The people may accept it or not, but this is the hard fact that rulers of the world led by US President George W. Bush have still been playing a game on the name of war on terrorism. The most ugly part in this game is being played by rulers of Pakistan as for earning dollars they have been killing their own people. They have made a place in the history for themselves by using jet fighters against their own people.
Now there are indications of more death and destruction in tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border as now both the US and Pakistani rulers have been fighting for winning the right to kill the tribesmen. Though an impression is being given that a war is being fought against terrorists, but so far no terrorist worth-mentioning has been killed in the fighting. Rulers of Pakistan have just hoodwinking the world. Dawn in its editorial discussed the issue of US-Pakistan confrontation.
Who in Pakistan is in charge of the war against terrorism? On Wednesday, COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani issued a statement condemning recent violations of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty by US forces and missiles and vowed to defend Pakistan “at all costs”. Gen Kayani was categorical: “There is no question of any agreement or understanding with the coalition forces whereby they are allowed to conduct operations on our side of the border.” On Thursday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters that Gen Kayani’s statement “reflected the government policy”. Is the country to infer then that the civilians are taking their cue from the military top brass? Why must the army chief enunciate government policy rather than the prime minister — or the president?
Few would have failed to note that Gen Kayani’s statement came a day after President Zardari’s first press conference in which the president was repeatedly pressed on Pakistan’s position on the war against militancy. Two things stand out from that press conference. One, President Zardari chose to make his presidential debut whilst seated next to President Karzai. This was a strange decision as the Afghan president’s harsh and long-running attacks against the Pakistan Army, and particularly the ISI, have made him radioactive in the eyes of the Pakistani establishment. Second, President Zardari refused to take the many opportunities offered during the press conference to categorically condemn US attacks in Fata, particularly the raid by US Special Operations Forces in a village in South Waziristan on Sept 3. Indeed, at one point in the press conference President Zardari renewed his call for setting up an international fund for victims of the war against terrorism. Some will interpret this to mean that his government has accepted that more raids inside Pakistan’s tribal areas were inevitable. Given the jarring difference between the tone of President Zardari on Tuesday and that of Gen Kayani on Wednesday, one is led to question Prime Minister Gilani’s statement on Thursday that there is no disconnect between the civilians and the army.
Moreover, in these dangerous times, a further twist has been added: the Americans are lashing out at Gen Kayani. The New York Times article disclosing that last July President Bush had authorised US strikes inside Pakistan also contained an extraordinary direct allegation against Gen Kayani. Speaking anonymously a “senior American official” told the NYT that it was “difficult to imagine that [Gen Kayani] was not aware” of the plot to bomb the Indian embassy in Kabul in July. Against this American onslaught, the Pakistani leadership — civilian and military — must speak with one voice. What that voice says must be determined by the Pakistani leadership. But what is clear is that it must be a civilian voice.