A New Vision for FATA?

Analysis: A new vision for FATA —Rasul Bakhsh Rais
Daily Times, November 11, 2008

Our Federally Administered Tribal Areas are in the grip of ferocious insurgents that mobilise religion, exploit weaknesses of the governing institutions and effectively use terror and intimidation to challenge the writ of the Pakistani state. And then there is motley of dangerous foreign militants rooted in the area through marriage and transnational ideological linkages. To further complicate our political and security problems, some states from inside and outside the regions have started fishing in our troubled zones.

The insurgency is also influenced by political and security dynamics across the border, and is adversely affecting state- and nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. If not entirely in causality, the tribal insurgency has operationally become linked to the anti-terror war. There is a growing sense in the international community involved in rebuilding Afghanistan that militants operating on our side undermine their progress, and that the coalition has the right to pursue them inside Pakistani territory. The message is very clear: do it yourself or we will.

The groups that have taken up arms against the Afghan and Pakistani states have different motivations, interests and varying capabilities. Their threat levels vary greatly from Al Qaeda being the most dangerous, transnational and ideologically motivated to the drug traffickers and ordinary criminals posing as the Taliban. But all of them threaten security and social stability.

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