Monday, May 11, 2009


Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari says Pakistan does not see India as a threat. Great!
But the 1.5 billion dollar a year question is what does General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the all powerful chief of the army staff think.

Does he also think India is not a threat. Will there be a change in the training of future generations of Pakistan army officers at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul. Will the training now change to fighting the Taliban they trained, armed and guided all along. If not, these are mere words meant for a western audience.

Ultimately Asif Ali Zardari does not call the shots in Pakistan. Neither does prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. They may say so. But that is because General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani lets them. Ultimately General Kayani and the army he commands decide who is Pakistan's friend, enemy or `strategic ally' . India or the Taliban.

From being called the terror epicentre of the world to having all the ingredients of an `international migrane' Pakistan is under tremendous pressure to `crack down' on the cancer of terror. Pakistan army has started yet another operations. Actually the third operation against Taliban.

The first two ended as failures because of lack of will to fight a `strategic ally.' The third is under an international microscope. Asif Ali Zardari is in the US looking for that 1.5 billion dollars a year aid. But US president Barack Obama has made it clear there are no blank cheques anymore. So this Operation Black Thunder is Pakistan trying to earn the money. But is Pakistan seriously trying ?

US secretary defence Robert Gates says Pakistan does not have the capability to fight terror. But does Pakistan have the will ? That's the bigger question. Capabilities can be acquired. But the will has to come from within. Officers of the Pakistan army may have trained at the Military Academy in Kakul but they fought shoulder to shoulder with the Taliban militia against the Soviets. They killed and braved bullets together. That bond formed during war. Is the international pressure enough to break that bond ?

If Operation Black Thunder is a face saving operation it is bound to fail, like the earlier two operations. If it is a real operation for the ``survival of Pakistan'' as both the President and the prime minister claim, then more transparency is required. On May 8th Zardari said about 145 `nasties' had been killed. In less than 72 hours his internal security minister Rahman Malik claimed 700 militants had been killed. Where are the bodies ? Is this just propaganda ?

Pakistan can ill afford to let the Taliban get away this time. Cancer cannot be treated with asprin and half hearted military operations are just like asprin. Temporary relief but the disease strikes back with a vengence.

Rahman Malik also said operations should be over soon. That again should have alarm bells ringing in the international security establishment. Anti-terrorist operations are a long drawn affair - they last years and years. And the problem needs to be addressed not just militarily. A three-week-long or a month long operation will not cure the Taliban cancer. This is a wake up call not just for Pakistan but even for the United States.

To get the maximum bang for their buck, the US will have to keep a hawkeye on the Pakistan army and its operations against the Taliban.


  1. hi gaurav remember me ? i am sara's sister. you did a course with her in UK. u need to give pakistan a chance. not every pakistani army officer or isi officer is a taliban or a terrorist.
    perhaps some may have turned rogue but not all. it is a professional army and even pakistan realises this is a do or die war. if the taliban are not suppressed now they will hit back harder as you have pointed out. but don't pl be so skeptical. i know indians are very hurt post 26/11 but the civil society in pakistan, in uk and other places are waking up to the fact if pakistan does not wake up now it will be what u love to say on tv and ur piece - terror epicentre of the world. give pakistan a chance at least.
    warm regards and greetings. look forward to hearing from you sometimes.

  2. I like the heading ..."treating cancer with asprin"...well said keep it up..."ctrl+d" you

  3. AUM
    Hawkeye is frank and fearless. He calls a spade a spade. Pakistan must be cut to size, never mind what old Obama says. Every country pursues an international policy that is an extension of home policy where national interest is paramount.
    Best of luck to HAWKEYE.

  4. Inayat @ May 13, 8:28am, I know you're probably not going to read my reply to your comment, but I would respond to what you have said with a question, i.e. how many chances does India need to give Pakistan after Kargil, the Delhi Parliament attacks, and most recently the Mumbai attack?

  5. @inyat...

    Haven't we give Pakistan enough chances already??
    I mean Kargil war...