By Daud Khattak, August 25, 2011, AfPak Channel, Foreign Policy
On Aug. 18, Pakistan's most powerful man, Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, secretly flew to Kurram agency in the country's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and declared it free of "miscreants."
No doubt the Pakistani Army did a great job clearing militants from Central Kurram, the focus of the operation, as it did in areas like the Swat Valley. But Kayani's visit and announcement raise the following question: What do "clear" and "miscreants" mean for a Pakistani Army fighting to regain control of the area from a discreet force that can shift, hit, kill, and target anywhere, any place, and any time? And if the area had been successfully cleared, why did Kayani not travel by road, and why did he not meet the open jirgas of tribal elders in that area, as was the tradition when top Pakistani officials visited the tribal belt before 2001?
Indeed, it would have been great fun if Kayani had taken the governor of Khyber-Puktunkhwa province (the federal government figure who is actually in charge of administering the FATA) along with him, traveling by road to the "cleared" area so that the youth of Kurram could welcome them with the beating of drums and traditional dance, attan, instead of welcoming Kayani's visit from afar while begging him to finish the job and lift the siege on Kurram's main city, Parachinar. Only then would the people of Kurram come to believe that their area had truly been secured.
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Silence Of The Liberal Lambs
Mohammad Taqi, Outlook India
Why would a supposedly liberal op-ed writer blatantly paint an aggrieved minority as an aggressive fifth column of a hostile neighbour? And why should such a portrayal encounter sounds of silence instead of being called out as calumny? For complete article, click here
7 die in firing incident in Lower Kurram Agency: Officials - Express Tribune