Owais Tohid - Senior journalist

The operation to cleanse North Waziristan of Al Qaeda and Taliban militant carries immense national, regional and international significance. Thus, the barometer of its success varies and differs if you look at it with the eyes of people of Pakistan and the binoculars of the international community especially the US.

It needs to be seen with fresh eyes and renewed perception beyond the stereotypes of the terms of good and bad militants and the so-called strategic depth doctrine.

The US would like to see its success because it doesn’t want to face embarrassment to witness the same script rewritten on Afghan soil post withdrawal unlike unstable Iraq despite spending 2.2 trillion dollars.”

The military seems determined to strengthen the western borders and establish the writ of the state in the tribal belt before the withdrawal of US troops to counter any threat coming from across the border where anti-Pakistan Taliban have made sanctuaries. It also wants to erase the tainted image of Pakistan that the tribal belt, particularly North Waziristan, was the epicenter of global terrorism.

But it needs to expand its operation beyond the tribal belt to eliminate the tentacles of terrorism across the country to ensure it’s not half-baked this time around. It also faces the biggest challenge of rehabilitating over half a million uprooted tribesmen.

For many in Pakistan, the real success will be measured when the nurseries of extremist and militants groups are eliminated across the country.

But that cannot happen in days or months as the seeds of extremism which were sown during Zia’s regime, have now grown into deadly plants. To me, it’s a forward movement as is used in diplomatic lingua. It warrants cautious support but also greater transparency. The ties with extremists groups is like a quilt sewn with threads of blood, so unraveling the seam needs extra care because it’s painful.

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