Pak Army losing grip in terror-hit areas

November 14th, 2007 - 5:42 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 14 (ANI): Despite the proclamation of an emergency, the Pakistan Army is losing its grip in insurgent-hit areas of the country, according to a US daily.
“While Musharraf has justified emergency rule by arguing that he needs a free hand to battle groups including the Taliban and al-Qaeda, local officials, residents and analysts say that so far, at least, the government’s troops remain on the defensive against extremist forces, which have been gaining territory for more than a year,” the Washington Post said in an analysis.
For insurgents, democracy, emergency and martial laws does not make any difference.
“For us, it does not make a difference whether it’s democracy, emergency or martial law,” said Maulana Sirajuddin, spokesman for a radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah.
“But I can tell you that our mujaheddin are fighting from the core of their hearts, and we have made spectacular progress in the last week,” he added.
32-year-old Fazlullah’s loyalists have in recent days overrun three additional police stations and now roam unhindered through much of the valley, once known to tourists as “the Switzerland of Asia.”
A military spokesman confirmed that the group had recently forced local security officials to leave several areas.
Major General Waheed Arshad said that the army had taken control of operations in the valley, and he hinted that it was on the verge of launching an operation to stop the losses.
“We don’t want these militants to be terrorizing the people. So they’ll be taken to task, that’s for sure,” he said.
In the tribal areas of bordering Afghanistan, insurgents have virtually free rein, using the territory as a base from which to mount attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and beyond, according to military analysts.
Whenever the army has tried to conduct operations in the tribal areas, it had paid a heavy price. In August, for example, Taliban fighters commandeered an entire army convoy, taking 250 soldiers hostage without firing a single shot.
“The Taliban held the troops for more than two months. They were released the day after Musharraf imposed emergency rule, when the government acceded to Taliban demands and freed nearly 30 of the group’s fighters, including several who had been involved in planning suicide bombings,” the paper said. (ANI)

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