Unlike the dubious politicians of Pakistan, who have strangely condemned killing of Pakistan’s most wanted militant and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in a US drone strike on Friday, the influential newspapers in Pakistan have taken the lead and asked country’s government and military to wipe out the terrorist group.
Islamabad, Nov 3/Nationalturk -Unlike Pakistan’s ‘dubious’ politicians, who are beating chests and claiming that killing of dreaded terrorist and chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakeemullah Mehsud would hit peace talks with the terrorist group, the newspapers in the country have welcomed killing of the “Most Wanted Terrorist” in US drone strike and asked military to wipe out the dreaded militant group. “If peace talks were not derailed by repeated terrorist attacks in country in recent months, why must an attack on TTP leadership necessarily scuttle possibility of talks,” they said.
In its editorial, titled “Good riddance”, Pakistan influential newspaper, Express Tribune stated that death of Hakeemullah Mehsud, a man responsible for killing of thousands of civilians, scores of security personnel and for some of most audacious terrorist attacks in country, should have been a source of relief to us. “Instead, rather bizarrely, we heard widespread condemnation of the drone attack, which killed a reprehensible criminal, and concern that this will derail the peace talks that the government intended to hold with the banned TTP”.
Hakeemullah Mehsud alongwith five of his aides was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Wazirstan tribal agency on Friday.
‘Pakistan politicians cannot wish to stand by men like Hakimullah’
The newspaper further said as would be expected, leaders, including cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan of PTI and Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, have been as critical and termed the drone action a kind of conspiracy. “But what is more surprising is reaction from men such as opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah of the PPP, who has surprisingly also spoken out against the strike and negative impact of this on a talk effort which is now even less likely than before to go ahead. One would have expected greater wisdom from opposition figures such as Shah, and indeed, also the government. Surely they cannot wish to stand by men like Hakimullah, responsible for multiple acts of mass crime and the most vicious oppression of people who lived under the Taliban rule. Their stance then can only amaze.”
‘Peace possible only if Taliban wiped out’
“The government must realise that Pakistan can know peace only if it is able to get rid of Taliban and the mindset they represent. Wishing for their leaders to be kept alive would not seem to go along with this. The fact we must face is that while the drone strikes represent a violation of sovereignty, they have indeed succeeded in taking out key militant figures over the years. The war against terror is, after all, our war. It is 40,000 Pakistani civilians and at least, 3,000 security personnel who have died as a result of this battle. The figures can simply not be ignored,” the editorial further read.
It further stated there is likely to be retaliation after the killing of Hakimullah, just the same as the attacks that came after Baitullah Mehsud was annihilated. “We should expect these — but also accept the fact that terrorism has never actually stopped and continues to come in waves on many occasions, leaving many dead. These actions of merciless murder will not end till the Taliban and all their many factions are wiped out and our soil cleansed of them”.
The editorial further read rather than condemning drones and death of Hakimullah, Pakistan government should surely be thinking of how it can best capitalise on situation and work to strike against the Taliban while they remain in a state of some disorder. “There should be no doubt we need to go after them with full force and by doing so, make our nation a safe place for everyone.”
‘Mehsud was a shrewd terrorist’
Pakistan’s another influential newspaper, The Dawn, while referring to Hakeemullah’s death, wrote in its editorial Hakeemullah Mehsud was a brutal, smart and dangerous enemy of Pakistan. “When his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike in 2009, Hakeemullah had already established himself as the standout in the next tier of the TTP’s leadership. And in his four-plus years at the head of umbrella militancy group that is TTP, Mehsud more than proved he was a formidable opponent in the battlefield, a shrewd terrorist and a political mastermind who could manipulate public and political opinion.”
“The overheated response of Imran Khan and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to TTP chief’s killing must be parsed too. If peace talks were not derailed by repeated militant attacks in recent months, why must an attack on the TTP leadership necessarily scuttle the possibility of talks? Or are the politicians looking for a scapegoat and have pounced on the ultimate outside conspirator they could possibly hope for,” the newspaper questioned.
‘Reaction by politicians confusing’
Pakistan’s another influential newspaper, The Nation, in its editorial, “The End” wrote the reaction to killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud from key political figures of country give the confounding impression that a ‘peace-loving, patriotic Pakistani’ has been killed, and not a terrorist responsible for the murder of government officials, army personnel and thousands of innocent civilians.
“Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan issued a statement accusing US of a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks.’ PTI Chairman Imran Khan took it a step further by urging the federal government to block NATO supplies in retaliation to drone strikes. Other politicians issued similar statements expressing concerns over the serious implications the incident is likely to have on peace talks and the security situation of the country. What peace talks? And what security situation,” the newspaper questioned.
‘Did militants halt their bloody campaign’
It asked Pakistan’s Nawaz government that since the day it offered peace talks to TTP, did the militants, for a single day, halt their bloody campaign against the country? Did they lay down their weapons to give peace a chance? Did a single statement given by Hakimullah Mehsud suggest that he was willing to abandon his ‘mission’ of implementing Sharia by force? “If the answer to even one of the preceding questions is a “yes”, perhaps the statements of the political leadership would be comprehensible. Unfortunately, our brave leaders echo a profound denial of reality and a dangerous obsession to appease manufactured public sentiment”.
Referring to security concerns, the newspaper wrote, “Pakistan is already in a state of war. Just because it can get much worse doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good and peaceful right now. People are being killed every day. No one is safe. Even if an arrangement is miraculously reached as a result of negotiations, it would be nothing more than a temporary lull, until the TTP break their word again. It would be the height of naïveté for Choudhary Nisar to assume that his pure intentions would be reciprocated by the TTP, because this time they are facing him and not someone else across the negotiating table. To learn from history, if that is not too much trouble, it is advisable to recall the Swat episode. Deal reached; stabbed in the back; and ultimately the last resort of a military operation was employed to clean out the area.”
“The drone strike on Hakimullah Mehsud may also indicate that the relationship between Pakistani and American intelligence agencies is on the mend. It is highly likely that the fruitful result was achieved with the involvement of Pakistan’s co-operation in intelligence,” the editorial read adding peace talks with militants were bound to fail.
It further wrote a military operation has long been whispered as the only logical conclusion – whether Choudhary Nisar admits it or not, he knows it has been discussed as the likely end. “The only thing that has changed, is that the drone that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, makes that military operation all the more urgently necessary. If we continue to appease, and pander, and obfusate – as Imran Khan and Choudhary Nisar are clearly in favour of doing – we will be missing a golden opportunity to take decisive action against a group that has killed thousands, and will kill more.”
“Let the formidable military of Pakistan take action and take the fight to them, to those who are gearing up to launch a series of attacks on us. An enemy of the state and its people was killed on Friday. The rest of Hakeemullah’s colleagues must surrender, or meet the same fate,” added the editorial.
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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News