There were some speculations in the media that generated debate about Pakistan Army undertaking a “joint operation” with the U.S. Army in North Waziristan. But this rumoured news was finally put to rest when Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, firmly declared that Pakistan will deal with the militants in its own territory alone. However, the efforts on Afghanistan-Pakistan border are executed with coordination from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan National Army (ANA) and should not be misconstrued as part of the “joint operations”.
The current ongoing military operation of targeted action “Tight Screw” in North Waziristan is being carried out since the beginning of this year and will continue as decided strategically by Pakistan alone. Hence, there is no new “joint military operation” in North Waziristan to “search and destroy” the Haqqani Network. Spreading of such incorrect news about military operations does look like a deed by a propagandist machine, the exact origins of which are only speculative. It hints and highlights the fact to critics of Pakistan Army that it does not cooperate in “joint ventures” and plays by its own rules.
Already the reliability of Pakistan in dealing with terrorists on its home ground has been put under harsh questions by the Western media and its analysts. Under such casting of doubts to spread news of a “joint military operation” in North Waziristan where Haqqani Network’s safe haven is, seems like a deliberate attempt to exaggerate on it. The context of such rumoured news should also be brought into focus with the silent whispers within the Obama administration that talk about a unilateral action against Pakistan.
Dealing with a frontline state in the War on Terror and an ally with such mistrust has its own reaction from Pakistan’s side. The urge within the U.S. officials to attack places in Pakistan with its own military is incomprehensible when reflected upon along with the fact that Pakistan Army knows how best to target militant sites within the country than anyone else can fathom. Within Pakistan, there is criticism on Pakistan military taking dictation from the U.S. and not working independently as a sovereign nation’s force.
Now that Pakistan Army has taken its own firm stand not to include outsiders into its own territorial jurisdiction, it has once established its image amongst the people as truly their protectors. General Kayani urged the public recently to support their Army in the up-coming military operations because this is the only way to eradicate terrorism from Pakistan. Also, involving the U.S. military inside Pakistan in any kind of an operation would put the government under fire from the opposition and other political factions. Hence, for both political and military unity of Pakistan, it is important that the operations within the North Waziristan be carried out by Pakistan Army alone.
However, the required logistical support and necessary assistance from the ISAF and the U.S. will be an additional helping hand, but again such coordination should not be mistaken for a “joint operation” as clarified by the military official in a press release especially delivered for this reason. There will be more of such back and forth “verbal lashing” and rumoured news in the media which plays within the field of tactics between these two estranged allies.
The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, also recently appreciated General Kayani’s approach by saying that he has touched upon the “right themes” in his speech at the Independence Day of Pakistan on August 14. Along with this military understanding that the U.S. has entrusted Pakistan with, the U.S. Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta’s also expressed the political support from the U.S. The need is to do the right thing, no matter how difficult, and the hope is that both of these governments and their military leadership understand this.