‘Peace with India will enable Pakistani Army take on Taliban’

Islamabad, April 23 (Inditop) Pakistan must make peace with India so that its army can deploy sufficient numbers of troops against the Taliban, an editorial in a leading English daily said Thursday, while another maintained that the militants were “no longer a threat but a grotesque reality”.

“The army must end its India-driven strategy and try to save Pakistan from becoming the caliphate of Al Qaeda. In fact, Islamabad has to reach an understanding with New Delhi over the matter in order to get the army to mobilise in the numbers required,” Daily Times said.

“However, if this is not done, the people will have to fight the war on their own,” it added, noting that the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) had asked the right question: What if the Taliban come and the army is not there to protect us?

“Swat is the challenge staring us in the face. If we don’t accept it and fight the Taliban, then the world will have to come and fight it the way it thinks fit,” the editorial warned.

According to Dawn, the Taliban “are no longer a threat but a grotesque reality”.

“They already occupy certain sections of Pakistan’s territory where they formulate and enforce their own �laws’ that are neither just nor have anything to do with the country’s system of justice,” the editorial maintained.

The editorials come as the Taliban earlier this week took complete control of the North West Frontier Province’s Buner district, just 100 km from Islamabad. The advance was despite a peace deal the militants had signed Feb 16 with the NWFP government to lay down their arms in return for Sharia laws being imposed in Swat and six other districts of the province.

Also on Thursday, it was reported that “tribal area based” terrorists were planning suicide attacks on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta.

Lamenting that the writ of the government “weakens by the hour, while the terrorists are steadily emboldened”, Dawn said: “Yet the state and its institutions – including the military – have so far shown an appalling lack of commitment or wherewithal to force back the swarm.

“In the face of the Taliban’s growing list of atrocities, the government’s silence has been deafening and the army’s lack of success inexplicably humiliating,” the editorial contended.

Warning that the time “in which to turn back the tide is fast running out”, Dawn said: “It is of vital importance that other political leaders and parties recognise the threat posed by the Taliban and their expansionist agenda.

“A clear line has been drawn and members of both the government and the opposition – and the citizenry – must make clear which side they are on,” the editorial added.

In this context, it noted that the religious right and their political parties are of particular importance.

“They must stop disseminating ill thought-out rhetoric on the virtues of a system that has so far never been defined in terms other than the vaguely ideological.

“The steady indoctrination of the citizenry by the religious right was one of the factors that allowed the Taliban to garner so much power and support in the first place,” the editorial said.

Noting that the Taliban were using the banner of religion “to mask their agenda for control of the country”, Dawn said: “That agenda, and their methods, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and opposed through every means possible.

“Stripped of the guise of religion, the Taliban’s activities are clearly revealed as treasonable and seditious offences,” the editorial contended.