Not a Cake­walk

Amer­ica’s re­lent­less pres­sure for a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in North Waziris­tan has put Pak­istan be­tween a rock and a hard place.

Southasia - - Region - By S.G. Ji­la­nee

Pak­istan Army Chief, Gen­eral Ash­faq Pervez Kayani’s face-to­face with Mike Mullen, Chair­man U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee re­called a sim­i­lar meet­ing of the van­quished and the vic­tor in 1971, be­tween Pak­istan’s Gen. Ni­azi and In­dia’s Gen­eral Arora.

More hu­mil­i­at­ing was the scene where Pak­istan’s pres­i­dent, prime min­is­ter, in­te­rior min­is­ter and army chief sat con­trite like er­rant pupils re­ceiv­ing a dress­ing down. Clin­ton vis­ited only af­ter Kerry and Mullen had ob­tained Pak­istan’s as­sur­ance that it will obey all com­mands with­out de­mur. At a me­dia brief­ing af­ter hold­ing talks with the po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary lead­er­ship, Ms. Clin­ton in­di­cated that Pak­istan would be tak­ing “de­ci­sive steps in the days ahead.”

The U.S. mil­i­tary chief, Ad­mi­ral Mike Mullen, said on a tele­vi­sion net- work af­ter his re­turn from Islamabad that the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment would launch a ma­jor of­fen­sive on mil­i­tants in North Waziris­tan. “It’s a very im­por­tant fight and a very im­por­tant op­er­a­tion.”

But ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, Pak­istani mil­i­tary com­man­ders rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a full-scale South Waziris­tan type op­er­a­tion on the ground that it is ‘un­fea­si­ble’ be­cause of dif­fer­ence in ground re­al­i­ties. The op­er­a­tion when un­der­taken “will be very se­lec­tive and in­tel­li­gence-led.”

The mil­i­tary as­sess­ment is that there are only two to three pock­ets hav­ing ter­ror­ist pres­ence which need to be cleared.

Mean­while, Corps Com­man­der Pe­shawar, LtGen Asif Yasin Ma­lik, who su­per­vises all mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in Khy­ber-Pakhtunkhwa and ad­ja­cent tribal re­gions, told a news con­fer­ence in Mohmand Agency that he would un­der­take an op­er­a­tion in North Waziris­tan at a time of his own choice.

“We will un­der­take such an op­er­a­tion when it is in our na­tional in­ter­est mil­i­tar­ily,” he said, de­scrib­ing North Waziris­tan as “calm and peace­ful as it was weeks ago.”

“I have no such plans as far as I am con­cerned,” he told re­porters.

Will Pak­istan pay heed to Amer­ica’s ‘Do more’ mantra?

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