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EDITORIAL: The question what has led to the latest spurt of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan has no clear answer now. But there is no dearth of conjectures; the latest being the then prime minister Imran Khan’s failed move to resettle the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters in places in Pakistan they had abandoned to join the Afghan Taliban in their fight against the US-empowered Afghan governments.

In his interview with Voice of America on Tuesday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Imran Khan has been signalling throughout his political career that he is ideologically supportive of Taliban and was internationally known as “Taliban Khan”.

The same day National Democratic Movement (NDM) chairman MNA Mohsin Dawar expressed his desire that “those who brought back the militants should be brought to justice before launching any operation against the militants”.

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Aimal Wali Khan said that any operation against militants would face resistance until those who helped resettle the militants were brought to justice.

In a way they wanted some action against Imran Khan before National Security Committee’s decision to re-launch the National Action Plan to crush militants reportedly coming from Afghanistan. But there is much more to the up-ticked wave of terrorism, and Khawaja Asif also talked about that.

According to him, the Afghan Taliban want to distance themselves from the Pakistani Taliban but they cannot as certain camaraderie exists between them. Together they had fought the foreign forces in Afghanistan for 20 years.

Balochistan is under attack by its own sons of the soil, and that fight which began as a legitimate struggle for equal rights many decades ago has now been joined by outsiders, who want it to become a broad-based movement for an independent Balochistan.

Mineral-rich Balochistan is an attractive cause for intervention by the outsiders. There is extensive bloodletting on both sides – for, in the absence of a serious political move to bridge up the differences on the basis of give-and-take the armed clashes are the only option left with the two sides on the warfront.

Given Pakistan’s military might, there is no reason why the forces should not win against the TTP in KP and the Baloch insurgents in Balochistan. But that victory will not come so soon, nor without blood extensively enriching the soil.

It may appear to be treasonous to ask for ‘fight fight, talk talk’. The fight against the TTP would have been over in a matter of days if the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s move to engage the Taliban leadership of the time had not been preempted by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif’s abrupt action against Taliban.

Imran Khan was right in asking the TTP militants to come back to their areas and resume normal life. If they wanted a certain way of governance that should have been debated and decided as is the routine in functioning democracies.

Having lost to the tribal people in a number of fights the colonial British too finally agreed to let them live the way they wanted. We too should think of taking the same route. Peace built on war is never as durable as peace built on consensual arrangement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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KU Apr 15, 2023 01:13pm
The history of how Baluchistan was ruled is sad and the truth is unpleasant which is why it’s not told. We are quick to blame the situation on the armed forces but fail to mention the role of tribal chiefs who are given hundreds of millions of rupees each year for the development of the areas under their control, and this was agreed by the government in 1948, but little has changed or developed in the province. We also conveniently ignore the socioeconomic environment of the tribal people that has been ingrained through hundreds of years of lawlessness in the areas, so it was convenient for the enemies to fund them against the state. To top it off, our successive governments and civilian rajas with misplaced belief in their competence, took steps to further alienate the province and its people. We are living in 21st century, but proposing that we let them live the way they want to is like sentencing them to slavery and ensuring a medieval era for these people.
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