Expert urges Pak regime to win hearts and minds of militants

February 2nd, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Feb 2 (ANI): A former Pakistan army officer and now a defence and political analyst has called on the current establishment in Islamabad to take steps to win the hearts and minds of the militants and make them useful members of society.
In an article for the Asia Tribune, Asif Haroon Raja, who has authored several books on security-related developments in Pakistan, says there is a need to replace sham democracy with true democracy suitable to the genesis of the people of Pakistan.
Calling for radical reforms in the Pakistani judicial system, including making it completely independent, and for a narrowing of existing divides within the society, Raja says the need of the hour is to make the affluent class accountable and compel them to cast away their feudalistic behaviour, practice the virtues of Islam in correct perspective, reduce our dependence on foreign powers and restore our sovereignty and dignity.
He also says that the underprivileged sections of Pakistani society need to be refined, so as to prevent their deviation towards the world of crime and extremism.
Demanding the creation of a welfare state in the real sense, Raja further states in his article that the threat of Talibanisation is real in Pakistan, and needs to be countered with utmost urgency.
He believes that there was no organised group of local Taliban in Pakistan till the end of 2004, and that the Pakistani Taliban came into being in Waziristan after army operations began in that region in 2002 under American pressure.
With Washington pushing Islamabad for quick results in the global war on terrorism, Raja opines that things came to a head after the inking a peace agreement with the Mahsud Tribe in July 2005.
He claims that operations against suspected extremists, including the Taliban and al Qaeda in North Waziristan, have been the toughest challenge for the army. This has been followed by similar operations in South Waziristan, and now there is a view developing among the tribal population that Pashtuns and peaceful inhabitants are being targeted.
Raja insists that other than the Khyber and Aurakzai Agencies, all other tribal agencies are restive and Talibanistion has taken root firmly and its effects have spread in many parts of settled areas of NWFP.
He also claims that the alleged involvement of Indias external intelligence agency the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has complicated matters.
He concludes that today a sizeable part of the NWFP is desirous of implementation of the Shariah (Islamic law) since the Anglo-Saxon judicial system has failed to deliver justice.
The tribals view the army as intruders operating under the orders of USA and killing them is religiously legal.
Our wrong policies have turned them (the tribals) into extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, he says, adding that it will be unwise to gain their permanent enmity. (ANI)

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