A Call for Unity

13Oct09

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Audacious: that is the word we’ve heard repeatedly used to describe the GHQ standoff. But the attack was also meticulously planned. It was reminiscent of 2008’s Manawan attack, when the police training academy located in the suburbs of Lahore was held hostage in broad daylight. But this was no training academy — this was the general headquarters of the most powerful institution of Pakistan, and it was paralysed for a day and a night. In some ways, this was as dramatic an assault as the Mumbai hotel siege in November 2008.

While many are applauding the Pakistan Army’s efforts in controlling the hostage situation with minimal loss of life, there are others who are disconcerted by the militants’ ability to penetrate into the heart of the security forces. No matter how you look at it — symbolically or literally — it is a major blow to the army.

In fact, such a travesty raises crucial questions in the mind of the ordinary Pakistani.

If the centre of Pakistan’s might is not safe, then how can any place in this country be considered secure? How far-reaching is the power of our enemy that militants could pierce the core of our security apparatus with such apparent ease? And what did the Swat operation or the killing of former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud account for after all?

In one of the best analyses to be published in the immediate aftermath of the Rawalpindi hostage saga, Zaffar Abbas wrote: ‘Factions of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Jaish-i-Mohammad have also joined ranks with the Waziristan-based TTP, mainly to use their territory to carry out attacks within Pakistan. They are also the groups who have within them a large number of people who have come to be known as the ‘Punjabi Taliban’, and have direct links with militants in various parts of the country, stretching from Islamabad to Karachi.’

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Abbas advises that this is the time for the Pakistan military to reassess past strategies and recognise that there are no ‘good’ militants who can be differentiated from ‘bad’ ones. But this is also an important opportunity for the country’s institutions to realise the need for a united front.

The manner of squabbling that we have seen for the past couple of weeks over the Kerry-Lugar Bill, for instance, is unnecessary in these times. Just as the civil society and the political leadership, including the opposition, stood together (at least publicly) when the military was heading into an offensive in Swat, so now too they should appear as a cohesive force.

As Pakistan’s security — and by extension its national integrity — remains vulnerable, there was no need for the army to make a public statement against the PPP leadership, undermining them, and giving the PML-N the advantage of their unspoken support. Now that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have agreed to take up conditions that are ‘offensive’ to the Pakistan army with the United States, it would do well for the army and the PML-N to do their bit to maintain the stability of this democracy. After all, if the various militant groups that comprise our internal enemy can come together, why can’t we?

This post was first published on 13th October 2009 by dawn.com

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3 Responses to “A Call for Unity”

  1. well, i dont know what the writer realy want to show from this article? write want to demoralize the nation and Pakistan Army? writer wants to say that Swat operation was a failure? or what?
    well, every one knows that Pakistan is having a neighbor who is always in thinking to harm our country in one way or the other!
    if someone passes by ur house, u can not stop him by throwing a stone at ur house, the thing dat matter is how u deal him after word!
    my request is please do not try demoralize our nation and Pak Army by writing such article. such type of articles can make a big difference!

  2. Nicely put.
    We do indeed need a collaborated effort to curd the menace right now.
    However, we need to make long-term investments in education and improving economic conditions. While military cleansing is only a temporary solution, policies in the aforementioned dimension may promise better, long-term consequences in the coming years by reorienting the social mindset from overy religiosity to more tolerant one.


  1. 1 A Call for Unity | Tea Break

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