The thing that concerns me the most is that we lack clear vision to defeat Taliban. Although now the war is within our borders and Taliban are using strong symbolism by destroying the state assets worth 72 million dollars. Recent attack on PNS Mehran is another strong message sent not only to Pakistani Establishment but to the international community abroad that Taliban are capable to strike the dearest assets of Pakistani State. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accepted the responsibility and commented that the terrorists were trained to hole up within the base for three days. This is also very clear that they had sophisticated weaponry including hi-tech night vision and Infrared goggles. One corpse that is being shown on television suggests that terrorists were from North Western Pakistan. As TTP has claimed the responsibility so we see that the links of this dreadful act goes back to North Waziristan where Taliban are holed up and using it as a Launchpad to strike strategic assets of Pakistan. The question is that how can we control the growing threat to Pakistan? These are the steps that can be taken for a viable solution of the menace of Taliban in Pakistan.
1. Nature of Strategy
This strategy is two-pronged strategy. It has two distinct objective-oriented phases that include both short term and long term relief.
(a) Identify the enemy correctly:
We should identify our enemy. Taliban of every faction are our enemy. It doesn’t matter if they are hostile to us currently or not. The thing that matters is their ideology. We should stop classifying Taliban into Good Taliban and Bad Taliban as both factions share same ideology. While some have set their short-term objective as occupation of Pakistan and converting it into a theocratic Taliban State, others are waiting for the right opportunity but occupying Pakistan is in their target list. So we shouldn’t close our eyes to this direct threat and treat them as enemy as well.
(b) Nip the Evil in the BUD:
We should attack the den of Taliban that is North Waziristan there and then. Our Armed forces must not wait for another terrible incident and should go after Taliban in North Waziristan as soon as possible. This will bring short term relief to the affected and demoralized public. The conquered North Waziristan will also have a symbolic value as nearly all Taliban are located there and it is their major center. North Waziristan is epicenter of Terrorism both national and international.
Our Armed Forces and ISI should conduct a self-audit and launch a covert operation within its own hierarchy to cleanse the institutions from the rogue elements. It has been accepted at highest levels that there are some rouge elements within the network of ISI and Armed forces that are patronizing Taliban and providing the key information of strategic importance to them. Army must eliminate covertly all those serving and retired elements as soon as possible.
(d) See who is financing the terrorists:
It is time for us to realize that we should prefer Pakistan over every other thing. It is the right time to make public the names of the offshore financers of Taliban. The financers are located in Gulf countries such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Arab heartland. We should put in place a proper mechanism to block the fund transfer of the terrorists from their patrons in Arab world.
(e) RAW Factor:
RAW is not directly supporting Taliban but it is providing tactical and technical training to TTP through her counterparts in Afghanistan and Gulf facilitators. Many so-called diplomatic missions across the Durand Line in Afghanistan are basically operational centers of RAW that are directly involved in hefty financial support and providing hi-tech training to TTP through her Gulf facilitators. This is a long-term realization program as world is largely Indophile these days. Before making realize the international community about the involvement of RAW in tactical and financial support of Taliban, we must come clean ourselves and get rid of the black sheep within our own folds.
(f) Media Checks & Elimination of Conspiracy Theories:
Media Mullahs especially Hamid Mir and Jung Media group is particularly involved in the gratification of Taliban. They are misleading general public and gratifying terrorists and projecting them as national heroes. Establishment should place a check on Pro-Taliban media and eliminate it for the time being. Short term relief can come by declaring the secret links of Jung Media Group with RAW and Mittal and Mittal to general public. Establishment should not take any pressure on the closure of Jung Media Group and use full force against the rogue Pro-Taliban elements within Pakistani media.
(g) Make Pro-Pakistan Media Strong:
We need a stronger projection of Pro-Pakistan media. ISPR needs a more viable and goal oriented method to project the soft image of Pakistan and to curtail anti-Pakistan and Pro-Taliban elements within the folds of Pakistani media.
(h) Writ of State:
Very unfortunately writ of State is missing from the settled areas as well. We can see very easily the activists of banned outfits such as Hizb-e-Tehrir, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Sipah Sahaba (with different name) operating and distributing hate material outside mosques. The banners and stickers of Hizb-e-Tehrir are displayed openly even in Federal Capital Islamabad on every light pole. The Activists of Hizb-e-Tehrir openly distribute anti-state propaganda pamphlets after every Friday prayer outside mosques. We need to establish strong writ of State within our settled areas and eliminate these public faces of Taliban through a covert intelligence operation. This is also important for the intelligence gathering. Once you establish the writ of State within the areas where you exercise the State’s writ officially then it will be a lot easier for you to go after Taliban wherever you find them!
(i) Cull Taliban Supporters:
We need to cull Taliban’s public support. The main public supporters of Taliban are Islamist religio-political parties. Establishment should declare its clear policy. As Taliban are national enemy so their supporters will be dealt as them. Once public support of Taliban is eradicated then it will be a lot more easier to stop the growing extremism. Jamaat-e-Islami and other religio-political parties should be given one point surrender program that they should denounce and abandon Taliban publically. If they refuse to do so then they should also be dealt like Taliban and operation against their activists should be launched. The biggest threat is Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba. A TTP commander who was also Amir of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba Karachi University chapter has been nabbed by the Law Enforcement Agencies. This should be enough to conclude that JI, IJT, JUI-(F) and other religio-political parties are basically public face of Taliban. A full scale operation should be launched in all major universities of Pakistan especially Karachi University, Peshawar University, Punjab University, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamic University and Bahauddin Zikriya University against Jamiat-e-Tulba-e-Islam. Establishment should put all these religio-political parties into terror list if they refuse to denounce and abandon Taliban publically.
Negotiations should be initiated with Imran Khan over the issue of Taliban support and he should also be given one point agenda of denouncing Taliban in public. Long term steps should be taken to separate Nationalist activists in all provinces of Pakistan from Taliban.
(j) Debriefing of Youth and redefinition of national text book syllabus:
With extermination of the public face of Taliban, Establishment should also revisit the national curriculum and cleanse it from all pro-Taliban and terrorist aspects. Establishment should rewrite the real Pakistani History and remove the hotchpotch and twisted national history introduced by Zia ul Haq.
(k) Closure of Pro-Taliban Mosques and Seminaries:
A national uniform syllabus should be introduced in all institutions of Pakistan and Pro-Taliban seminaries and mosques should be closed down. Establishment should run an awakening campaign on Pro-Pakistan media and make general public realize that these mosques and seminaries are working against Pakistan. Religious symbolism should be used effectively in debriefing of masses before the closure of Pro-Taliban elements. We need a proper campaign of demonization of Taliban’s public supporters.
(l) Elimination of unwanted checks on public morality:
We need to remove all the unwanted checks on public morality introduced by Zia ul Haq. Establishment needs to provide public with more recreational opportunities such as alcohol and gambling that are currently illegal in Pakistan. By elimination of unwanted checks on public morality, we can divert the mind of the youth from the media frenzy.
(m) Elimination of Corruption and introduction of swift justice system:
Corruption is a very big problem that we are facing. Establishment should take over the country and eliminate corruption from all levels and enact laws that should provide swift justice to the affected people. State should take steps to renew the trust of people on State apparatus.
(n) International Image Building Campaign:
It is alright if you are killing Taliban on your own soil. Make the world understand through Pro-Pakistani media that Pakistani State is doing its job of protecting people from National Enemy and sweeping the leftovers of the party that CIA threw with Taliban back in Cold War Days. With effective media campaigning, we can secure hefty payments from international community under the pretext of elimination of international threat.
2. The Fruits of Toil:
The short-term fruits of the toil are secession of terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The long term benefits include renewed trust in Pakistani State along with more foreign investment and betterment in the lifestyle of public. More investment means elimination of poverty. We need to take these steps as soon as possible. The most alarming factor is that certain areas of Pakistan have become Suicide Bomber factories where a Suicide Bomber is available for Rs 10,000 to 20,000 depending upon the scenario. We should take the above steps as soon as possible before we see No More Pakistan!
This is also an opportunity for us to unite together as one nation! Let’s join hands to defeat Taliban! Taliban Murdabaad! Pakistan Zindabad!