Swat operation: Is it on the right track?

Swat operation: Is it on the right track?

Chief of Army Staff Gen Kayani has called for ‘precision strikes to avoid collateral damage even at the expense of taking risks’ in Swat. But will this strategy work?

Air raids, especially those conducted by coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan almost always cause widespread civilian casualties. Given the chequered history of precision strikes, can it be said that the Pakistan army will do any better? Also, the army chief has said that the overall success of the operations in Swat and adjoining regions depend on three areas: ‘conduct of military operations, minimizing collateral damage and correctly managing IDPs’.

So far the armed forces have claimed killing more than 750 militants, though the figure is yet to be independently verified. The Taliban claim that only 15 of its fighters have lost their lives. Meanwhile, thousands of refugees have been pouring out of the areas affected by the full-scale military operation. According to some estimates, the figure of the Internally Displaced Persons has already crossed a staggering one million.

Dawn.com invites readers to debate the Swat strategy and suggest what’s right or wrong with the ongoing action.


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287 Responses to “Swat operation: Is it on the right track?”

  1. ak says:

    This operation is attacking only one part of the problem. This is necessary but not sufficient. Let me explain.

    During Musharraf’s time, when he joined US in the war on terror, Al Qaeda was not tolerated but Taliban were encouraged despite knowing they created problems for neighbouring Afghanistan. Similarly, LeT, JAish e Mohammad and other terrorist outfits that created problems in India were encouraged. Also the whole Wahabi Madrasa infrastructure was allowed to flourish.

    Today, the government is against Taliban because that is what the Americans say is a problem and so you have this operation in Swat. Even then other terrorist organization and infrastructure is not touched.

    Now Iran has been attacked by terrorists within Pakistan resulting in Iran closing orders within a week of signing the historic gas treaty with Pakistan.

    If it was possible to simply have an armed operation to reduce terrorism, then the writ of terrorist would not have prevailed in Bajaur after less than a year of a severe army operation that made 550,000 people homeless.

    There needs to be a recognition that people who kill innocent civilians are terrorists and they can not be segregated as good terrorist and bad terrorist on the basis of the religion/nationality of those killed. Accordingly, the entire terror infrastructure needs to be destroyed (training jihad, funding jihad etc.). Until this happens, every few months Pakistan will continue to make these army operations making millions homeless and destroying crops and property in the process, without ever solving the problem.

  2. Numan Jeddah says:

    Here I would like to comment on the role of media in this war as they have been updating us from the war zone. I have watched different channels and I would say the most impartial reporting has been from Dawn News. They have been highlighting the plight of IDP’s also the bravery of the Pak army of the officers and jawans who have laid their lives in the line of fire.
    Mr. Ayaz Amir who is an impartial commentator recently highlighted about media’s role in his article in The News may 22nd Pakistan’s first or second real war that swat operation is now 4 weeks and still some media anchor persons are doubting and speaking against the swat operation, they should rather let army do its job that is a necessity.
    But on the contrary Mr. Hamid Mir who is the anchor person of talk show is daily highlighting negative aspects of the swat operation, he is constantly either criticizing the lack of facilities at IDP camps or just today he was standing on a road near Mingora and criticizing that people are not being allowed to get back.
    On 28th May when all the channels were paying tributes to heroes of chaagi, the day Pakistan romped into nuclear arena…Mr. Hamid Mir was criticizing the fact that being a Nuclear power we are un able to stop the bombings…but the question is why is he belittling the achievements of Pak Army or achievements of being a nuclear power…is this impartial reporting every Pakistani knows we have a responsibility for IDP’s we don’t need his special coverage…I suggest that he should read Ayaz Aimr’s article daily as it would clear his mind and help him in reporting impartially.

  3. ned says:

    Dear Pakistani: I am geting sick reading your comments on this portal. Please pay more attention how our comments can contribute to solving this crisis. Confronting each other without any valuable argument serves no purpose; you are just making negative picture of Pakistani people as adolescent people who just need primitive and corrupted dictator. But personally I am confident that Pakistan has magnificent young generation which can make Pakistan as driving power in Islamic World.

  4. Mustafa says:

    Wake up Pakistanis, be you Pathaans, Punjabis, Baluchis, Sindhis or Mohajirs. If you want to save yourself and your dear relatives, you have no choice but to keep your eyes and ears open. Report all suspects to Police or Army before you and your dear relatives become victims of the crimes. There are the worst creatures on earth living with you in Pakistan. Did you read the news today:

    PESHAWAR: Taliban militants kidnapped about 300 students, teachers and their relatives travelling in a convoy of mini-buses in North Waziristan on Monday, Reuters quoted police as saying.

  5. Absar says:

    Pakistan is stuck in the deep marshes of different problems.

    The handful of miscreants strolling in FATA and Swat area – are often not hunted by Pakistani security forces – instead innocents are being gunned down.

    Of late, DG ISPR iterated that terrorists in FATA and Swat were getting material and financial support through the Afghan agencies are abetting them. So, it’s getting much more common that a foreign hand is involved in conspiring against Pakistan. DG ISPR should be vocal. Just like Washington keeps on uttering about ISI’s hands in supporting Talibans, so on and so forth — the same way Pakistan should be more vocal and unambiguous while citing the foreign hand.

    Can anyone straighten out the fact how Talibans stole a huge storage of arms and munition from possession of US Army in Afghanistan. The larcenist Talibans are using those stolen arms in Swat. That’s pretty much strange to me how easy it’s for Talibans to dupe US Servicemen.

    I’m not against the operation in Swat – but I’m against it’s maneuvering. If government had to start any operation, they should have pre-planned and pre-managed the issues regarding IDPs. On the other side, often raised political statements against IDPs have exacerbated the situation more.

    Over 3 millions people are dispossessed as yet. Government claimed in three days time the operation will get finished. I don’t think that’s the case. 3 days is just another pseudo political statement. 3 months could be possible – or may be 3 years – who knows? I don’t trust government.

    As long as IDPs remain dispossessed, Pakistani government will have a good exuse of generating funds from UN, US, and other countries on the name of IDP’s in particular – Pakistan in general – and for their (ministers) bank accounts, both in general and particular.

    May Allah bless Pakistan. Aameen

  6. Shah says:

    Every thing would be calmed, every Pakistani would be pleased and there would be peace and rest in every corner of Pakistan, our economy would grow, crimes would be much lesser, employment would be risen and many more development including terrorism would be finished if our government send back all the illegal afghanis those are living here in our homeland since many decades without having any legal documentation.

  7. Aziz Khan says:

    Hello AKhan,

    I will provide you two solid reasons:
    1. We always blame others
    2. Why didn’t Musharraf admit that we had problem in Swat or even FATA. I don’t remember him admitting that we had camps in Pakistan.

    Now, I must disclose that I supported Musharaff 90% of the time and still think he was one of the best leaders we had.

  8. Abdul Mujeeb Khan says:

    There is so much freedom in Pakistan, that you can’t experience anywhere in the world everyone living here like a President or everyone wish to see himself/herself as a President of the country. Pakistan has huge capacity to absorb tens and thousands of people in its land for example several years ago, Pakistan had adopted millions of Afghans and always has a flexible immigration rules for asylum seekers across the world. Pakistan has been progressing in each and every sector and I don’t know why some people are pessimistic for Pakistan.

    Ohh! Nation’s soldiers, my heart beats for you.

  9. Keti Zilgish says:

    Concerning what Tariq Mian, Canada says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 8:30 pm : No guns are licensed in Israel. The entire population is allowed to keep any guns as they want & of any calibre. The people are an armed force. The secret of Israel’s success is in its Kibbutz.

  10. Keti Zilgish says:

    Concerning what Mohsin Khan says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 8:02 pm : I would like to ask Mohsin whether he would like to do some of the garbage collecting that Afghan Refugees are doing in Pakistan for survival?If not, would he like to organize us Pakistanis into people who do not create as much garbage as we do? In my personal view, a world without borders is preferable to one in which only the rich, disguised as traders, can move across borders. The rich can move even matter being traded across borders. If the poor try to move across borders they are considered illegal aliens. Kindly let me know which of the 1,24,000 prophets of God was a rich person, leaving aside all chauvinisms based on gender for the time being.

  11. Syed says:

    The operation had to come earlier. Why did our politicians, Army and the masses give these Taliban the time to bring all the filth?
    These taliban are from amongst us. Rather More importantly this ideology is the one that we used to support. Blood is always thicker than water. But remeber that God is always there.

  12. akhan says:

    Mr.Nadeem ahmed i agree with most of your explanation, except for the part “but the previous Musharraf govt is to blame for this mess” ??? could please provide me with solid reasons behind this theory of yours?

  13. Mustafa says:

    Muhammad Hassan said: “I’m not able to understand that when Pakistan will get rid from American policy and when that time will come that our President dont need to go to US for dictation about our national policies….”

    Brother Hassan, you are not the only person who has no idea what is going on in Pakistan. If people had intelligence to understand the situation in Pakistan, Pakistan will not be in mess as today.

    A question for you. Did America pay money to Talibans to slaughter men, women and children in Pakistan in mosques, schools, homes, market places? Your answer will be blunt “No”. Then which American policy is responsible for the terror work of Ralibans in Pakistan? Also you blame President Zardari to take dictation fron USA. So you think Zardari is fighting Talibans to please America. Your brain tells you that Zardari should leave Talibans to salughter as many human beings as they like, and Zardari should do not order Army to fight the enemies of Pakistan because that would be interpreted as taking orders from America.

    It is so pathetic to see that Pakistan is so advanced in science and technology yet there are so many people who lack intelligence.

  14. Pak_crazy says:

    Nadaem Ahmad, I cant agree more with you.

    I’d also like to add that we are hypocrytes as a population. Balochistan has been neglected for decades – only for our enemies to control that province now – and we cry tears when someone draws a picture of our beloved Prophet PBUH. Dont get me wrong, I was also saddened, but we protested violently for something that doesnt change the truth since we all know our Prophet .. But such things that happen in Pakistan go unnoticed. People for GOD’s sake save your country. There wont be any left soon.

    Terrorists, police, army, Politicians, outisde governments and forces have screwed this country for decades. Pakistan is finished. Really heartbroken I am

  15. Mohsin Khan says:

    I agree with Nadaem, Pakistan should gather up all the Afghanis and send them back to Afghanistan, since these Afghanis came to Pakistan, crime and violence has spiked up like crazy.

    All nations have tight immigration policies and dont even tolerate 20 illegals, every week Pakistanis are deported from different nations, yet we tolerate millions of illegal Afghans, its very stupid and dangerous.

  16. Nadaem Ahmad says:

    I wish and hope that Pakistan deports forcibly all Afghans from Pakistan or at least put them in camps.

    I am surprised MQM and Jeay Sindh, etc have raised noise about putting Pakistani Swatis in camps, but they have not demanded the same be done to Afghans who are behind car jacking, home invasion burglaries, theft, kidnapping, etc etc These Afghans are a security risk as most are aligned with Northern Alliance being Tajik and are venomously anti Pakistan and Pro India.

    Why are we allowing afghans in our cities? No Pakistani is allowed to open a business in Afghanistan, they kill you in Afghanistan if you tell them you are from Pakistan….did you all know this?

    They caught a terrorist in Swat today who admits slitting the throats of 4 policemen and was paid by the Taliban, this guy is from Afghanistan. We Pakistanis are the most stupid people on earth, we fight and get angry for the defense of any Muslim around the world, we give refuge to Afghans, we fight for Kashmiris, yet Arabs mistreat Pakistanis, Afghans hate Pakistanis, Kashmiris dont even want to be with Pakistan and want to be independant. Why are we as a nation so worried about the so called Ummah when our own nation is slipping away from underneath us, please wake up and help save Pakistan, the time has come for all of us to get into action and not sit and wait for help. we need to clean up Pakistan by closing madrassahs preaching hatred, we need to arrest entire families of suicide bombers so future bombers think twice, we need to arrest any mullah or religious preacher who preaches hate, we need to arrest the education minister because of all the govt run schools that are not being run due to corruption and because of which the people send kids to madrassahs, we need to round up all afghanis and other illegals and push them into camps or into Afghanistan, we need to seal our border with Afghanistan, we need to make peace with India and start trade and education exchanges.

    We need to stop being spokespeople for the world and start cleaning up our own nation.

    we need to stop demanding more from our leaders when we ourselves do nothing for our nation.

    we need to salute our soldiers instead of supporting evil hate preachers of red mosque.

    Our media needs to educate people of the importance of destroying this evil Taliban because we have no choice, if we dont finish the Taliban, the world will do it for us, but then everything will be destroyed and none of us will remain untouched.

    Wake up Pakistan, support the Army, and call for the destruction of our enemies who live within us.

  17. Nadaem Ahmad says:

    The operation is on the right track, but the previous Musharraf govt is to blame for this mess, 2 years ago this evil Mullah radio had been threatening a rebellion, the father had been in jail but was released by the Hoti govt hoping to placate the Mullah Sr, but history shows that when you give in to terrorists and gangsters, they only get emboldened.

    This mess should have been nipped in the bud, but this is the time when all Pakistanis and Pakistani polictical parties stand united behind the army against the throat cutters many of whom are just petty criminals, murderers and paid killers from afghanistan and beyond.

    Pakistani people need to support their soldiers, because if you dont support our army and God forbid this action fails, then catastrophe awaits each and every one of you as hundreds of thousands of Afghanis and uzbeks and Arab terrorists will fan out all over Pakistan aided and abetted by their local extremists and then you will all be in hell like the people of Swat.

  18. Faisal says:

    The so called Righteous Mullas (the Taliban) have now resorted to bombing civilians in cities to blackmail the government and army to stop the operations against them. So much for their God touting morals. They are terrorists pure and simple. The operation should continue full speed ahead till this disease called Talibanization is immunized.

  19. Omar Khan says:

    Well this seems like a tricky question … “Is it on a right track?” … the track is simple and should not be doubted at all. Which is to eliminate every single extremist,militant,taliban,Mullahs,Qazis … etc. anywhere in Pakistan.

    The question should be “The Pakistani army … why so slow and late on the track like Pakistan Railways?”

  20. Concur with Afan Khan, the currently visible casualities and collateral damage is much smaller than visioning what taliban plan todo to the whole country. What they are announcing is: vacate Lahore, Multan and Karachi and we wil rule.

    Rise to the occasion nation of Pakistan. If you still want to listent, pseudo intellectuals and pro-taliban journalists, they would confuse you.

  21. Tariq Mian, Canada says:

    Nobody should be tolerated who is bent upon to bring suffering to the innocent children,women and the elderly.
    Pakistan Legislatures at all levels (national, provincial or municipal) should enact laws prohibiting everyone other than the assigned officials to carry guns or any sort of ammunition. And, this should have been done much earlier.
    The combatant militants are to be eliminated fast in order to shorten the ongoing suffering being experienced by the innocent public.
    Therefor, All gun-licences should be cancelled right away.

    The people of Pakistan deserve much better than this.
    Pakistan needs foreign investments in order to experience an economic boom, which is becoming closer after the restoration of conscientious judiciary in Pakistan.
    The anti-social elements or other hidden enemies are about to fade away because their logical end is getting near.

  22. onlinestore says:

    i believe all this is nothing but a game of our politicians, they did the same all time and still doing nothing but filling their lockers by entangling us in this sort of dramas

  23. ahsan razvi says:

    I feel the only thing wrong with this military operation is that it did not start any earlier. It is imperative that we ‘act now’ for the survival of Pakistan. As far as the IDPs are concerned, I would rather like the Government of Pakistan control the movement of population instead of militants dictating the same and i am positive that with the conduct & execution of this operation, this has already begun to happen.What bothers me though is that for most of us, including our political leadership,the seriousness of it all does not cross beyond the pseudo-intellectual drawing room discussions. I think the whole of Pakistan needs a big mug of coffee! or whatever might help us wake up..it is nobody else’s war & we did not just one day accidentally stumbled upon & hit Taliban grounds face down. I bet we have a collective memory shorter than that of a gold fish, if we do at all. We must learn from history & from our bitter experiences of past. We are reasons of our own downfall, threats facing our country are real & our preparations to meet such challenges mere hallucinations & hope for a better future.It is time for us to rise to the occasion, keep up with the progressive nations around the world or be left out & behind in anonymity at best or war at worst.

  24. f riaz, England says:

    God bless pak army…

    I hope sufi of swat is eliminated.

    I wish the pak army had done this before…we dont want these extremists on our pure land..

  25. NASAH says:

    That is give them a real close shave.

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