The US stratagem
US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has boasted that Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani has promised to launch an operation in North Waziristan Agency. We hope that General Kayani has not made such a commitment. It is pretty obvious that mounting yet another offensive in FATA would amount to putting our foot in the wasps’ nest; the entire country is reaping the whirlwind of military operations launched at the behest of the Americans so far. The backlash coming out in the form of a spate of mass-casualty attacks is yet not over, and we are sowing the seeds of discontent among the tribal population and provoking them to hit back. It has long been argued that this is a struggle of winning over hearts and minds. And it is no wonder that the suicidal path we have been following over the past nine years has brought us on the threshold of disaster.
The US game plan is to pitch Pakistan Army against its own people causing further destabilisation of the country. The civilian government as well as the Army needs to realise that the American demands of opening up a new front in North Waziristan must be resisted at all costs and even the ongoing operations halted. The people need respite from the spate of bombings and so do the tribesmen of FATA caught in the line of fire. It must not be forgotten that the US forces are bogged down in the Afghan quagmire and are scurrying out of the country. While the US is itself resorting to the option of negotiations with the militants, it is outrageous that Pakistan is asked to extend the scope of military operation. The Obama Administration, to all intents and purposes, wants to depict Pakistan as the cause of all trouble as a face-saving measure. As part of the same strategy, it has stepped up drone attacks in order to destabilise the country, especially targeting those groups, which are neutral towards Islamabad and are looking forward to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.