Pakistan incapable of anti-terror policy, says media

April 8th, 2009 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 8 (IANS) Pakistan is incapable of formulating a policy against terrorism because it blames the scourge on the West, an editorial in a leading English daily said Wednesday, noting with alarm that vast swathes in the country’s north and northwest were under the effective control of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda.
“Since it blames terrorism on the West in general and America in particular, Pakistan is also incapable of formulating policy against terrorism,” Daily Times said in an editorial headlined “New policy against terrorism?”

The reference was to a meeting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had called here Monday of chief ministers and police chiefs of the four provinces to consider the measures needed to counter a rash of terror attacks, mainly in the Punjab province.

The meeting was an exercise in futility, the newspaper maintained.

“Since a new policy requires a revisiting of the old policy, it will become imperative not to rely on the old reports prepared and filed in the past,” it said.

However, in view of the “short time” of two weeks for formulating the new policy, it “will most probably be based on old reports. It may be a policy but it will not be ‘new’,” the editorial contended.

Dawn had a slightly different take on the issue.

“Clearly, something radical needs to be done to ready our police force to take on the militants. But success will only come if the plans are drawn up and executed by professionals with minimal political interference,” it said in an editorial titled “Counter-terrorism in cities”.

Daily Times also noted that Pakistan’s economy “can go down in a heap” if it is not helped from outside through “massive grants and handouts” for the war against terror.

“Its army needs a big budget to maintain its readiness. Its police needs to be rebuilt on a new basis of recruitment and emolument for which it has no money,” the editorial said.

As for the spread of the terror network in the country, Daily Times noted that apart from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the north, many cities and towns in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) had “fully or partially” fallen to the Taliban.

Thus, from Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu to Kohat and Bannu, “the armed men of the Taliban decide how the people have to live, killing Shias and blowing up girls’ schools”.

“Swat has been lost to the Taliban but not before (NWFP capital) Peshawar itself became a playground for the Taliban who kidnap and extort money from the rich of the city,” the editorial said.

This apart, NATO trucks have been attacked and looted “till the Taliban were amply provided with high-tech transport meant for the external forces in Afghanistan”.

In the rest of the country too, it noted, there was sympathy for the Taliban and indirectly for Al Qaeda.

“Big cities like Karachi are threatened with a new war that Islamabad may not know how to tackle because it will be spearheaded by suicide-bombers. The madrassas have crossed the line and gone over to the other side.

Stating that the people need protection “that only the Taliban can provide in the end because they are the perpetrators of violence and fear themselves”, the editorial added: “Therefore, any new policy (against terror) will have to knock off the old props of thinking.”

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