There are speculations about operation in North Waziristan. If there are negotiations what kind of negotiations going on and on what conditions?. If there would be operation what kind of operation it would be? And what would be the aftermath? These are the burning questions giving birth to speculations, arguments and counter arguments.
Those who are well aware of the term “Waak (a Pashtun traditional term for authority in conflict resolving) are well aware of the situation particularly about negotiations and its results. Armed forces are ready and clear about what to do, having almost four brigades of troops with boots on ground. Militants are ready with their new leadership and strategy.
Masses and the rest of the society are confused having a confused political leadership. There are two major models of operations for military establishment. One was Red Mosque operation and the other was Malakand operation. They have seen how the former went disastrous for them and for the country and how the later one termed as a success story for them and for the country. There was one major difference between the two Red Mosque had no political and popular support. So military is only waiting for green signal by the political leadership which in the presence of right wingers including Imran Khan hesitated with a fear of popular backlash.
So that’s why political government has kept negotiations as a background score to their’s political songs. When it comes to the negotiation table in Pashtun society here comes the issue of “Waak” or authority. In Pashtun society when, there is a conflict between two parties and they want to resolve it through negotiations, they handover their waak or authority to third group or negotiators. Whatever decided, both parties have to accept and obey the decisions. So for this reason “Waakman” or those who supposed to be negotiators have to be influential or powerful to implement the decision of the negotiations. Government has announced committee and negotiations. In this case of resolving conflict between state and it’s opponents TTP, one has to be sure about the influence and power of negotiators over both parties.
Right now where Pak army is under immense pressure for operation, the government supposed to be answerable to the global community for any deal with the militants and militants having power players like Al-Qaeda, IMU, ETIM and dozens more, such waak or authority seems to be only in ideal situation and that too would lead to Malakand like situation where the waakman or provincial government of Awami National Party, Peoples Party and Sufi Mohammad of TNSM played their role as negotiators though had lots of reservations by all quarters cut a deal that later on was violated by Swat militants and that led to Malakand operation.
What if operation would carried in North Waziristan? Whatever the form of operation it would be whether general or surgical it would not be limited to only North Waziristan but will change its course and dynamics and may engulf the whole region. If it would be a Red Mosque sequel it must have impact on the whole country, India, Afghanistan and Central Asia and if properly launched FATA, KP, very few parts of Punjab and Sindh mainly Karachi would be the prime target of TTP but still there would be greater risks of militants floating in the whole region primarily Af-Pak and Syria. March has it’s Ides and much awareness needed.
The writer is Centreline Bureau Chief in Peshawar.