North Waziristan has a total area of 4,707 km2 with an estimated Population of 361,246. Pakistan has a total area of 796,095 km2 with a population of around 170,600,000 and United States covers an area of 9,826,657 km2 with an estimated population of 308,745,538. Unites States forces are ranked 3rd in the world with 1,477,896 active personnel. Pakistan maintains the 7th largest army with 617,000 personnel. Ever wondered what is so powerful about North Waziristan with a handful of terrorists making the 3rd and the 7th largest Armies in the world being pushed against the wall?
Our joint Strategy with the Americans is to crush the faith with bullets. Number of steps taken to stop the “Talibanization” and crush the armed militancy in the Tribal regions includes the deployment of unmanned reconnaissance planes, strengthening law-enforcement agencies with advanced equipment, deployment of more troops to the region, operations against militants on fast-track basis, focused operations against militant commanders, action against madrasahs’ preaching militancy, appointment of regional coordinators and the fresh Recruitments of police officers. This strategy to fight with bullets is bound to backfire, for one’s faith is not something physical which can be eliminated with military force, a fact that the political and military strategists have failed to comprehend. Killing the identified targets has its fallouts in terms of collateral damage which results in innocent civilian causalities, thus multiplying the people ready to take on the one’s responsible for the loss of lives of their dear ones.
What is the strategy of the so called “uneducated” militants? Neither do they have resources to match any military engagement nor do they have that many fighters which can take on the world super power working hand in hand with our security forces locked in a love-hate relationship. What we know for sure is that they are targeting the faith through education, a strategy doing wonders for them. The strengthening of religious seminaries coupled with brainwashing the youth to carry out suicide attacks is a valid example of the power they hold. What they have understood well is that the killing of people is an easy job (as done by the forces), triggering ideas is a much more effective and sustainable strategy.
The only way to reverse this tide of extremism lies in building and strengthening infrastructures of education, health and public services in the tribal areas. Once that is achieved, the inherent culture of the area will itself act as a deterrent to any extremist elements. The road to achieving this might be long but is the only viable sustainable option looking at its ultimate gains. Had all the money being spent on military adventures gone into the welfare of the people living in the area, the dynamics of the so called “War on Terrorism” would have been totally different.
The ultimate solution to all this madness lies not in killing people for the only thing which can turnaround this hysterical wave of terror is the mindset change which comes through long term sustainable efforts towards working on minds and not on mindless endeavors. Historically, wars have created more disasters than coming up with solutions. Let’s act before everything is lost forever.