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Pakistan Army Vs TTP – Time to choose sides

COAS General Raheel Sharif has told Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif clearly in their recent meeting that the time for talks is over and army will use its might to hunt those who are killing civilians and law enforcement agencies throughout Pakistan and have occupied a part of sovereign Pakistan (North Waziristan). Pakistan has around 1 million active soldiers to deal with such miscreants. These soldiers include army, police and rangers; they have successfully launched operations against TTP in the past and have cornered TTP to just one agency in FATA (although their network still remains throughout Pakistan).

War against terrorism is psychological apart from being physical. A clear stance hurts the miscreants who thrive in chaos. While professionalism and ability of Pakistan army can’t be doubted, the willingness of civilian set up to launch such a major operation is still questionable. But now that our air force is striking the hideouts of TTP almost daily and army is closing in, political parties, media and the general Pakistan public has to chose sides.

While some political parties like PPP, MQM, ANP have always stood against Taliban and can be expected to support the operations, others such as the ruling PML N, ruling PTI (in KP) and religious parties such as JUI and JI are still confusing the nation with vague statements and confused policies. These same parties have undermined army’s capacity in the past. Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar has given statements that gave an impression that state of Pakistan is desperate for talks even if TTP is not. Head of Pakistan Tehreek e insaf Imran Khan went to the extent that he termed Pakistan’s army incapable of fighting the Taliban head on and declared it a lost battle even before the fight had begun. JUI and JI, being religious hardliners have even been known to support TTP in the past. While JUI chief Molana Fazal Ur rehman openly boasts about his close contacts and relationship with Taliban, JI’s previous chief Syed Munawar Hassan went one step ahead and said that Pak army’s jawans who die fighting against Taliban are not shaheed.

Where one feels sorry for Pakistan as a nation as all these Taliban apologists are in government, hope that sanity will prevail and sides would be chosen wisely in this fight against miscreants should not fade.  Our enemies have a clear idea of what they want and have made its motives clear through various press conferences. We should also be clear that we cannot let them take away our sovereignty, our culture, values and democracy. We cannot let Pakistan become a launching pad for terrorism all over the world and we certainly cannot let them take us back to stone age with their rigid thinking. To protect all this, we have to fight. Our brave army and air force soldiers are taking this fight to Taliban stronghold Waziristan. Now it’s on us to support our army in this battle for Pakistan’s survival or not. We have to choose sides between Taliban apologists and Pakistan’s saviours.

I re-emphasize here my earlier point that this war is not mere physical but psychological and if our political  parties continue to cast doubts about the effectiveness of the North Waziristan operation, the war would be lost even before the battle is over.

Pakistan’s media also has to play a role in this war. It has to educate our public about why this operation is needed and how these Taliban and their apologists are harming Pakistan for their personal agendas. Religious extremists should not be given any coverage on television and those who stand for human rights, freedom, democracy and stand with Pakistan army should be promoted.

Political parties, media and general public have to choose sides now. If the side is not chosen correctly, results will be disastrous for Pakistan.

Infact, this is the time for each of us to ask ourselves, are we on the right side?

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