What the army should do

Pakistan army’s first operation in Swat

Federal government of Pakistan deployed troops of Pakistan army, in late 2007, in order to curb TNSM’s activities in the settled areas of Swat. The mission continued on for almost half a year and Pakistan army did manage to wrestle the control of valley of Swat back. Hundreds of militants were killed, caught or jailed. While the problem of militancy itself did not go away, it was significantly contained and people who formed the core of TNSM took refuge in Peochar Mountains which are remote and hard to reach, even for the military.

It was then that in order to fulfill promises made during the 2008 elections, the newly formed government of ANP in NWFP, pulled a plug on the operation and called the troops back. In addition to that, they also met TNSM’s demand of releasing all of their members from Pakistani jails, prior to the start of peace talks. It is due to these early peace deals that TTP/TNSM got the breathing space, they very much needed. Now, they were no longer cornered to a specific bit of terrain and did not have hundreds of fellows in jails anymore, since all of them got released. This resulted in giving another lease of life to the movement. Whatever ANP’s reasons were, this peace deal tossed Pakistan army’s efforts of the last six months out of the window like trash. All of the sacrifices made, including that of people of Swat themselves, and hard work done, went down the drain.

ANP has since been threatened by TNSM/TTP to give up their role in the government or else face retribution. Tens of its members have already been killed, and as of now, most of its ministers belonging to Swat valley are either residing in Peshawar or Islamabad. Here is to hoping that they learned their lesson.

What’s stopping the army from taking TNSM head-on like they took TTP in Bajaur?

In very simple words, the answer to that lies in the fact that we have far too many fronts open, at the same time. For example, we have a large deployment in Darra Adamkhel (a story in its own right) which is going to stay there for a long time to come. That place has been stabilized with great difficulty but thank God that we’ve managed to bring it under control. Bajaur is still an active battlefield, especially Mamond, Nawagai and Nawapass and even areas around Khar. Mohmand is burning and we are currently fighting there just like in Bajaur. An operation is active in Khyber agency and this area is likely to become more problematic over the course of next few months. And we happen to have a massive deployment around North/South Waziristan and these forces can definitely not be used for any other purpose. And, as if this was not enough, we have another fast rising hot spot in shape of Orakzai agency.

One of the questions that has always irked me, is that how militants in Swat are able to get their funding and weaponry, especially since Swat doesn’t share a border with Afghanistan? Let me put it this way; they have dozens of heavily loaded petrol/diesel guzzling 4×4 vehicles. They drive them a lot. No matter what you do, fuel is not cheap. Where do they get finances, for that? Whatever the source is, it’s the single biggest reason why they are still alive and kicking.

Now, take a good look at the areas on the map, marked in gray and their corresponding position with respect to the valley of Swat. And then ask yourselves, if it’s just a co-incidence that insurgency has suddenly gone up in all of the agencies, surrounding Swat. Answer that, and you’ll have the answer to the question, as to where do the artery which feeds this movement lie.

FATA SWAT map

Unfortunately, since Pakistan Army is fighting on multiple fronts, it is going to take a considerable amount of time before everything goes back under control. And therefore, I don’t see Swat being stabilized anytime soon. My personal belief is that if we managed to pacify Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber and Orakzai in the near future, it’ll considerably daunt operational capabilities of TNSM in Swat, scaling it down to an extent where they become insignificant.

We, as a nation, are paying a very heavy price for wasting the last eight years arguing as to whether or not we’re facing an actual insurgency or if we even need to confront such organizations. It’s now, that we’re truly finding out, the consequences of our inability to reach upon a consensus on issues such as terrorism. The inability to reach upon a decision is worse than actually making a bad decision. For in the case of the former, you’ve to not only live through the consequences of your actions but also repeat this perpetual cycle, until you’re actually able to stick your head out of the sand and confront the reality.

Why have military operations proven inadequate in curbing militancy in Swat?

In my opinion, there are several reasons why Swat problem is probably still not ripe for solution:

  • People of Pakistan do not fully recognize and admit Taliban as a problem.
  • ANP government has failed to adopt a clear cut stance against Taliban.
  • There is evidence that the number of locals involved with TNSM, for reasons discussed in the first part of this post, is large enough to cause serious problems with military efforts.
  • Inability of the civilian government to take advantage of space provided by Army i.e. when army clears a place, it’s then the responsibility for Police, FC and government departments to fill and deny this space to militants. This includes taking measures in order to delegitimize TNSM’s existence.
  • A rather clueless media effort, on part of the government and the military, in order to better present their side of the argument. In any given week, we see more statements being released to the Urdu press by the spokespersons of TTP and TNSM than all press releases that come out of ISPR, within the same time period.

What needs to be done?

  • First and foremost, we need to take care of the very cause that gives legitimacy to the existence of militant organizations such as TNSM i.e. implementation of a proper judicial and governance system in Malakand division. Nizam e Adl (A justice system based on Shari’ah laws, but produced by the government of Pakistan), should be – in accordance with the wishes of the local populace – promptly implemented. Do mind, that I’m not trying to imply that the government of Pakistan should capitulate to unjustified demands of TNSM, instead it should listen to common people of the area.
  • Secondly, they should keep a strict control over means of communication in and out of the valley of Swat. That includes keeping a tab on all cellular traffic, emails, roads, bridges etc.
  • Jam their most potent propaganda tool i.e. the FM transmitter.
  • Find their source of funding and block it. For no movement, no matter how committed its followers are, can continue without money and active assistance in terms of weapons.
  • Deal with FATA more urgently. Because as things stand, much of the funding and weapons being used in Swat, are originating from FATA. They need to cut the artery that starts from North Waziristan and goes all the way to Swat, through several agencies.
  • Get their act together, on the information warfare front. If a single Al-Jazeera documentary can bring about a sea of change in the points of view of youngsters (it’s has since been downloaded, burnt on CDs and spread in different education institutes of Pakistan). Why can’t ISPR, which is in custody of hate material, training manuals and documentary proof of activities of such organizations, not come up with a much better and more detailed documentary? ISPR should also provide access to such material to private media channels, which in turn can help sway public opinion. While I’ve not much to hope for, from the likes of a particular channel that likes to portray itself as the bastion of truth and fairness, which it is anything but. Other private media outlets are still good at what they do. I’d really like to see Talat Hussain, being given an opportunity to do what Rageh Omaar did for Al-Jazeera.
  • Try not releasing militants, as a precursor to holding peace talks with militants. Considering the fact that we’ve been fooled not once but at numerous times, the shame is on us for continuously falling for the same trap, again and again and again.

I’m not claiming that the points raised in my post, are somehow the silver bullet, which we need in order to get out of this quagmire. But it’s my sincere belief, that it’s at least a step towards achieving a solution. I’d really like to know, as to what do you, the readers, have to say about this topic. And how would you like to bring about an end to the insurgency in Swat?

In order to read the first part of this post, click here.

  • Good work Saad. I had the chance to observe and interact with the Swat locals with a friend almost 10 years ago. He was a telecom professional selling telephone exchange equipment to many of the hotels in Swat, and so, I got to roam around areas in Swat that are normally not touched by tourists.
    I found the locals at that time to be a bunch of very friendly and open-minded people rather than the religious fanatics they are presented to be.
    Even in the regular tourist destinations, there were hordes of western tourists roaming around in skirts an shorts and no bearded mullas were forcing them to cover their skin, there were bootleggers openly selling churs and booze, and it was literally a multicultural environment. Perhaps a decade is enough time to bring about a revolution, for better or worse.

    I distinctly remember, though, that lots of local were literally filthy rich, and their simple lifestyle and tattered clothes were in great contrast with the businesses worth millions that they owned in the major cities of the country. Even if there are a few dozen people with a common agenda and big bank accounts, they don’t need to worry about the rising petrol prices to move around in their 4x4s and sponsor weapons.
    Perhaps what we need is a few live webcams in Swat where real swati people can come and share their unmoderated views about the mess that we/they have created instead of the recycled stuff fed to us by the media.

    • Saad

      How long will they be counting on those businesses, if they’re using money being generated through them for financing an on going insurgency, within Pakistan? Don’t you think that they’d be shut down?

      As for the live web cams bit, I really hope to see it come true. =)

  • Good work Saad. I had the chance to observe and interact with the Swat locals with a friend almost 10 years ago. He was a telecom professional selling telephone exchange equipment to many of the hotels in Swat, and so, I got to roam around areas in Swat that are normally not touched by tourists.
    I found the locals at that time to be a bunch of very friendly and open-minded people rather than the religious fanatics they are presented to be.
    Even in the regular tourist destinations, there were hordes of western tourists roaming around in skirts an shorts and no bearded mullas were forcing them to cover their skin, there were bootleggers openly selling churs and booze, and it was literally a multicultural environment. Perhaps a decade is enough time to bring about a revolution, for better or worse.

    I distinctly remember, though, that lots of local were literally filthy rich, and their simple lifestyle and tattered clothes were in great contrast with the businesses worth millions that they owned in the major cities of the country. Even if there are a few dozen people with a common agenda and big bank accounts, they don’t need to worry about the rising petrol prices to move around in their 4x4s and sponsor weapons.
    Perhaps what we need is a few live webcams in Swat where real swati people can come and share their unmoderated views about the mess that we/they have created instead of the recycled stuff fed to us by the media.

    • How long will they be counting on those businesses, if they’re using money being generated through them for financing an on going insurgency, within Pakistan? Don’t you think that they’d be shut down?

      As for the live web cams bit, I really hope to see it come true. =)

  • Jmes

    an excellent article but not covering all the points.what the hell are our inteligence agencies doing.if their is foreign funding involved they need to make that public be it saudia arabia or any other ally country who is trying to destabilise pakistan.second of all i dunt think the pakistan army has whole heartedly gone after militants in swat until now.why was this.the reasons for this must be made public.was swat just a testing ground for the shape of things to come.was musharraf deliberatly helping tsnm so that the war on terror could be prolonged and he and a few select generals and c orrupt politicians benefit..could it be that tsnm is now out of control of ISI and receiving foreign funds to destabilise region.everyting is not so black and white mr saad.the governmnet can pick up and detain anyone indefiitely but fazlullah, muslim khan and band of thugs are allowed to roam freely and give press conferences.If the F***ing assholes are so big thugs the our government should do what the police does arrest their families and probably humiliate them in public so they see the light of reason.That technique works very well for the police so why not try that in swat.give me a break plz.i am not a conspiracy theorist but u must look at the big picture.

    • Saad

      Have you read both parts of this post?

  • Jmes

    an excellent article but not covering all the points.what the hell are our inteligence agencies doing.if their is foreign funding involved they need to make that public be it saudia arabia or any other ally country who is trying to destabilise pakistan.second of all i dunt think the pakistan army has whole heartedly gone after militants in swat until now.why was this.the reasons for this must be made public.was swat just a testing ground for the shape of things to come.was musharraf deliberatly helping tsnm so that the war on terror could be prolonged and he and a few select generals and c orrupt politicians benefit..could it be that tsnm is now out of control of ISI and receiving foreign funds to destabilise region.everyting is not so black and white mr saad.the governmnet can pick up and detain anyone indefiitely but fazlullah, muslim khan and band of thugs are allowed to roam freely and give press conferences.If the F***ing assholes are so big thugs the our government should do what the police does arrest their families and probably humiliate them in public so they see the light of reason.That technique works very well for the police so why not try that in swat.give me a break plz.i am not a conspiracy theorist but u must look at the big picture.

    • Have you read both parts of this post?

  • You told each and every thing about how these militants manage to stronghold themselves in different agencies and how ANP tried to make peace deals but did not even blame Military specially the intelligence department reasons.

    1- If they knew what these militants can do, then why on earth they let ANP release those prisoners?

    2- If they underestimated them how many times they are intentionally underestimating those militants?

    3- Do our Army especially ISI really believe that they can control Taliban and use them whenever they want or vice versa?

    4- And since you tried to convey a message that all of this problem is coming from Afghanistan side should we ( Army, ISI, Political Govt ) take a stand and publicly finger point those root causes? And most important thing is if those militants are working ( which in my opinion they are ) for some forigen elements then what’s their agenda? Implementation of Islamic Laws? Come on you are much more smarter than this.. : )

    5- Every time you and me discuss topics like these you always say that some ting like this

    “People of Pakistan do not fully recognize and admit Taliban as a problem”

    Tell me why should Pakistani People hate Taliban? ( Do NOT think for a second that i love them ) but I mean why should we hate them? Our Army, ISI created them with the help of CIA we never treated them as an “ASSET(s)” and still our Army killing those who have their own agenda…

    We ( Army, ISI ) still believe that we can use them whenever we want and never portray them as a problem. So should Pakistani People really start believing Taliban as axis of evil?

    PS: you owe me a birthday dinner

    • Saad

      1. The idea behind army’s move to let ANP release these militants is relatively simple to understand. After 8 years under Gen. (r) Musharraf, army wanted to ‘show’ that it has walked away from civilian affairs. And therefore, let ANP do, what they deemed fine.

      2. There is definitely a perception out there that ISI sees these organizations as assets. I am convinced that certain organizations are definitely favored still so that we continue to have influence in Afghanistan. I am not necessarily against that. Every single intelligence agency in the world (except for the incompetent ones) have contacts and links with militant organizations, criminals, gangs , smugglers etc.

      That said, i believe there is a realization that what we have going at home is unhealthy. Perception is hard to fight but I do not believe that ISI or MI is involved in any double game, anymore. Problem is a little bit different. Since late 70’s, there was an entire generation of intelligence officers that got far too deeply involved in creating and grooming the ideological monsters. In the process, they themselves got radicalized. There is ample evidence of that.
      So basically, the elephant in the room is not ISI playing a double game but certain officials. And if you pay attention to how the organization has been operating for the last few years, you’ll see ample witness of how such officers got combed out. Its people like these who provide vital information to militants, clearly giving an edge to militancy. These people know the institution and military inside out. And as you have seen, the end result is deadly.

      3. No one underestimates the militants anymore. It’s the struggle between politics and facts on ground.

      4. You’re forgetting the basic premise of the argument put forward by militants that are part of TTP and TNSM. I’ve tried raising this point in my first post as well, but guess it didn’t make a mark. Militants such as these want a code, a system of laws, which is ‘interpreted’ by them and labeled as ‘shari’ah’. Read my first post again, in order to better understand this point.

      Otherwise, pray explain to me, where does ‘shari’ah’ allow desecration of dead bodies, or blowing up of schools? This is what I, almost always, over vehemently write against. That our people have taken militant’s version of laws, as proper ‘shari’ah’. They want you to confuse one with the other, and you’re very willingly doing that. This is what this menace is all about.

      5. Didn’t you hate Gen. (r) Musharraf because he stood against the laws and the constitution of this country, in spite of the fact that he too was a son of this land and a product of our society? Do you, also not hate robbers, murderers and rapists because they abuse the society that they’re a part of and make a mockery of its laws? In the same vein, if a group of people, fighting under whichever banner, choose to make a mockery of your country’s laws, its constitution and try establishing their parallel system of governance, why should you behave any differently with them?

  • You told each and every thing about how these militants manage to stronghold themselves in different agencies and how ANP tried to make peace deals but did not even blame Military specially the intelligence department reasons.

    1- If they knew what these militants can do, then why on earth they let ANP release those prisoners?

    2- If they underestimated them how many times they are intentionally underestimating those militants?

    3- Do our Army especially ISI really believe that they can control Taliban and use them whenever they want or vice versa?

    4- And since you tried to convey a message that all of this problem is coming from Afghanistan side should we ( Army, ISI, Political Govt ) take a stand and publicly finger point those root causes? And most important thing is if those militants are working ( which in my opinion they are ) for some forigen elements then what’s their agenda? Implementation of Islamic Laws? Come on you are much more smarter than this.. : )

    5- Every time you and me discuss topics like these you always say that some ting like this

    “People of Pakistan do not fully recognize and admit Taliban as a problem”

    Tell me why should Pakistani People hate Taliban? ( Do NOT think for a second that i love them ) but I mean why should we hate them? Our Army, ISI created them with the help of CIA we never treated them as an “ASSET(s)” and still our Army killing those who have their own agenda…

    We ( Army, ISI ) still believe that we can use them whenever we want and never portray them as a problem. So should Pakistani People really start believing Taliban as axis of evil?

    PS: you owe me a birthday dinner

    • 1. The idea behind army’s move to let ANP release these militants is relatively simple to understand. After 8 years under Gen. (r) Musharraf, army wanted to ‘show’ that it has walked away from civilian affairs. And therefore, let ANP do, what they deemed fine.

      2. There is definitely a perception out there that ISI sees these organizations as assets. I am convinced that certain organizations are definitely favored still so that we continue to have influence in Afghanistan. I am not necessarily against that. Every single intelligence agency in the world (except for the incompetent ones) have contacts and links with militant organizations, criminals, gangs , smugglers etc.

      That said, i believe there is a realization that what we have going at home is unhealthy. Perception is hard to fight but I do not believe that ISI or MI is involved in any double game, anymore. Problem is a little bit different. Since late 70’s, there was an entire generation of intelligence officers that got far too deeply involved in creating and grooming the ideological monsters. In the process, they themselves got radicalized. There is ample evidence of that.
      So basically, the elephant in the room is not ISI playing a double game but certain officials. And if you pay attention to how the organization has been operating for the last few years, you’ll see ample witness of how such officers got combed out. Its people like these who provide vital information to militants, clearly giving an edge to militancy. These people know the institution and military inside out. And as you have seen, the end result is deadly.

      3. No one underestimates the militants anymore. It’s the struggle between politics and facts on ground.

      4. You’re forgetting the basic premise of the argument put forward by militants that are part of TTP and TNSM. I’ve tried raising this point in my first post as well, but guess it didn’t make a mark. Militants such as these want a code, a system of laws, which is ‘interpreted’ by them and labeled as ‘shari’ah’. Read my first post again, in order to better understand this point.

      Otherwise, pray explain to me, where does ‘shari’ah’ allow desecration of dead bodies, or blowing up of schools? This is what I, almost always, over vehemently write against. That our people have taken militant’s version of laws, as proper ‘shari’ah’. They want you to confuse one with the other, and you’re very willingly doing that. This is what this menace is all about.

      5. Didn’t you hate Gen. (r) Musharraf because he stood against the laws and the constitution of this country, in spite of the fact that he too was a son of this land and a product of our society? Do you, also not hate robbers, murderers and rapists because they abuse the society that they’re a part of and make a mockery of its laws? In the same vein, if a group of people, fighting under whichever banner, choose to make a mockery of your country’s laws, its constitution and try establishing their parallel system of governance, why should you behave any differently with them?

  • you did it again :) well done – a reasonably well thought out plan –

    link coming very soon…. ;)

    • Saad

      Thanks for being so kind, doc. =)

  • you did it again :) well done – a reasonably well thought out plan –

    link coming very soon…. ;)

    • Thanks for being so kind, doc. =)

  • Excellent analysis. The biggest and foremost problem is the callous attitude of this nation. Most of the people do not realize whats going on in Swat and thus fail to differentiate it with the insurgencies in FATA and the national resistance in Afghanistan. Each area has a different problem, and unless a regional approach is adapted which also addresses all the historical grievances of the people, it will not be possible to curb militancy in these areas. The writ and sovereignty of the state is important and it has to be established and that is only possible with the help of locals, giving them what they want that is a proper, efficient judicial and civic infrastructure.

  • Excellent analysis. The biggest and foremost problem is the callous attitude of this nation. Most of the people do not realize whats going on in Swat and thus fail to differentiate it with the insurgencies in FATA and the national resistance in Afghanistan. Each area has a different problem, and unless a regional approach is adapted which also addresses all the historical grievances of the people, it will not be possible to curb militancy in these areas. The writ and sovereignty of the state is important and it has to be established and that is only possible with the help of locals, giving them what they want that is a proper, efficient judicial and civic infrastructure.

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  • Its really hard to digest if things are as obvious as painted here, why the thinking heads of ISI and establishment are unable to counter the threat? I personally believe that what is happening in Swat and FATA is part of a big game, leading towards disection of Pakistan. And our establishment is all but pawns in the game.

    As for the indifferent attitude of people, we have seen it all in Karachi.

    • Saad

      The threat might be obvious but its certainly not easy to over come. A cursory look at the map above proves it. And I’ve written in detail as to how we’ve managed to get to this position, in the first part of this post.

      As for an unseen game, we can either waste our time in perpetually stitching together different theories or act on information that is available to us. We’ve already tried doing the former for the last eight years and it hasn’t helped us. I think it’s about time that we started getting pragmatic about this issue.

  • Its really hard to digest if things are as obvious as painted here, why the thinking heads of ISI and establishment are unable to counter the threat? I personally believe that what is happening in Swat and FATA is part of a big game, leading towards disection of Pakistan. And our establishment is all but pawns in the game.

    As for the indifferent attitude of people, we have seen it all in Karachi.

    • The threat might be obvious but its certainly not easy to over come. A cursory look at the map above proves it. And I’ve written in detail as to how we’ve managed to get to this position, in the first part of this post.

      As for an unseen game, we can either waste our time in perpetually stitching together different theories or act on information that is available to us. We’ve already tried doing the former for the last eight years and it hasn’t helped us. I think it’s about time that we started getting pragmatic about this issue.

  • farrah k raja

    Saad
    Excellent work particularly that you have come up with solutions.
    The problem is Muslims of Pakistan find it extremely hard to denounce even slaughter in the name of Islam.
    Since 1857 we are convinced ,Non-Muslims are our enemies,and Muslims are born to die for Islam.
    We do not look at things in a political scenario and we try to find answers in Religion.
    Why we never found it hard to Condemn Saddam when he invaded Kuwait?
    Why we never openly supported IRAQ /Iran War?Zia tried to bring re-conciliation.
    Same rationale should be applied here.
    Talibaan is not a problem of religion.It is a political problem.
    Talibaan are fighting to regain their control over region.
    Pakistan Army should pull out of coalation.and establish the strict border control.Ask USA to provide borbed wire around the border .
    People should be provided immunity for giving up arms.
    A border force should be raised with the help of local people who should petrol the border and control norcotics.

  • farrah k raja

    Saad
    Excellent work particularly that you have come up with solutions.
    The problem is Muslims of Pakistan find it extremely hard to denounce even slaughter in the name of Islam.
    Since 1857 we are convinced ,Non-Muslims are our enemies,and Muslims are born to die for Islam.
    We do not look at things in a political scenario and we try to find answers in Religion.
    Why we never found it hard to Condemn Saddam when he invaded Kuwait?
    Why we never openly supported IRAQ /Iran War?Zia tried to bring re-conciliation.
    Same rationale should be applied here.
    Talibaan is not a problem of religion.It is a political problem.
    Talibaan are fighting to regain their control over region.
    Pakistan Army should pull out of coalation.and establish the strict border control.Ask USA to provide borbed wire around the border .
    People should be provided immunity for giving up arms.
    A border force should be raised with the help of local people who should petrol the border and control norcotics.

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  • khattak

    Saad,you did good research on the history of TNSM and all that. I beg to ask/make a few questions/comments though:
    1. The areas depicted in the map presented here are not as easily accessible from each other as you think they are and separated from each other by very high mountain ranges. I trekked from upper Swat to upper Dir and believe me its a very tedious and treacherous treck even in summers and is closed during winters.So supplies of arms and ammunition from that route in such huge quantities to fight a regular army is impossible.Same is true of the treck from Chitral which comes via shandur to Mahu Dand in upper Swat.The only way they can get these armaments is through the regular road.And how they are able to get it through that way is an open question.
    2. I agree with your assessment that the situation in swat and FATA is directly a result of an iefficeint style of governance and failure on the part of our State to assimilate these people in our fold.
    3. Blaming everything on the civilian administration is exonerating our security forces from thier part in the game.Talk to anyone from Swat/FATA and you will know what is happening there.
    4. All in all yours is a commendable effort because atleast this gives us the hope that there are few educated people who are thinking/writing/reading about these crucial matters that our country faces today.Please try to understand what i am trying to say between the lines above.

    • Saad

      Khattak, thank you for taking time out to read what I’ve written and I’ll be more than glad to discuss the points that you’ve raised.

      1. When you refer to supply of arms and ammunition and the routes that it involves, you’re forgetting a couple of small facts. One, that these insurgencies (like many like ‘em around the world) are not being fought with heavy weapons (on part of militants). The primary weapons in this case are; AK47 and RPGs. And two, the tactics used in the actual act of supply, which involves use of caches otherwise known as ‘weapon caches’ over large swaths of land. These caches are then are then mapped and the data is shared between militants. This way, militants have not only able to secure their weapon supplies, but it also makes it easy for them to drop their weapons, assimilate with the local populace, change their location and use a different weapons’ cache for acquiring enough weaponry to perform guerilla attacks on the army. That said, if you read more in to all of the peace deals that have been reached between the government and the militants, from the time Gen. (r) Musharraf was in power until now, you’ll see that militants made the army move out of their areas before even agreeing to talk with the government. What do you reckon they did during those times of so-called peace? I’ve posted an Al-Jazeera documentary discussing Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, please do see it.

      And just so that I’m able to drive my point home, I’d like to mention the guerilla war in Kashmir as an example. The entire Indian Pakistani border has been barb wired and India has also placed several radars in order to check cross border infiltration and transportation of weapons. How do you reckon, Kashmiri militants have still been able to get access to weapons from across the border? It’s not as if the two terrains are very much different from each other. It’s tactics which matter, in wars such as these. This is not to excuse Pakistan Army, for any of their mistakes. I’m only trying to explain the situation.

      2. I’ve not exonerated the security forces of their follies. And anyone who has read any of my writings over the course of last few years can testify that I’ve been way harsher on them than any other party of this conflict. But how am I supposed to ignore ANP’s repeat of what Gen. (r) Musharraf did. And that is to start appeasing militants, on their terms. And in return, lose the edge that they held.

  • khattak

    Saad,you did good research on the history of TNSM and all that. I beg to ask/make a few questions/comments though:
    1. The areas depicted in the map presented here are not as easily accessible from each other as you think they are and separated from each other by very high mountain ranges. I trekked from upper Swat to upper Dir and believe me its a very tedious and treacherous treck even in summers and is closed during winters.So supplies of arms and ammunition from that route in such huge quantities to fight a regular army is impossible.Same is true of the treck from Chitral which comes via shandur to Mahu Dand in upper Swat.The only way they can get these armaments is through the regular road.And how they are able to get it through that way is an open question.
    2. I agree with your assessment that the situation in swat and FATA is directly a result of an iefficeint style of governance and failure on the part of our State to assimilate these people in our fold.
    3. Blaming everything on the civilian administration is exonerating our security forces from thier part in the game.Talk to anyone from Swat/FATA and you will know what is happening there.
    4. All in all yours is a commendable effort because atleast this gives us the hope that there are few educated people who are thinking/writing/reading about these crucial matters that our country faces today.Please try to understand what i am trying to say between the lines above.

    • Khattak, thank you for taking time out to read what I’ve written and I’ll be more than glad to discuss the points that you’ve raised.

      1. When you refer to supply of arms and ammunition and the routes that it involves, you’re forgetting a couple of small facts. One, that these insurgencies (like many like ‘em around the world) are not being fought with heavy weapons (on part of militants). The primary weapons in this case are; AK47 and RPGs. And two, the tactics used in the actual act of supply, which involves use of caches otherwise known as ‘weapon caches’ over large swaths of land. These caches are then are then mapped and the data is shared between militants. This way, militants have not only able to secure their weapon supplies, but it also makes it easy for them to drop their weapons, assimilate with the local populace, change their location and use a different weapons’ cache for acquiring enough weaponry to perform guerilla attacks on the army. That said, if you read more in to all of the peace deals that have been reached between the government and the militants, from the time Gen. (r) Musharraf was in power until now, you’ll see that militants made the army move out of their areas before even agreeing to talk with the government. What do you reckon they did during those times of so-called peace? I’ve posted an Al-Jazeera documentary discussing Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, please do see it.

      And just so that I’m able to drive my point home, I’d like to mention the guerilla war in Kashmir as an example. The entire Indian Pakistani border has been barb wired and India has also placed several radars in order to check cross border infiltration and transportation of weapons. How do you reckon, Kashmiri militants have still been able to get access to weapons from across the border? It’s not as if the two terrains are very much different from each other. It’s tactics which matter, in wars such as these. This is not to excuse Pakistan Army, for any of their mistakes. I’m only trying to explain the situation.

      2. I’ve not exonerated the security forces of their follies. And anyone who has read any of my writings over the course of last few years can testify that I’ve been way harsher on them than any other party of this conflict. But how am I supposed to ignore ANP’s repeat of what Gen. (r) Musharraf did. And that is to start appeasing militants, on their terms. And in return, lose the edge that they held.

  • minhaaj

    This article definitely shows your ignorance with your own religion, contemporary facts and westernization. Taliban has never been a problem in any significant way afaik. We helped them back in war against Russia. They are probably the only religious people alive who follow religion strictly apart from some uncircumcized indian agents incognito which have formed your views about them. I remember these people coming with goods on their back to sell in Pakistan back in my childhood and they treated my family as their own family often selling on credit. I do agree on the same sentence that only deficiency Taliban have is scientific education that, combined with their spirituality must have made the super power. No wonder George Bush was afraid of them when he said ‘They were going to ruin our civilization on earth’.
    Anyways not bad for a westernized kid in Australia. Appreciate the time you took to go through the situation.

    • Saad

      Thank you for your input. Just so that you know, I’ve spent more years in Pakistan (and in more areas of Pakistan than most Pakistanis that I know of) than I’ve lived outside Pakistan.

      That said, I’ll really appreciate, that instead of divulging in to rhetoric, you’ll engage me on points that I’ve raised in this post. I’ll be more than glad to discuss them with you.

  • minhaaj

    This article definitely shows your ignorance with your own religion, contemporary facts and westernization. Taliban has never been a problem in any significant way afaik. We helped them back in war against Russia. They are probably the only religious people alive who follow religion strictly apart from some uncircumcized indian agents incognito which have formed your views about them. I remember these people coming with goods on their back to sell in Pakistan back in my childhood and they treated my family as their own family often selling on credit. I do agree on the same sentence that only deficiency Taliban have is scientific education that, combined with their spirituality must have made the super power. No wonder George Bush was afraid of them when he said ‘They were going to ruin our civilization on earth’.
    Anyways not bad for a westernized kid in Australia. Appreciate the time you took to go through the situation.

    • Thank you for your input. Just so that you know, I’ve spent more years in Pakistan (and in more areas of Pakistan than most Pakistanis that I know of) than I’ve lived outside Pakistan.

      That said, I’ll really appreciate, that instead of divulging in to rhetoric, you’ll engage me on points that I’ve raised in this post. I’ll be more than glad to discuss them with you.

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    You raised some points?

    While you share the view of the preponderance, i see nothing topical in your post.

    I’ll start by a naive argument that the arms to taliban or ttp (now) are supplied from within (Custom made, the army,isi and dead soldiers).Funds are channeled through the major cities of Pakistan and from that of Afghanistan, Saudia (sometimes from Uk as well)

    That said, the reasons you cited for Swat being a problem is immensely limp. It is as if the majority of swat supports the government or the establishment. Yes give them PAKISTAN made shariah and then what? you believe it will stay till there? is not the ultimate aim of this religion (whichever you follow,goal remains the same) to establish the word of their god throughout the whole universe?

    No matter where you live, whenever people will go in conflict for a god , bloodshed will be the result. For one party fights for the glory of his/her religion, expect massacres on a grand scale.

    This is my take on what should or can be done:

    If shariah is to be established, do it for the Muslims in Pakistan like that in Uk not in a particular region. We don’t want separations neither can we afford it. Our education is completely flawed, a country where you are taught to justify that a part of your land never was meant to be yours (list down the main reason of why east and west Pakistan could not be together). We were not willing to let go of any muslim majority city at the time of independence, we even wanted Hyderabad in the middle of India , yet here we are justifying the separation of our land.

    The Army needs to be disciplined and pulled out from every conflict until they go through a proper training of racial,ethnic and social dealings. The practice of establishing rape camps and instilling fear in the hearts of people will always backfire, they should be taught on the levels of morality. You see the whole swat valley shall burn for the mistakes of few. I don’t want to argue if Pakistan army adopts the strategy of rape in the conflict zones but i think history is the best reason to believe. Whereas Muslims
    made such a hue and cry for the serbs who raped more than 60000 bosniak women from 12-60 age in cycles , there till this date have no record of protest in Pakistan or realization that this army raped more than 40000 muslim women in its own land http://www.gendercide.org/case_bangladesh.html .
    Those that were soldiers then are commanders and generals now.

    People will always opt for speedy justice and an army ranking higher in morality. If Islam is what drives the population of Swat , then my conclusion is give them the islamic force that they want, an islamic government for Pakistan, a fully compatible shariah on the wishes of the masses, not a custom made.

    Peace,although can never be achieved in an anarchic world but in a sovereign state this might be a twilight of hope.

    • Saad

      Ziad, I don’t see why I’m made to keep repeating points that I’ve already made. But if you’d read the first part of this post, you’ll see that I’ve mentioned exactly why does the local populace feel alienated towards the writ and law of the state of Pakistan. I’m not brushing that fact aside.

      That said, there has been absolutely no charge on part of any party, even the TTP / TNSM that PA has indulged in using rape as a weapon in Swat. So I don’t really see the point behind such an indirect assertion, here.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Muhammad Ziad Puri

        Then we shall wait for 4 years when the story is published about rape victims in Swat, like as it did recently in Baluchistan where the women who was missing from 4 years spoke about the rape camps operated by Pakistan army- Asian human rights watch. Happened in 2005 , published in 2009.

        So far human rights violation by Pakistan army in conflict zones (2001-2009)
        KILLING INNOCENT -CHECK (Everwhere)
        LOOTING-CHECK (Baluchistan,Swat,Fata)
        RAPE-CHECK (Farmers in Punjab http://www.hrw.org/en/node/11997/section/8,
        women in Baluchistan http://mustikhan.newsvine.com/_news/2009/01/24/2349185-rape-sex-slavery-used-to-correct-genes or http://www.ahrck.net)
        TORTURE-CHECK (Baluchistan and wide range of agencies under Pakistan army to ensure the practice remains)
        USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS-CHECK (lal masjid,swat valley,Bajaur agency)
        While i have the source for each allegation i have put, i would speak on behalf of ttp that rape as an instrument of war has been used in swat and fata region. http://mustikhan.newsvine.com/_news/2009/01/24/2349185-rape-sex-slavery-used-to-correct-genes
        reading this again might show you how Pakistan army controls the publishing of news particularly how the media defends rape as not a part of Pakistan army tactics (btw this is from asian human rights commision you can check it on their website but this person has put it well on his blog)
        It would be ignorant to deny the historical significance of my allegation, while in the case of the taliban you made sure to have mentioned the historical background of tnfm.

        • Saad

          I wasn’t aware of these links, and these sure paint a very different picture of events from what I have in my mind.

          And no, I haven’t divulged in to the historical significance of your allegation because until now, I was unaware of these claims.

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    You raised some points?

    While you share the view of the preponderance, i see nothing topical in your post.

    I’ll start by a naive argument that the arms to taliban or ttp (now) are supplied from within (Custom made, the army,isi and dead soldiers).Funds are channeled through the major cities of Pakistan and from that of Afghanistan, Saudia (sometimes from Uk as well)

    That said, the reasons you cited for Swat being a problem is immensely limp. It is as if the majority of swat supports the government or the establishment. Yes give them PAKISTAN made shariah and then what? you believe it will stay till there? is not the ultimate aim of this religion (whichever you follow,goal remains the same) to establish the word of their god throughout the whole universe?

    No matter where you live, whenever people will go in conflict for a god , bloodshed will be the result. For one party fights for the glory of his/her religion, expect massacres on a grand scale.

    This is my take on what should or can be done:

    If shariah is to be established, do it for the Muslims in Pakistan like that in Uk not in a particular region. We don’t want separations neither can we afford it. Our education is completely flawed, a country where you are taught to justify that a part of your land never was meant to be yours (list down the main reason of why east and west Pakistan could not be together). We were not willing to let go of any muslim majority city at the time of independence, we even wanted Hyderabad in the middle of India , yet here we are justifying the separation of our land.

    The Army needs to be disciplined and pulled out from every conflict until they go through a proper training of racial,ethnic and social dealings. The practice of establishing rape camps and instilling fear in the hearts of people will always backfire, they should be taught on the levels of morality. You see the whole swat valley shall burn for the mistakes of few. I don’t want to argue if Pakistan army adopts the strategy of rape in the conflict zones but i think history is the best reason to believe. Whereas Muslims
    made such a hue and cry for the serbs who raped more than 60000 bosniak women from 12-60 age in cycles , there till this date have no record of protest in Pakistan or realization that this army raped more than 40000 muslim women in its own land http://www.gendercide.org/case_bangladesh.html .
    Those that were soldiers then are commanders and generals now.

    People will always opt for speedy justice and an army ranking higher in morality. If Islam is what drives the population of Swat , then my conclusion is give them the islamic force that they want, an islamic government for Pakistan, a fully compatible shariah on the wishes of the masses, not a custom made.

    Peace,although can never be achieved in an anarchic world but in a sovereign state this might be a twilight of hope.

    • Ziad, I don’t see why I’m made to keep repeating points that I’ve already made. But if you’d read the first part of this post, you’ll see that I’ve mentioned exactly why does the local populace feel alienated towards the writ and law of the state of Pakistan. I’m not brushing that fact aside.

      That said, there has been absolutely no charge on part of any party, even the TTP / TNSM that PA has indulged in using rape as a weapon in Swat. So I don’t really see the point behind such an indirect assertion, here.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Muhammad Ziad Puri

        Then we shall wait for 4 years when the story is published about rape victims in Swat, like as it did recently in Baluchistan where the women who was missing from 4 years spoke about the rape camps operated by Pakistan army- Asian human rights watch. Happened in 2005 , published in 2009.

        So far human rights violation by Pakistan army in conflict zones (2001-2009)
        KILLING INNOCENT -CHECK (Everwhere)
        LOOTING-CHECK (Baluchistan,Swat,Fata)
        RAPE-CHECK (Farmers in Punjab http://www.hrw.org/en/node/11997/section/8,
        women in Baluchistan http://mustikhan.newsvine.com/_news/2009/01/24/2349185-rape-sex-slavery-used-to-correct-genes or http://www.ahrck.net)
        TORTURE-CHECK (Baluchistan and wide range of agencies under Pakistan army to ensure the practice remains)
        USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS-CHECK (lal masjid,swat valley,Bajaur agency)
        While i have the source for each allegation i have put, i would speak on behalf of ttp that rape as an instrument of war has been used in swat and fata region. http://mustikhan.newsvine.com/_news/2009/01/24/2349185-rape-sex-slavery-used-to-correct-genes
        reading this again might show you how Pakistan army controls the publishing of news particularly how the media defends rape as not a part of Pakistan army tactics (btw this is from asian human rights commision you can check it on their website but this person has put it well on his blog)
        It would be ignorant to deny the historical significance of my allegation, while in the case of the taliban you made sure to have mentioned the historical background of tnfm.

        • I wasn’t aware of these links, and these sure paint a very different picture of events from what I have in my mind.

          And no, I haven’t divulged in to the historical significance of your allegation because until now, I was unaware of these claims.

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    I read some of your comments just now and so i wish to write more.

    How do YOU define shariah? It is nice to see that people are finally realizing that all they cry for is shariah.

    What is Shariah?
    Nobody claimed that bombing schools is a part of the shariah , i don’t see one statement from the talibans that they did it because the shariah told them to do so but i ask you…under Shariah law can you shave your beard? Can a Women work? Is it allowed for her to travel without being accompanied by a non mahram? is hudd, tazir and qisas not valid? what is the treatment of prisoners of war? how do you treat civilans? the fate of a spy?
    Who made the shariah ?
    Who follows a shariah?
    You want to establish shariah laws in swat or shariah in swat?
    Once established shariah tells them to conquer pakistan the country of the infidels , where all norms have been surpassed. Where the government is of the corrupt and civilians at mercy of the army. So they would first invite them to islam, or pay jizya or be ready to die.
    I ask you again what do you understand of shariah?

    The mess that has been created can never be solved by dropping bombs , everytime you do that you pass on HATE. Hate is the result you see the schools being blown , not islam. Anything which has to do with westernization or western ideologies or originated from the west these people just want to blow it sky high. Why is this so? well, when the drones attack,when your army betrays you, when the soldiers resort to rape what is it that you create? Hate is what you give and pass on to these people. You don’t feel it because who among us had our women and children killed by an artillery shell? The women that you longed for , cared for , fed her …and she was your integral part of life from whom you got children. These children were young, they were sent to madressahs because you couldn’t afford a better education, they were learning the word of ALLAH as they say…and the parents used to hear their children say the praises of ALLAH…and one day everything is at lost when a bomb UNINTENTIONALLY killed their loved ones. You just created a man who do not trust your civil ways, the way you dress, the way you speak. It is not a good time to speak english in these areas, you get caught and you sure are to be beheaded labeled as a spy.

    Human reasoning is present in us to judge why is all this happening , it is not there to jump to conclusions of how we should solve it. ANP , ARMY ka baap bhi yeh problem solve nahi kersakta to phrase it explicitly in Urdu. They (government) speak the language of war, don’t realize that negotiations is must. Valley is burning , fata is becoming hell , and those who once were your enemies are laughing back at you from the east.
    It is a mystery whether shariah will satisfy their thirst, because you will never give them the authority of enforcing shariah but just a label.
    After shariah will the rest of provinces not demand shariah? come on even i want to test out this shariah that muslims long to die about.
    Are we not succumbing to the demands of the ‘militants’?

    As i said there can be hope , but it is not a surety of whether the puppets are ready to part their thrown away.
    good luck into figuring out the ‘REAL SOLUTION’ to the problems.

    • Saad

      Shouldn’t those questions be posed to TNSM and not me? My emphasis was on the government, to actually de-legitimize the existence of such an organization by stealing the initiative from them. And that too by engaging the local populace and not by capitulating to the demands of TNSM. It’s all written up there.

      As far as the conditions, shari’ah laws and their implications are concerned, thats beyond the scope of this blog and the post itself. And I’d rather not divulge in to that discussion in here.

      • Muhammad Ziad Puri

        Saad i was referring to your reply to omer, point 4 that you raised.

        You gave an opinion of what should be done but how? when you give out a solution you always have the consequences in mind for that is how you actually conclude what should be done.

        Even i did not want to discuss this here but somehow i thought it is related to the topic we are discussing. The root of insurgency , and how should we solve it.
        I don’t think the shariah they demand is any different from what shariah actually is. Blowing up schools is never claimed to be a part of shariah by them and discretion of dead bodies ?well that is a lie.

        Thus,i repeat that after giving the local population the shariah, is it a surety that the demand would stay till there? Is Asif zadari ready to accept it ?

        • Saad

          You should read in to what happened to the body of Pir Samiullah and his followers, in case you’re of the opinion that they did not indulge in desecration of dead bodies, in Swat. I didn’t venture in to details of these acts, because it wasn’t the premise of my argument, I’ve already stated way too many details, as it is.

          And when I link shari’ah with bombing of schools and desecration of dead bodies – it is not because militants are justifying them as such. But on the basis of the fact that Islam has set up rules of engagement, rules that define as to how you’re supposed to pursue war.

          Now, if one is trying to implement shari’ah, I am assuming that he would be aware of the laws and rules in it that deal with waging war as well, no? If then, that person deliberately breaks those rules, it means that either he has not considered them important enough to pay heed or has made a certain concession for himself, within the framework of those rules. In either case, it’s a deviation from the set precedent. Thus, subject to questions, like above.

          And no, I can not possibly state it with certainty that TNSM will stop its activities, once shari’ah laws are enforced in the region. But that’s where I draw a line between civilian population of Swat and TNSM.

          And no, I don’t think that AZ will agree to this demand.

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    I read some of your comments just now and so i wish to write more.

    How do YOU define shariah? It is nice to see that people are finally realizing that all they cry for is shariah.

    What is Shariah?
    Nobody claimed that bombing schools is a part of the shariah , i don’t see one statement from the talibans that they did it because the shariah told them to do so but i ask you…under Shariah law can you shave your beard? Can a Women work? Is it allowed for her to travel without being accompanied by a non mahram? is hudd, tazir and qisas not valid? what is the treatment of prisoners of war? how do you treat civilans? the fate of a spy?
    Who made the shariah ?
    Who follows a shariah?
    You want to establish shariah laws in swat or shariah in swat?
    Once established shariah tells them to conquer pakistan the country of the infidels , where all norms have been surpassed. Where the government is of the corrupt and civilians at mercy of the army. So they would first invite them to islam, or pay jizya or be ready to die.
    I ask you again what do you understand of shariah?

    The mess that has been created can never be solved by dropping bombs , everytime you do that you pass on HATE. Hate is the result you see the schools being blown , not islam. Anything which has to do with westernization or western ideologies or originated from the west these people just want to blow it sky high. Why is this so? well, when the drones attack,when your army betrays you, when the soldiers resort to rape what is it that you create? Hate is what you give and pass on to these people. You don’t feel it because who among us had our women and children killed by an artillery shell? The women that you longed for , cared for , fed her …and she was your integral part of life from whom you got children. These children were young, they were sent to madressahs because you couldn’t afford a better education, they were learning the word of ALLAH as they say…and the parents used to hear their children say the praises of ALLAH…and one day everything is at lost when a bomb UNINTENTIONALLY killed their loved ones. You just created a man who do not trust your civil ways, the way you dress, the way you speak. It is not a good time to speak english in these areas, you get caught and you sure are to be beheaded labeled as a spy.

    Human reasoning is present in us to judge why is all this happening , it is not there to jump to conclusions of how we should solve it. ANP , ARMY ka baap bhi yeh problem solve nahi kersakta to phrase it explicitly in Urdu. They (government) speak the language of war, don’t realize that negotiations is must. Valley is burning , fata is becoming hell , and those who once were your enemies are laughing back at you from the east.
    It is a mystery whether shariah will satisfy their thirst, because you will never give them the authority of enforcing shariah but just a label.
    After shariah will the rest of provinces not demand shariah? come on even i want to test out this shariah that muslims long to die about.
    Are we not succumbing to the demands of the ‘militants’?

    As i said there can be hope , but it is not a surety of whether the puppets are ready to part their thrown away.
    good luck into figuring out the ‘REAL SOLUTION’ to the problems.

    • Shouldn’t those questions be posed to TNSM and not me? My emphasis was on the government, to actually de-legitimize the existence of such an organization by stealing the initiative from them. And that too by engaging the local populace and not by capitulating to the demands of TNSM. It’s all written up there.

      As far as the conditions, shari’ah laws and their implications are concerned, thats beyond the scope of this blog and the post itself. And I’d rather not divulge in to that discussion in here.

      • Muhammad Ziad Puri

        Saad i was referring to your reply to omer, point 4 that you raised.

        You gave an opinion of what should be done but how? when you give out a solution you always have the consequences in mind for that is how you actually conclude what should be done.

        Even i did not want to discuss this here but somehow i thought it is related to the topic we are discussing. The root of insurgency , and how should we solve it.
        I don’t think the shariah they demand is any different from what shariah actually is. Blowing up schools is never claimed to be a part of shariah by them and discretion of dead bodies ?well that is a lie.

        Thus,i repeat that after giving the local population the shariah, is it a surety that the demand would stay till there? Is Asif zadari ready to accept it ?

        • You should read in to what happened to the body of Pir Samiullah and his followers, in case you’re of the opinion that they did not indulge in desecration of dead bodies, in Swat. I didn’t venture in to details of these acts, because it wasn’t the premise of my argument, I’ve already stated way too many details, as it is.

          And when I link shari’ah with bombing of schools and desecration of dead bodies – it is not because militants are justifying them as such. But on the basis of the fact that Islam has set up rules of engagement, rules that define as to how you’re supposed to pursue war.

          Now, if one is trying to implement shari’ah, I am assuming that he would be aware of the laws and rules in it that deal with waging war as well, no? If then, that person deliberately breaks those rules, it means that either he has not considered them important enough to pay heed or has made a certain concession for himself, within the framework of those rules. In either case, it’s a deviation from the set precedent. Thus, subject to questions, like above.

          And no, I can not possibly state it with certainty that TNSM will stop its activities, once shari’ah laws are enforced in the region. But that’s where I draw a line between civilian population of Swat and TNSM.

          And no, I don’t think that AZ will agree to this demand.

  • Manzoor

    Good research but lack of realities. Most of the research is based on materials from the local newspapers.

    The reality is that all the mess has been created by the Army.

    • Saad

      Thank you for commenting. Would you like to elaborate on that assertion?

  • Manzoor

    Good research but lack of realities. Most of the research is based on materials from the local newspapers.

    The reality is that all the mess has been created by the Army.

    • Thank you for commenting. Would you like to elaborate on that assertion?

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    An inside story, i hope you post it on your blog..this is a must read from asian times.
    On the militants trail, by syed saleem shehzad

    Comes in 4 parts http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KA31Df01.html

    Part 4 can be accessed from here http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia.html (scroll down)

    Take-care (everything is related with your topic above)

  • Muhammad Ziad Puri

    An inside story, i hope you post it on your blog..this is a must read from asian times.
    On the militants trail, by syed saleem shehzad

    Comes in 4 parts http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KA31Df01.html

    Part 4 can be accessed from here http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia.html (scroll down)

    Take-care (everything is related with your topic above)

  • Taimur

    Great Article.I learnet alot from it.May ALLAH bless and reward you for your effort.

    Do you have a mailing list.This way i can read your other articles as well and stay informed.

    JAZAK ALLAH KHAIR

    Taimur

  • Taimur

    Great Article.I learnet alot from it.May ALLAH bless and reward you for your effort.

    Do you have a mailing list.This way i can read your other articles as well and stay informed.

    JAZAK ALLAH KHAIR

    Taimur

  • Faisal

    Finally read your swat article.Late but perhaps in time to expect the 3rd part in light of recent developments in malakand division. Nice work. Whats the bibliography for counter check/enhanced background knowledge of swat history etc? I noted down my comments as i read your article so these are my first thoughts/reactions to it/comment there. I even didnt read these again
    1. is there some concrete indicators of foreign involvement in troubling up the peace. If yes, can it be highlighted…
    2. You are right about throwing the hard work done by army out of the window like a trash. I know that for sure.
    3. I dont exactly recall some quotation regarding “deterrence” but once its lost you cant revive it. Thats what happened in army response to problems in FATA/ SWAT etc. Peace deals in midst of operations has that effect.
    4. Media campaign is not following up the operation thats why people still think that army is fighting own people. That makes army’s job so thankless.
    5. Jmes has really pointed out the important questions requiring further detailed response from your side, so do that.
    6. Can you explain the point@some radicalized int officials vs ISI? It seems very theoretical, rather misled. Either ISI is radicalized as a wholesome entity or not at all. OR “who are these INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS”??
    7. Regarding KHATTAK love for these religious taliban. Its not some uncircumcised agents there but whole bunch of so called muslims who just know the kalma.There brand of islam only suits them. “some time such blind ignorance needs sympathy”
    8. The comment of “Minhaaj” regarding army to be pulled out from every conflict and to be trained in racial, ethnic and social seems interesting. Can it be specified what should be the guidelines for that. And interestingly isnt it a must for all especially our rulers. “And what the f–k he means by establishing rape camps”. Some people cant even think before writing what to talk of speaking. And if i am that ignorant can i be given any ref to some un biased material pointing out to this from history. And not of Bangladesh please as thats is the propaganda. The army is not imported from MARS, they are from same society. So You may do the same if given a choice (if i believe what you say is true about army). Utter ignorance, thats all to believe such one sided historical papers etc. And although comments related to shariya are very informative, i am amazed to read hate filled comments regarding army. I am prepared to believe his words if substantiated by own media etc i will not fall in the propaganda trap to target army in such pathetic/ shameful acts like rape etc.
    P.S saad, i d like you to do some un biased research on army establishing rape camps, as highlighted in few of the comments to make us as learned as him {ziad}.

    • Muhammad Ziad

      Writing to address point 8 only.Since in 7 your ignorance is quite visible.

      For the rape camps i have posted a link as a reference. You can visit asian human rights watch website and read the article (research) yourself. For you Bangladesh is a propaganda, i think you are not following here. What happened in the then East Pakistan is recored in history. I suggest you research over it and then come back to post. I don’t find this as a forum to talk sense to you, to make it simple Bangladesh matters because the soldiers who fought the war there are now generals or high ranking officers.
      The links are all from unbiased research agencies but you can pass on to me any single link which clears the allegations i put on the Pakistani army. The army is clearly not from Mars, but they surely belong to the population which you pointed out yourself who only knows the kalma which is a vague argument.
      These officers are corrupt,incapable and uneducated. Trained only to kill. The talibs on the other hand are much learned and motivated in their struggle thus the government recently bowed down to their demands.

      Good you’re asking someone to do an unbiased research…if that was ever possible in human nature than i would’ve opted for it as well. It proves how ignorant you are on facts as well. (hint) Read more about sympathetic syndrome, hopefully you will catch what i mean. To conclude , there is no unbiased research in the world, if there is point me to one. There are researches and you can choose which one you want to follow and which one you think is not true.

      Using f–k and explicits does not make your argument stronger but shows how pathetic you are with your engagements in arguments.

      Regards.

      • faisal

        i see what un biased research you are following and trying to preach.
        P.S 1971 vetrans are all gone home since long, and only one odd is left (if any). too bad you didnt know the service limits of ranks, otherwise u d know.

        whatever, my level of ignorance is, at least i am not being foolish to listen to your brand of biased research ONLY. but i’ll happy to know, if you have done some research of your own, rather than quoting the sites etc wrt 1971. I, on my part have at least read 5-6 books on it, which varies my brand of research to a degree more than at least yours on the subject.
        anyways, to kill this personlized victimization of each other viewpoint, lets just ignore what you and i believe and May Allah be the judge, when the time comes.Ameen

  • Faisal

    Finally read your swat article.Late but perhaps in time to expect the 3rd part in light of recent developments in malakand division. Nice work. Whats the bibliography for counter check/enhanced background knowledge of swat history etc? I noted down my comments as i read your article so these are my first thoughts/reactions to it/comment there. I even didnt read these again
    1. is there some concrete indicators of foreign involvement in troubling up the peace. If yes, can it be highlighted…
    2. You are right about throwing the hard work done by army out of the window like a trash. I know that for sure.
    3. I dont exactly recall some quotation regarding “deterrence” but once its lost you cant revive it. Thats what happened in army response to problems in FATA/ SWAT etc. Peace deals in midst of operations has that effect.
    4. Media campaign is not following up the operation thats why people still think that army is fighting own people. That makes army’s job so thankless.
    5. Jmes has really pointed out the important questions requiring further detailed response from your side, so do that.
    6. Can you explain the point@some radicalized int officials vs ISI? It seems very theoretical, rather misled. Either ISI is radicalized as a wholesome entity or not at all. OR “who are these INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS”??
    7. Regarding KHATTAK love for these religious taliban. Its not some uncircumcised agents there but whole bunch of so called muslims who just know the kalma.There brand of islam only suits them. “some time such blind ignorance needs sympathy”
    8. The comment of “Minhaaj” regarding army to be pulled out from every conflict and to be trained in racial, ethnic and social seems interesting. Can it be specified what should be the guidelines for that. And interestingly isnt it a must for all especially our rulers. “And what the f–k he means by establishing rape camps”. Some people cant even think before writing what to talk of speaking. And if i am that ignorant can i be given any ref to some un biased material pointing out to this from history. And not of Bangladesh please as thats is the propaganda. The army is not imported from MARS, they are from same society. So You may do the same if given a choice (if i believe what you say is true about army). Utter ignorance, thats all to believe such one sided historical papers etc. And although comments related to shariya are very informative, i am amazed to read hate filled comments regarding army. I am prepared to believe his words if substantiated by own media etc i will not fall in the propaganda trap to target army in such pathetic/ shameful acts like rape etc.
    P.S saad, i d like you to do some un biased research on army establishing rape camps, as highlighted in few of the comments to make us as learned as him {ziad}.

    • Muhammad Ziad

      Writing to address point 8 only.Since in 7 your ignorance is quite visible.

      For the rape camps i have posted a link as a reference. You can visit asian human rights watch website and read the article (research) yourself. For you Bangladesh is a propaganda, i think you are not following here. What happened in the then East Pakistan is recored in history. I suggest you research over it and then come back to post. I don’t find this as a forum to talk sense to you, to make it simple Bangladesh matters because the soldiers who fought the war there are now generals or high ranking officers.
      The links are all from unbiased research agencies but you can pass on to me any single link which clears the allegations i put on the Pakistani army. The army is clearly not from Mars, but they surely belong to the population which you pointed out yourself who only knows the kalma which is a vague argument.
      These officers are corrupt,incapable and uneducated. Trained only to kill. The talibs on the other hand are much learned and motivated in their struggle thus the government recently bowed down to their demands.

      Good you’re asking someone to do an unbiased research…if that was ever possible in human nature than i would’ve opted for it as well. It proves how ignorant you are on facts as well. (hint) Read more about sympathetic syndrome, hopefully you will catch what i mean. To conclude , there is no unbiased research in the world, if there is point me to one. There are researches and you can choose which one you want to follow and which one you think is not true.

      Using f–k and explicits does not make your argument stronger but shows how pathetic you are with your engagements in arguments.

      Regards.

      • faisal

        i see what un biased research you are following and trying to preach.
        P.S 1971 vetrans are all gone home since long, and only one odd is left (if any). too bad you didnt know the service limits of ranks, otherwise u d know.

        whatever, my level of ignorance is, at least i am not being foolish to listen to your brand of biased research ONLY. but i’ll happy to know, if you have done some research of your own, rather than quoting the sites etc wrt 1971. I, on my part have at least read 5-6 books on it, which varies my brand of research to a degree more than at least yours on the subject.
        anyways, to kill this personlized victimization of each other viewpoint, lets just ignore what you and i believe and May Allah be the judge, when the time comes.Ameen

  • Swat its called Switzerland of Pakistan, what happened in swat no one can believe, everything come to an end, a ordinary life of one local individual is lifeless, what our leaders are doing? There are making fun on it??? It’s not time to compose political principles
    I want to appeal to all pray for our Pakistan and Pakistani people and also pray that our leaders get some sense to effort for Pakistan, they are member of staff of Pakistan they should work for Pakistan not for their own profit

  • Swat its called Switzerland of Pakistan, what happened in swat no one can believe, everything come to an end, a ordinary life of one local individual is lifeless, what our leaders are doing? There are making fun on it??? It’s not time to compose political principles
    I want to appeal to all pray for our Pakistan and Pakistani people and also pray that our leaders get some sense to effort for Pakistan, they are member of staff of Pakistan they should work for Pakistan not for their own profit

  • Tak for din analyse.
    Du kender pakistanere. Så jeg vil spørge dig om, du også kunne analysere folks ideologi psykologisk, da det jo er den, der får dem til at handle. Det er jo ikke nok at opremse en række hændelser. Hvordan forestiller talibanerne sig verden ser ud og burde se ud? Hvilken rolle spiller stammekulturen mentalt? Forestiller NWFP regeringen sig at sharia kun er kortere retsforløb og ikke en verdensanskuelse, der ikke giver plads for folks egne beslutninger, da alt jo er bestemt i koranen og sunnaen? Altså at indførelse af sharia faktisk betyder afskaffelsen af NWFP regeringen selv.
    Den 21. februar meddelte regeringen, at talibanerne har accepteret en permanent våbenhvile i Swat, at de flygtede skulle vende tilbage og at skolerne vil blive genåbnet. Samme dag sagde Mulla Fazlullah at deres 10-dages våbenhvile først er slut den 25., og at de først derefter træffer beslutning om en forlængelse. Hvad vil han sige på onsdag tror du?

    • Saad

      Tak for at kommentere. Før jeg går ind på detaljerne i dette emne, skal du gøre opmærksom på, at TNSM er forskellig fra Taliban, at du så ofte tales om. Grunden til, hvorfor det var så vigtigt, så staten denne række af begivenheder, fordi de er meget relevante for årsagen til denne særlige oprør.

      Den omstændighed, at de søgte bånd med Taliban, er en moderne udvikling. Og ja, det har fået en masse at gøre med, hvordan Taleban se verden.

      Som for den tanke, at NWFP’s regering har givet afkald på sin autoritet ved at gennemføre Shari’ah, jeg ikke tillægger den idé. Gøre visse stater i USA ikke følge love, der ifølge sagens natur er forskellige, selv i konflikt med hinanden? Hvordan er denne sag anderledes fra det?

      Og Fazullah har allerede annonceret komplette våbenhvilen, begyndende i aftes.

      P.S.
      Jeg er ked for kvaliteten af oversættelsen, da jeg ikke tale / skrive dansk. Så jeg vil bruge Google oversætter, for at læse din besked og skrive et svar på det.

  • Tak for din analyse.
    Du kender pakistanere. Så jeg vil spørge dig om, du også kunne analysere folks ideologi psykologisk, da det jo er den, der får dem til at handle. Det er jo ikke nok at opremse en række hændelser. Hvordan forestiller talibanerne sig verden ser ud og burde se ud? Hvilken rolle spiller stammekulturen mentalt? Forestiller NWFP regeringen sig at sharia kun er kortere retsforløb og ikke en verdensanskuelse, der ikke giver plads for folks egne beslutninger, da alt jo er bestemt i koranen og sunnaen? Altså at indførelse af sharia faktisk betyder afskaffelsen af NWFP regeringen selv.
    Den 21. februar meddelte regeringen, at talibanerne har accepteret en permanent våbenhvile i Swat, at de flygtede skulle vende tilbage og at skolerne vil blive genåbnet. Samme dag sagde Mulla Fazlullah at deres 10-dages våbenhvile først er slut den 25., og at de først derefter træffer beslutning om en forlængelse. Hvad vil han sige på onsdag tror du?

    • Tak for at kommentere. Før jeg gÃ¥r ind pÃ¥ detaljerne i dette emne, skal du gøre opmærksom pÃ¥, at TNSM er forskellig fra Taliban, at du sÃ¥ ofte tales om. Grunden til, hvorfor det var sÃ¥ vigtigt, sÃ¥ staten denne række af begivenheder, fordi de er meget relevante for Ã¥rsagen til denne særlige oprør.

      Den omstændighed, at de søgte bånd med Taliban, er en moderne udvikling. Og ja, det har fået en masse at gøre med, hvordan Taleban se verden.

      Som for den tanke, at NWFP’s regering har givet afkald pÃ¥ sin autoritet ved at gennemføre Shari’ah, jeg ikke tillægger den idé. Gøre visse stater i USA ikke følge love, der ifølge sagens natur er forskellige, selv i konflikt med hinanden? Hvordan er denne sag anderledes fra det?

      Og Fazullah har allerede annonceret komplette våbenhvilen, begyndende i aftes.

      P.S.
      Jeg er ked for kvaliteten af oversættelsen, da jeg ikke tale / skrive dansk. Så jeg vil bruge Google oversætter, for at læse din besked og skrive et svar på det.

  • Maliha Aqueel

    Thankyou for the article Saad. Very few are looking into the problem, especially not with this angle — as I can see here from the ‘arguments’ posted by Muhammad Ziad. I work for a TV channel, and as I sit there…everyday, I see visuals from inside Swat..Mutta, Mingora, that we will never show to viewers. How Fazlullah and his militants are waging a war of personal gain…ive seen beheaded bodies hanging from trees, their heads stuck on poles…with notes pasted on them, rolled into their noses…”Do not touch the bodies before 11am, or you will end up with the same fate”. Barbaric is a really small word. Our reporter’s sister was killed, a reporter from Geo was killed, and many more have been before. The argument raised by Ziad is very fundamental to Pakistanis … criticise your own state functionary. I understand the origins of these claims, and the truth in them. But there is a problem, it creates even more sympathy for these militants. How can you be sympathetic towards Fazlullah, who says girls can study till grade 4th only? I’m not a Muslim, I belong to no religion. Would you want people like me to be persecuted at the hands of a few bearded men who want to have their way? As I understand the history of Islam, education and other freedoms are somewhat guaranteed. Some of the greatest scholars of hadith were women. The Koranwas preserved by a woman and then handed down. I understand that Islam is sometimes very derogatory to women as well, but not as much as Fazlullah and Sufi make it. Sufi has painted a picture of being a savior as he entered Swat with his peace delegation after the Nizam-e-Adl deal. All Pak Army’s efforts have gone down the drain once again. A fundamental problem is with our media, and its failure to represent these militants for what they truly are — for the fear to not alienate masses, or the ever influential clergy – the likes of which include Qazi Hussain Ahmed (whose only family is a testament to western freedoms, but do not misunderstand me…I’m for freedom and rights of expression–but no one should be hypocritical). The army has returned to barracks, it’s a chance for the TTP to re-group. Athar Abbas has publicly admitted that the last deal allowed TTP to recuperate. There is little hope. But, the state shall prevail. Taliban is a mafia only. Keep writing Saad, we need more people like you to make sense of events for the youth in Pakistan.

    Let’s become more influential than the cleric after the Friday prayers who denounces the army, and praises the Maulanas. And, do not be afraid to say what your religion says. Do not think that other can interpret your religion better because they dont shave, or wear their shalwars differently. Make yourself heard. Spread the word. And Zaid, watch Raageh’s documentary (but do not forget that he was embedded with the army). Keep questioning.

    • Muhammad Ziad

      You know maliha it is true, that is where i was getting at. There is not a defect in the interpretation of their holy book but in the text itself. Remember what the danish politician said? sadly it is very true. My name is Muhammad, and people take me as a ‘religious’ cleric or a ‘Muslim’ which is ridiculous.
      I doubt taliban , tnsm or ttp follows any less of the quran , rather they follow the quran exactly the way it is written. Everyone can make out of the verse don’t befriend jews and Christian. THERE is hardly any interpretation needed for beheading, hanging on the poles and cutting the hands. These acts are described as capital punishments. Go back 1400 years till the late 17th century , these practices were carried out throughout the muslim world.

      Just read up the ruling for apostates , or the ruling over missing of a prayer (both punishable to death). How can a muslim write against a muslim when both claim to follow the same book ? what do they mean by misinterpret , why make a mockery out of it?

      For i see Pakistani army as equally brutal as others are labeled, perhaps more brutal since it describes itself as ‘civilized’.

      As long as religious zealots live peace will not return to this country, yes, declare yourself as an atheist. There is no extreme muslims and moderate muslims,they all are one. Separate yourself from the muslims altogether and then just bomb the remaining. End of story.

  • Maliha Aqueel

    Thankyou for the article Saad. Very few are looking into the problem, especially not with this angle — as I can see here from the ‘arguments’ posted by Muhammad Ziad. I work for a TV channel, and as I sit there…everyday, I see visuals from inside Swat..Mutta, Mingora, that we will never show to viewers. How Fazlullah and his militants are waging a war of personal gain…ive seen beheaded bodies hanging from trees, their heads stuck on poles…with notes pasted on them, rolled into their noses…”Do not touch the bodies before 11am, or you will end up with the same fate”. Barbaric is a really small word. Our reporter’s sister was killed, a reporter from Geo was killed, and many more have been before. The argument raised by Ziad is very fundamental to Pakistanis … criticise your own state functionary. I understand the origins of these claims, and the truth in them. But there is a problem, it creates even more sympathy for these militants. How can you be sympathetic towards Fazlullah, who says girls can study till grade 4th only? I’m not a Muslim, I belong to no religion. Would you want people like me to be persecuted at the hands of a few bearded men who want to have their way? As I understand the history of Islam, education and other freedoms are somewhat guaranteed. Some of the greatest scholars of hadith were women. The Koranwas preserved by a woman and then handed down. I understand that Islam is sometimes very derogatory to women as well, but not as much as Fazlullah and Sufi make it. Sufi has painted a picture of being a savior as he entered Swat with his peace delegation after the Nizam-e-Adl deal. All Pak Army’s efforts have gone down the drain once again. A fundamental problem is with our media, and its failure to represent these militants for what they truly are — for the fear to not alienate masses, or the ever influential clergy – the likes of which include Qazi Hussain Ahmed (whose only family is a testament to western freedoms, but do not misunderstand me…I’m for freedom and rights of expression–but no one should be hypocritical). The army has returned to barracks, it’s a chance for the TTP to re-group. Athar Abbas has publicly admitted that the last deal allowed TTP to recuperate. There is little hope. But, the state shall prevail. Taliban is a mafia only. Keep writing Saad, we need more people like you to make sense of events for the youth in Pakistan.

    Let’s become more influential than the cleric after the Friday prayers who denounces the army, and praises the Maulanas. And, do not be afraid to say what your religion says. Do not think that other can interpret your religion better because they dont shave, or wear their shalwars differently. Make yourself heard. Spread the word. And Zaid, watch Raageh’s documentary (but do not forget that he was embedded with the army). Keep questioning.

    • Muhammad Ziad

      You know maliha it is true, that is where i was getting at. There is not a defect in the interpretation of their holy book but in the text itself. Remember what the danish politician said? sadly it is very true. My name is Muhammad, and people take me as a ‘religious’ cleric or a ‘Muslim’ which is ridiculous.
      I doubt taliban , tnsm or ttp follows any less of the quran , rather they follow the quran exactly the way it is written. Everyone can make out of the verse don’t befriend jews and Christian. THERE is hardly any interpretation needed for beheading, hanging on the poles and cutting the hands. These acts are described as capital punishments. Go back 1400 years till the late 17th century , these practices were carried out throughout the muslim world.

      Just read up the ruling for apostates , or the ruling over missing of a prayer (both punishable to death). How can a muslim write against a muslim when both claim to follow the same book ? what do they mean by misinterpret , why make a mockery out of it?

      For i see Pakistani army as equally brutal as others are labeled, perhaps more brutal since it describes itself as ‘civilized’.

      As long as religious zealots live peace will not return to this country, yes, declare yourself as an atheist. There is no extreme muslims and moderate muslims,they all are one. Separate yourself from the muslims altogether and then just bomb the remaining. End of story.

  • Pretty good analysis – I wondered tho’ looking at the map, there were arrows pointing from Jalalabad. Maybe the wish was to state that a hostile neighbour has set up a consulate there which is fuelling the insurgency – in which case you will praise that country’s intelligence arm to high heaven.

    Of course some one is fuelling the Taliban. I wish to state several bullet points:

    1. British officials covered up evidence that a Taliban commander killed by special forces in Helmand last year was in fact a Pakistani military officer, according to highly placed Afghan officials. Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4926401.ece

    2. Major-General Faisal Alavi was murdered after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants. Link:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5337881.ece

    3. David Sanger’s recent book – Inheritance – states that NSA intercepts have recorded conversations of Gen Kiyani saying Haqqani network is a strategic asset (a point you conceded by stating all intelligence agencies have “contacts”).

    4. Taliban wants to bring in Sharia all over Pakistan. Hamid Gul and Osama bin Laden brokered a deal where Nawaz Sharif will bring in Sharia in Pakistan – and boy he was about to deliver it too by 15th Amendment!

    5. If Taliban are fighters who are proud of what they are doing and are not would be suicide bombers – why on earth do they hide their faces? Is it because they are current / ex Pak soldiers? That ex-servicemen of Pushtun joined in droves is common knowledge.

    So, who is paying Bait Mehsud? Who gains from the Shura of Mujahideen?

    • Saad

      The arrowheads were only meant to point at the areas of conflict, within Pakistan, not their source.

  • Pretty good analysis – I wondered tho’ looking at the map, there were arrows pointing from Jalalabad. Maybe the wish was to state that a hostile neighbour has set up a consulate there which is fuelling the insurgency – in which case you will praise that country’s intelligence arm to high heaven.

    Of course some one is fuelling the Taliban. I wish to state several bullet points:

    1. British officials covered up evidence that a Taliban commander killed by special forces in Helmand last year was in fact a Pakistani military officer, according to highly placed Afghan officials. Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4926401.ece

    2. Major-General Faisal Alavi was murdered after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants. Link:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5337881.ece

    3. David Sanger’s recent book – Inheritance – states that NSA intercepts have recorded conversations of Gen Kiyani saying Haqqani network is a strategic asset (a point you conceded by stating all intelligence agencies have “contacts”).

    4. Taliban wants to bring in Sharia all over Pakistan. Hamid Gul and Osama bin Laden brokered a deal where Nawaz Sharif will bring in Sharia in Pakistan – and boy he was about to deliver it too by 15th Amendment!

    5. If Taliban are fighters who are proud of what they are doing and are not would be suicide bombers – why on earth do they hide their faces? Is it because they are current / ex Pak soldiers? That ex-servicemen of Pushtun joined in droves is common knowledge.

    So, who is paying Bait Mehsud? Who gains from the Shura of Mujahideen?

    • The arrowheads were only meant to point at the areas of conflict, within Pakistan, not their source.

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