the writer was expecting a phone call from the Chief of Army Staff a few days before the operation so he could back his backpack and setup cameras in Waziristan. I must however, applaud your idiocy in even openly suggesting something like that. An operation of such delicacy requires secrecy and surprise. Of course the people would have to suffer. It is a war we are talking about and this has been the scenario in any conflict of the sort at a global level.

Talking about one-sided, I think you need to read your own article again. I myself have been to Swat before and after the operation and to the current IDP camps to provide provisions. People are not enjoying luxuries but I can tell you they are not suffering like you mentioned. And if you have any idea about the condition Swat was in before the operation you would have not even written this article.

Shameful to see such a weak and fact less article.

Batool Jul 10, 2014 05:03am

@Ahmed .... I completely agree. Its a biased article

faisal Jul 10, 2014 12:48pm

@Pekhawery Khan karachi doesnt follow tribal system. In the tribal system there is shared responsibility and collective punishment. Also in mqm friendly areas locals were punished just like actual mqm workers

numbersnumbers Jul 10, 2014 09:15pm

@Khalid Muhammad FYI, I recall that many print and a TV journalists were embedded in the advancing American forces during the war in Iraq right from the start!

Afridi Jul 11, 2014 12:32am

@somro : Dawn has been the most ardent supporter of War against extremism since day 1 however a colossal aspect of such military operations cannot be ignored. Being the supporter of a zero tolerance policy to any form of extremism I still appreciate that Dawn is giving space to such issues. And I don't know what makes people say that the people in Waziristan have been harboring Taliban ? Have you not seen the systematic dismantling of the social and cultural landscape of the tribals by the insurgents. Once that was gone, it was much easier to conquer the people through brute force. History shows that civilian casualties and displacements must be avoided and compensated at all costs to have a lasting impact of the such a vital military undertaking. Having said that, I wish Pakistani Military a complete success in this operation of monumental importance.

Aceleaf Jul 13, 2014 03:32am

The success is this operation cant be judged by number of Taliban animals killed. NWA was being used as base by the Taliban Terrorists to enforce their criminal mindset. Army's presence deprives Taliban criminals a headquarters of devil.

An IDP Jul 13, 2014 04:52am

@somro: Dear Somro military men are not prophets immune to mistakes or errors. If you could do a visit to the troubled tribal belt then you would be in a better position to have a fair picture of the situation. Moreover, a newspaper is not a military representative, it has to report the news as it comes--free and impartial.