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Who’ll go first?

Published Oct 22, 2012 03:01am


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THE interior minister kicked off the speculation with his assertion that the attack on Malala Yousufzai originated in Afghanistan, and a handful of media reports have been suggesting the same. Maulana Fazlullah’s Swat Taliban are behind the attack, the argument goes, and they are located in eastern Afghanistan, where they fled after the Swat operation in 2009. Whether or not it’s true, this analysis has been enough to revive the questions that first came up after Pakistan began seeing cross-border attacks from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011: between Pakistan on the one hand and Afghanistan and Isaf on the other, who will tackle safe havens on which side of the border first? The Afghans are unlikely to go after Pakistani militants in Kunar and Nuristan until Pakistan tackles the Afghan Taliban on this side; if this wasn’t already clear, President Karzai’s remarks in response to the Malala incident — that “using extremists as a tool against others is not in the interest of Pakistan” — made it clear enough.

Which only intensifies the need for the state to seriously consider what it’s going to do about North Waziristan, a project it appears to have abandoned at the moment. There are least two goals in that tribal agency. For one, for its own survival Pakistan will have to tackle the militants holed up there, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, who have been carrying out attacks within Pakistani borders. Even if the Malala attack didn’t originate there, North Waziristan remains a threat to Pakistan itself. Second, it is also becoming increasingly obvious that pursuing the Haqqani network there is not just a matter of resisting American pressure. It is now also a matter of Pakistan’s own security, as nothing much is likely to be done in Afghanistan about Fazlullah’s increasingly dangerous organisation until some action is taken here against militants focused on attacking the Americans and the existing Afghan government. The origins of the attack on Malala might not yet be clear, but it has highlighted once again that a stubborn refusal by both sides to cooperate will only make both less secure.

Comments (9) Closed

beg Oct 22, 2012 09:25pm
why keep on committing the same blunder as the americans and nato did and now licking their own wounds.pakistan should learn this without making any more follies just because some liberals think wrongly without realising the side effects and without noticing that even americans want to talk to taliban
Iftikhar Husain Oct 22, 2012 10:35am
This is the correct analysis by the paper that the argument will go on but facts remains that the country is bleeding to death and something has to done now. Everybody has to think the solution for this big problem as soon as possible.
Zafar Iqbal, Sharjah Oct 22, 2012 12:40pm
Any militancy, either across the border or within the country, must be handle with an iron-fist. However, Pakistan has already suffered a lot from the Afghan insurgency which spilled over into Pakistan, and coward attack on Malala Yousufzai is just one example. It's indeed the utmost responsibility of the PPP-led government to act now. Enough is enough!
Sceptic Oct 22, 2012 12:41pm
Has there ever been a conference, seminar, discussion whatever, involving all the political parties to discuss and reach a consensus on this issue. Not to my knowledge, hence other than a few commentators pontificating in these and other media no effort has been made so far to seriously tackle this issue. It is all very well for different arms of the government to come to their independent conclusion but until the so called representatives come to a solid conclusion nothing will be achieved.
krishnan Oct 22, 2012 03:36am
Why no mention about LET which admits to attacking a hotel in Srinagar ?As someone said breeding terrorists does not ensure the direction of their fire.
M. Asghar Oct 22, 2012 09:29am
I am affraid that this ugly suation will continue till the foreign occupation of Afghanistan ends. After the end of this occupation, the two sides cannot avoid to face the real situation as their mutual self-interests.
jalaluddin S. Hussain Oct 22, 2012 04:04pm
The most effective way to act in an effective manner against the militants and narrow-minded religious leaders, on both sides of Afghan-Pakistan border, is the holding of relatively free and fair elections in Pakistan and at the same time improving the governance of the country (Pakistan). If all Pakistanis will get "Roti, Kapra aur Makkan", they will support whichever government is elected.
Syed-S Oct 23, 2012 01:05am
A classic example of a childhood story. Which came first, chicken or the egg? All the chicken are hatched from an egg, without an exception, and all the eggs are lain by chicken, or some other bird, without an exception, so what came first? And here, who will blink first?
Syed-S Oct 23, 2012 01:07am
Very well said. Now you want to arrange one? I will help.