Not a Cakewalk
America’s relentless pressure for a military operation in North Waziristan has put Pakistan between a rock and a hard place.
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?