The transformation of people of FATA from Noble Jihadi to terrorists for Pakistan did not take long? FATA was mostly left to its own devices, used and discarded whenever needed.
The utility of FATA and its people for Pakistan state can be traced back to Kashmir jihad of 1948, when the slogan of Islam was used by the state. . Afghanistan jihad of 1979 further sealed FATA status as Jihad producing factory. World capitalists power engaged in their ideological battle with Soviet Union and Pakistan military state played the role of big fat ring leader to the crimes committed in the name of jihad. From providing human fodder to drugs factories, Jihadi madrasa all were produced, operated and executed with the blessing of Pakistan state. Afghan jihad was the seal of authority which stamped FATA and its people as Noble Jihadi for Pakistan. . When the time span of jihad as military option in Afghanistan expired with the disintegration of soviet union , the exalted status of FATA was lost on our state, however it continued to keep FATA under laws introduced by British 1901,basically as a part of Pakistan but isolated politically ,socially and economically . Pakistan military and state continued to patronize, more than 15,000 Arabs, Uzbek and Chechen who were repatriated to and settled in FATA to fight holy war against the Soviets and to be further used for future projects.
The break from romance of Noble jihadi savages to Terrorists came when 9/11 happened. American war against AL Qaeda and its consequences for Pakistan in result of suicide bombing in settled areas and, ultimate operations of Pakistan army. During Afghan War nearly 1,000 or so unregistered madrassas which were established primarily in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), many of which preached jihad against infidels begun to preach the same jihad against its mentor.
.Pakistan Military has launched twelve major operations since 2002 against Taliban, Al-Qaida and minor operations trying to cleanse FATA from terrorists and or give back its exalted status of producing for decades now only the noble jihadi or the good Taliban ( strategic assets ).
One such operation started on December 18 when a suicide bomb attacked an army checkpoint in North Waziristan, a stronghold for al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants on Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan.
“From the first day of the attack until now 70 civilians have been killed,” said a tribal elder in Mir Ali village who declined to be identified for fear of state reprisals. Residents said bodies were left in the open in the villages of Mosaki and Hasukhel as terrified villagers fled the area.
“We are moving our families to keep them safe but the army’s mortars and shells are following us,” said Asad Sher of Mir Ali. “Please tell us where is safe. The army is demolishing our homes and bazaars
More than 70 civilian has lost life in this game between the military and the bad Taliban although our army spokesman has denied the civilian casualty and claimed to have killed terrorists (now) and mostly foreigner like Uzbek and Chechen. The drone supporter will now have enough to talk about and discuss. The liberals of our media has welcome the operation, mostly citing the reasons that Taliban were not ready for peace talks and declaring the civilian casualty of women and children as collateral damage.
While the military has denied that it’s a prelude to a military operation “This is not, and I repeat, not the beginning of a larger military operation in North Waziristan,” said Major General Bajwa of the ISPR.
The military sympathetic journalists with better access to military mind-set has described it breaking of the code by the villagers, citing one article the writer says this is what happens when you break the code. The agreement with [Taliban commander] Gul Bahadur has been standing since 2006. It clearly stipulates upon the locals that either they take care of the foreigners, or we do. That’s why it’s reasonable for army to deploy just one division [with roughly 10,000 men] in an area where there are over 20,000 hardened fighters…because there’s a code.”
The article further citing his source continued: “Our deployment is enough for us to establish a writ. Without a go-ahead from the civilian government for a final mop-up operation, we are in a ‘holding position’: not doing too much and not doing too little. But the foreigners have exploited that agreement. They’ve settled here. And now, they’ve broken the code.
Under the Collective responsibility of FCR (FRONTIER CRIME REGULATIONS), not only those harbouring the terrorists who dared to attack the army contingent but the whole village and area is responsible for the crime committed against the state, so everybody from children to women are responsible and must bear the brunt of army shelling, cobra gunship helicopters and mortars.
The most liberating and humanistic response came from Dharna performing politician of Pakistan Imran khan of PTI , who values anti drones campaign very highly and has a narrative which has convinced half of Pakistan population that is ” Drones produces militants”. Although why drones happens he is not too bothered but he sells it successfully to the urban Pakistan.” Jihadi savage Pukhtun brothers has revolted against Drones”.
In an official statement on Saturday, Imran repeated his condemnation of the attack against the military personnel in NWA which led to the martyrdom of five soldiers.
He said civilians – especially women and children – were already the victims of drone attacks and now a military action was causing more suffering to those, who were not responsible for this war.
Although his humanistic approach never allows him to question the military establishment
“Why are these tribal kept as jihadi or more importantly why is this area kept under political social and economic isolation and deliberately kept militarised?
If military claims that they had to take out foreigner to perform their sting operation then please ask the military why is this area still hosting remnants of Afghan jihad?
And when the jihadi challenged the military might, only than military had to under take an operation against them and in the process punish the whole of population indiscriminately? In plain words Army held the whole civilian population including women and children to take care of jihadi remnant of Afghan War.
If drone kill militants along with local populations than do accept the fact that not only drones but these state gone wrong proxies and Pakistan army is equally responsible for the murder, displacement and misery of the people of FATA. The other mainstream political parties like ANP and PPP has made feeble attempt to call for an inquiry into civilian deaths.While Defa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has termed the attack as US ploy to sabotage the dialogue process and urged the government to end military operation in the tribal areas ,an expected response by crying hoarse over drones, peace dialogue gone wrong by the far right.
The liberals can cheer the operation but it’s not an operation which will bring peace to the rest of Pakistan if the rest of Pakistan include other than Punjab. It might even help in the recruitment drive of the Taliban exploiting the already bruised emotions of the civilian, as we are already seeing video’s and pictures being circulated on social media of civilian deaths and internal displacements . .
The unfortunate reality of the day however is that this indiscriminate killing will be hushed, when the system of corrupt Malik and political agent providing few thousand rupees as compensation will be given to the extremely improvised population for their dead . Once again another story regarding FATA misery which had hit headlines of Pakistan newspaper will die down.
The golden goose called FATA for Pakistan establishment, military, TTP, and other vested interest will continue to play the role which it has been playing since 1948 Kashmir jihad. We will continue to have places in our villages called sheedano danda (our martyrs burial ground). The question is for how long the piecemeal solutions and, the special status of FATA will prevail with urban Pakistan ?
Work Cited .Noreen Naseer , Federally Administered Tribal Areas: Conflict and Militarisation paper read at JNU .