The discussion on countering militants was earlier framed as either ‘peace talks’ or ‘military operation’. Now that the talks have failed or have gone no where, the discussion has been framed around military operations and their consequences. I think there is a dire need to look at this scenario in a broader, and more realistic, framework. Only attacking the militant bases without a solid policy shift will not bring any change. Baitullah Mahsud was replaced by Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was replaced by Fazlullah. Continued focus on eliminating militant leaders without any thoughtful and sincere policy shift will not get us anywhere. What will bring peace back to our country? An impression has been created by the taliban apologists that the answer is with the taliban and that the talks would reveal the magic steps. The nation looked to them for an answer, but only found continued trickery and violence. The real question is what are WE willing to do to bring back peace. The onus is on us. To start off the discussion I am giving ten strategic points for consideration:
1) Target Military Operations in places where militants are concentrated.
2) Issue official orders (for real) to break the friendly ties between law enforcing agencies (including intelligence agencies) and the militants and authorize them to apprehend the militants in the other parts of the country also, through investigation and inditement.
3) Expedite the inditement and conviction of the militants already captured.
4) A clear policy by our leaders (political, military, religious or bureaucrats) to prevent any one from supporting, quietly protecting, or making backdoor deals with any banned groups of terrorists
5) Change the narrative: separate Islam from militancy. Stop overplaying the sharia smoke screen, stop helping taliban reinforce their fake religious front. (This one especially is for the media)
6) Change the narrative from taliban, jihadis to MILITANTS, so that the attention is not only focused on TTP, but on all the militants in the country.
7) Put those using a religious front or pushing an ideology of hate under the garb of religion on the defensive. Strict action should be taken against all illegitimate militant hideouts in the form of “madrases” and “humanitarian organizations” and anyone who uses fatwa or incites people using Islam.
8) This is OUR WAR and our mess and we have to clean up our house. We can sit together and blame USA or others later, but lets focus on protecting and cleaning our own house right now.
9) Citizens must stick together through this roller coaster regardless of whichever party they support. This is not a time to divide ourselves and play politics. This is a time to focus on reclaiming our country.
10) The national political leadership, and not the ISPR, should give briefings to media and to the nation.