Though there might be people, who will not agree with me, but this is fact that US President Barack Obama has used diplomacy successfully to win this war on terrorism in Pakistan. There are still officials within the administrations of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, who have just deceiving both the US and their own people. According to tribal elders, now Obama must focus on controlling corruption in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It is interest to note that the US money is being used for the promotion of terrorism in tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border. Tribal elders have demanded of the US administration to take direct control of their areas as according to them, Pakistani officials are corrupt. According to them, this is the only way of registering a complete victory against terrorism. Now Pakistani media has also changed its face as now they have started criticising terrorists.
The Punjab government, soon after the high level meeting on law and order chaired by the prime minister, has shown it means business. As it had been warning for some time, it has announced a ban on 23 militant organizations. All of these are groups banned in 2002 under former president Musharraf and which had subsequently started operating under altered names. There are significant omissions. The Jamaat- ud-Dawa of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has been spared, though its funds have been frozen and restrictions placed on Saeed who will not be able to travel overseas. The friendly attitude towards the group may raise some eyebrows. With these measures it appears Punjab has finally accepted that militancy does indeed exist within the province and steps need to be taken to bring it under check. This, on its own, is an important development. But there are many matters that for now remain uncertain. In the past it has proved impossible to effectively enforce the bans on organizations suspected of spreading extremism. What guarantee is there that the revived bans will work? For the moment we have no assurance of this at all and no clarity as to what will be done to prevent groups changing names once more.
A great deal will depend on the consistent resolve and commitment of the Punjab setup. The chief minister was able to convince others attending the security meeting in Islamabad that no operation in southern Punjab was needed for now. He will need to prove this by exhibiting an ability to defeat militancy through other means. The curbs placed on individuals playing a key role within these groups and the checks on bank accounts are, in this respect, significant. However, it is essential to recognize that extremism in our country is no longer carried forward by specific groups that can be easily identified and nailed down. The JuD and other organizations may not be behind direct acts of militancy. It is also a fact that they are engaged in many good works that bring solace to many everywhere. Hindu women in Sindh have recently demonstrated in their favour. But these forces also create an environment in which extremism can take hold. The approach to tackling militancy thus needs to be a complex one, taking in many factors. Eventually, issues such as unemployment need also to be addressed. This is a matter for the Punjab CM to take up with the federal government and persuade it that militancy can disappear only when the vast grievances of people are redressed.