Causes of the Rebellion in Waziristan

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Khalid Aziz[1]





(Pakistan was denied its rightful share of military and civilian assets when it emerged as an independent state in 1947. The new nation had only a weak and ill-equipped military to protect its interests in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir which had been occupied by India. In the Kashmir war that ensued Pakistan was compelled to send religiously motivated tribesmen from Waziristan along with elements of its army to reverse the Indian aggression. Thus began a tradition of using proxy warriors to promote the country’s proximate security objectives. This was the tactic employed, with US support, to reverse the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Through years of training and indoctrination, these proxy warriors now possess the skill to confront the military as is evident from the violence in Waziristan. In the process the state has been weakened. The only option available to pacify Waziristan and neutralize the Islamists is through promoting political pluralism and economic development. Only then will the youth be dissuaded from joining the ranks of the Taliban. Editor).



This article examines the long and short-term causes leading to the rebellion in Waziristan, resulting in the devastation of parts of Afghanistan as well as crippling state institutions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). It argues that the cause of the rebellion lies in events far back in history and Pakistan’s initial exposure to threats from India and Afghanistan. It turned the mind of the Pakistani establishment towards state protection and security rather than the development of its people. It forced Pakistan to adopt the policy of using proxy warriors, which has come to haunt it in Waziristan. The Afghan policy towards Pakistan also led to Afghanistan’s own destruction.

In order to find a pattern in what is happening in Waziristan, it is important to understand the nature of asymmetrical war, where states fight non-state combatants like the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In Waziristan, we are seeing another low intensity conflict in FATA, where many of the current weapon systems maintained by the military are redundant. The size and weaponry possessed by an army which normally provide a tactical advantage will not be decisive in Waziristan. Creveld (207)[1] predicts that combat in low intensity conflict causes regular forces to degenerate into a police force and if the struggle lasts longer, then into armed gangs. It is unavoidable that in the struggle in Waziristan and Afghanistan, the advantages available to Pakistan, NATO and the U.S through their respective armies are neutralized.

Secondly, as witnessed during December 2006 and January 2007, the Waziristan insurgents have brought the war to the districts of NWFP; policemen have been assassinated in Tank, D.I. Khan, Lakki and Peshawar. Suicide bombers have been used to cripple the morale of the police and the public. Judges have received warnings not to adjudicate identified cases. Society has been asked to comply with strict rules pertaining to shaving of beards, music, TV and VCR; women in districts adjoining Waziristan have been asked to wear the “burqah” or the shroud.  Non-conformists have been made to either comply after being warned, or been killed. It is thus a war of belief and conviction. It has no state boundaries or military targets; the people of contrary beliefs are the object of conversion. It is war with different rules. There are no physical objectives to be over run.

Apparently, the rules governing this war are different and citizens are combatants in this battle of conviction. The Taliban consider the US forces kafir (non-Muslims) who must be removed from Afghanistan through jihad. The Pakistan army and Gen. Musharraf are identified as staunch allies of the US and are to be dealt with under the doctrine of takfir.[2] Within the NWFP and Baluchistan, which border Afghanistan, the governments are controlled by a religious political alliance headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI (F) which has links to armed surrogates. Fazlur Rehman is also the leader of the opposition in the lower house of the federal parliament. Many among the Taliban fighting units have attended JUI madrassas (seminaries) and Fazlur Rehman is said to have influence with them. This ambivalence where, on the one hand, the Pakistan government is fighting the Taliban, yet, on the other, accepts religious alliance governments in NWFP and Baluchistan with close links to the Taliban has puzzled Rubin (16-17, 22, 16),[3] others believe that the Pakistan authorities are responsible for the rising casualties amongst troops in Afghanistan. Grare (1)[4] thinks that Pakistan’s military stage-manages the Taliban threat and demonstrates resistance to derive benefits and prolong the Musharraf government. The U.S, on the other hand, characterizes Pakistan as a strong ally. The presence of religious governments in NWFP and Baluchistan raises eye-brows; these dispensations encourage Islamist programmes which, in turn, foster the creed imposed by the Taliban in Waziristan. Many are further surprised by the military’s use of the JUI (F) for brokering two agreements with the hostile Taliban in South and North Waziristan (ICG: 12).[5]

The NATO Secretary General and General Ekenberry, who was commanding the US forces in Afghanistan, expressed strong misgivings about the existing situation and predicted a bloody spring in Afghanistan and Waziristan. The U.S has formally complained that Pakistan has failed to reign in the Taliban operating from its territory.[6]

The time has come for Pakistan to concede that it does not have adequate security capacity to contain Taliban activity in Waziristan and seal its Afghan border under the existing policy and administrative structures. This is providing both time and space for the creation of another Hamas or Hizbullah in Waziristan and eastern Afghanistan. When that happens, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI (F) and its military wing, the Harkatul Ansar, will be in the forefront (Shahzad 2004).[7]

The present conflict in Waziristan, as noted earlier, is a war of conviction. The side that believes it has won; wins. The state is not the fighter. This is a war of opinion of entire populations. The state is more like a prize and a weapon wielded by this or that population and guided by this or that doctrine. It is a conflict, whose outcome will be decided in a battle of minds and in a battle of collective resolve. It is foremost a battle in the court of pubic opinion (Pai: 2006).[8] The outcome will be what public opinion wants it to be. This is a war of the long haul. There will be no battles for the capture of symbolic citadels or destruction of “enemy” infrastructure as in Yugoslavia. It is only human beings and their convictions that must be won. It is impossible even to identify who the corporeal enemy is in this situation.

Objectives of states in the region

A school of thought believes that the real purpose for the Afghanistan invasion was not only the elimination of Al-Qaeda. This view holds that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were planned not to spread democracy or to make the world safe from terrorist threats, but to control the petroleum resources. They were conceived much before 11 September 2001. A Washington think tank headed by William Kristol, called, “The Project for a New American Century,” is allegedly the source of President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive war to enable the U.S to dominate the oil and gas resources around the world. Afghanistan is strategically located near the Caspian Basin, which contains up to US $ 16 billion worth of oil and gas reserves. It is also in the vicinity of the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets in the world.

The stated U.S national security objective, on the other hand, is to ensure the eradication of all terrorist organizations, which are a threat to peace and trade. Such non-state organizations flourish when countries are isolated and barely surviving. Al-Qaeda has footholds in near failed Muslim states. This is the reason for the U.S wanting to remain in this and the central Asian region for the foreseeable future.

This U.S objective however is being challenged by an equally formidable and battle- hardened opponent, the Taliban. They have used the Islamic rhetoric to organize resistance to the U.S and NATO forces. The tribes of Waziristan have., through history, been closely involved with matters in Afghanistan. They view the U.S presence as a threat to their way of life and as in 1897, are organizing themselves for a fight on jihadist principles. Pakistan is viewed by them as a collaborator with non-Muslim forces and is thus classified an enemy. The Islamist combatants are veterans of civil wars since 1978 and will be hard to defeat in battle, given their mastery of the terrain.

The US wants to change the situation to protect itself and its interests. It has a 30,000 strong military operating in Afghanistan; 22,000 troops are assisting ISAF and NATO while 8000 are under direct US command for special operations. The primary policy goals before the US are; building of Afghan state institutions particularly its army and related security framework for the Afghan people. This, they hope, will lead to the re-creation of a strong and a viable Afghanistan. Secondly, it is the larger U.S war aim to eliminate radical Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan who pose a threat to regional and global peace. The difficulty facing the achievement of these goals is the absence of an effective administrative structure in Afghanistan, which could assist in early pacification. Warlords, drugs and weapons entrap Afghanistan. This must be rectified if state formation is to be fast-tracked.

The objective of the Pakistan military is to secure pacification of Waziristan, so that the Taliban are prevented from assisting the insurgents in Afghanistan. The ground situation suggests that the pendulum is in favour of the tribesmen and they are nowhere near being pacified. They are slowly eroding the stock of administrative and security assets of the military and the police thereby increasingly posing a serious threat to the future of the state.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan lack the institutional capacity to deal with challenges arising in FATA and Afghanistan. The principle cause for this institutional degradation in Pakistan has been the continuous embroilment of the military in civilian spheres and the experimentation with the civilian administrative structures. It has led to militarization of foreign and domestic policy and has eroded civilian capacity to deal with security issues. The gap between the military and the people of Pakistan is widening rapidly.

Secondly, the removal of the assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and commissioners has abolished three tiers of administrators essential for dealing with the insurgency and crime situation in the volatile NWFP districts. It has given the Islamists plenty of space to organize themselves without resistance. It is one of the reasons for their rapid growth and extension of influence; one would like to believe that this happened because of hasty local government reforms without a full comprehension of implications at the ground level. Similarly, there has been a failure to rapidly develop Afghanistan’s governance capacity. Its army has not been re-created to fully undertake operations in eastern Afghanistan even after five years of U.S assistance. If the Taliban face the Afghan army then their rallying cry of jihad against the infidel weakens considerably.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan, though for different reasons, have decaying state structures confronting a resurgent radicalized Islamist movement in FATA and in the eastern Pukhtun provinces of Afghanistan. The ranks of the Islamists have grown considerably because of Pakistan government’s failure to provide jobs and develop FATA socially and politically; FATA has been put into a time lock of the imperial past. The only difference is that Pakistani officialdom has replaced the imperial British political agent. Furthermore, the Islamists in FATA have been strengthened by support from jihadi-sympathetic organizations, both nationally and internationally, as well as the addition to their ranks from  jihadi elements from the repressive Central Asian States, and now also from Iraq.

Impact of partition on Pakistan

The serious problems confronting Pakistan in Waziristan have their origin in events in the early years of its brief history as an independent state. The threats to the country’s survival in its formative years induced it to adopt policies to promote national cohesion mainly through evoking Islam and jihad. In the absence of a broad-based movement like the one developed by the Congress party in India, the organizing principle of religion was used in Pakistan and the state was constructed accordingly in the years that followed. Unfortunately, mid-course corrections could not be made, since powerful elements in the military and the religious right had occupied the space and would not permit a revision. In the process of its political evolution, Pakistan was to serve the strategic interests of the west. (Jalal: 121).[9]

Pakistan was born in an atmosphere of Indian ill-will. Both Kriplani, the President of the Indian Congress and Patel, a senior Congress leader, proclaimed angrily that sooner than later, Pakistan will be part of India again (Burke: 9).[10] Not only was Pakistan beset with the burden to resettle 8.3 million refugees, who had come from India, it did not have the institutional or administrative infrastructure to cope with such a large human catastrophe. Tragically, it was also not permitted to have the financial and security capacity to meet its obligations. This capacity should have been provided by Britain as the implementer of the Partition of India.

Britain’s inactivity in the face of this tragedy cannot be explained. While Pakistan was still in its birth pangs, Britain did India a favour by agreeing to the wishes of the Indian cabinet on a matter of vital security interest to Pakistan. The responsibility for dividing the assets of a united India, including equipment of the Indian army, was agreed under the instruments of the Partition Plan, to be the responsibility of the joint Commander-in-Chief of the armies of India and Pakistan, and for this purpose Gen. Claude Auchinleck was selected. His command was to last until 1 April 1948. However, on the request of Baldev Singh, the Indian defence minister, Britain, without Pakistan’s agreement, unilaterally dissolved Auchinleck’s command on 30 November 1947. Auchinleck, while departing, correctly predicted that Pakistan would not receive its rightful share of defence assets (11).[11]

By removing Auchinleck, Britain provided New Delhi with additional territorial gain in Kashmir. It had previously allowed India to use its army to occupy Junagadh and Hyderabad. Some British historians tried to justify this blatant partiality through the unconvincing argument that this was primarily aimed to avoid a situation where the two dominions could end up fighting each other under the same Commander-in-Chief. Whatever its reasons, Britain sowed the seeds of many of the problems experienced by Pakistan today including the proclivity of its army to fight proxy war through jihadi groups.

In 1947, India tried frantically to secure the accession of Kashmir and the ensuing war   forced Pakistan to protect its vital interest since Britain was not neutral as was evident from the movement of the British-commanded Indian army into Hyderabad on 13 September and Junagadh on 19 September 1947. It may be recalled that Auchinleck relinquished his office as Commander-in-Chief on 30 November 1947 and obviously knew about the preparations of the   Indian army to move into Kashmir which occurred in the last week of October 1947.

Pakistan, which was denied justice and threatened by Indian expansionism, took the only step it could. In the absence of weapons and in possession of a weak army, it organized armed tribesmen and launched them into Kashmir. Official resources and army officers were provided to lead the tribesmen from Waziristan into Kashmir; the NWFP’s Chief Minister, Qayyum Khan, organised the dispatch of the tribal warring parties from his office in Peshawar. (Khattak: 60).[12] Whether or not Pakistan was justified in doing so, is not at issue; Indian hostility with tacit British complicity, forced Pakistan into de-institutionalized behaviour, which its army perfected to excellence for the furtherance of its defence strategy in the years to come. Pakistan relied on a jihadist intervention model in 1947 in Kashmir and later this was used again in the 1960s for the ill-conceived operation Gibraltar in Kashmir (Gauhar: 209-215).[13] It led to the 1965 war with India. As if that war was not lesson enough, it pursued the jihadist approach during the mujahideen war in Afghanistan from 1978-2001 as well as Kashmir in 1998-99 in Kargil.

Indian threats and intransigence traumatized Pakistan. When, in 1950 and 1951, India repeatedly massed its troops on the borders in West and East Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister, was so stressed that he told Ayub Khan, the army chief, that he would accept India’s challenge and fight it out once and for all. Ayub Khan pleaded with him not to do so since he had only thirteen tanks with fifty hours of total engine life to defend against an attack. (Burke: 61).[14]

In order to fill this capacity gap, Pakistan pleaded for western defence assistance. At the same time the Pakistan army’s British officers were designing the force as the West’s policeman in this region. We thus see a crippled Pakistan made dependent on assistance outside its own budget. Obtaining outside help forced Pakistan into a rentier mould as early as 1949, when Maj. Gen Tottenham, the Pakistani divisional commander in Quetta, received orders from the Pakistani army commander, Gen Gracy, to be prepared to move troops for controlling the Anglo-Iranian oil fields in Iran in case of nationalization (Jalal: 122).[15] There was even a war game called “Exercise Stalin” undertaken in 1949 to fight an imaginary war against the USSR. The Pakistani military and political leadership did not demur.

Pakistan was thus forced to become a security state due to threats from India. Added to this was Afghanistan’s early hostility which came into the open when, on 30 September 1947, it voted against Pakistan’s entry into the UN. In November 1947, Sardar Najibullah Khan visited Pakistan as a special envoy of King Zahir Shah. He made three demands: FATA & NWFP should be constituted into a sovereign state, Pakistan must provide Afghanistan access to the sea by giving it either a special corridor through western Baluchistan or creating a free Afghan zone in Karachi and, Afghanistan and Pakistan should sign a treaty that, in case of war, each would remain neutral and not attack the other (Burke: 74).[16]

Matters between Afghanistan and Pakistan worsened when the former raised fighting groups and, with Indian help, created “Pakhtunistans” in various parts of FATA. A religious leader from Waziristan, the Fakir of Ipi, became the President of the southern Pakhtunistan assembly in 1960.The same year, Afghan forces entered Pakistan in the Bajaur agency and fighting took place. Afghanistan also diverted its trade route from Pakistan to the Soviet Union, with whom it signed a trade and transit agreement in 1950. Earlier in 1954, the Soviets gave Kabul a loan of US $ 18 million. Acrimony with Pakistan led Afghanistan into the clutches of the USSR when, in 1978, it invaded to protect the socialist revolution of the Afghan communist party.

When these threats arose, Pakistan lacked security, friends and finances to meet the challenges of survival. To tackle these serious deficits, it became focused on state survival rather than the betterment of its people. Secondly, it introduced religion into statecraft for dealing with internal and external threats. For instance, to defeat the ethnic pressure from Afghanistan for the creation of a Pathan state incorporating the Pashtuns of NWFP, FATA and Baluchistan, Pakistan supported the concept of global Islam contained in the idea of an Ummah (all Muslims irrespective of national boundaries), followed by Islamist parties in Pakistan. Simultaneously, the hostility of both India and Afghanistan, led to the creation of a jihadi infrastructure as an extension of the official policy of Pakistan for confronting the challenges; it compromised state institutions, led to the Islamization of society and, finally, encouraged the birth of the Waziristan Taliban, who are a threat to Pakistan.

The word Taliban needs definition. The Waziristan Taliban are different from the Afghan Taliban. The former are sympathetic towards the Afghan Taliban but their objectives are largely confined to Waziristan. Some groups of Waziristan fighters may participate in jihad in Afghanistan, but they are not the same as the Afghan Taliban which is a political movement associated with Mullah Umar. Secondly, Waziristan Taliban is a term, which has been applied without precision. Groups like that of Baitullah Mahsud are Islamists with links to Al-Qaeda and the freedom movements of Uzbekistan.

It is ironic that Afghanistan’s hostility towards Pakistan led it to its own destruction through the long civil wars of 1978-2000; it is still crippled, and barely surviving, and that too, only with   U.S assistance. Pakistan has also burnt its fingers by playing with the jihadist fire to fulfil its objectives in Kashmir and Afghanistan. In following this policy, Pakistan began sliding rapidly into institutional decay and state failure. This has gathered momentum after the war in Waziristan and has brought the influence of Islamists to all the southern districts of the NWFP.

Pakistan’s former protégé, the Taliban of Afghanistan, disintegrated in the 2001 U.S attack. They dispersed and, after considerable assistance from international Islamist movements, have re-emerged in south-eastern Afghanistan, with a large support base in the Pakistani tribal area, NWFP, Baluchistan and Karachi. The Waziristan Taliban are now fighting against the Pakistani and the U.S forces. The Taliban are a serious embarrassment for Pakistan. The latter used Islamic rhetoric for state building, but now the same rhetoric is being used by the Taliban against Pakistan. Ill-judged state policy, based on expediency, has, therefore, led to unintended consequences.

It was discussed earlier that Pakistan had become a rentier state. What is this concept? A rentier state depends on funds provided by other countries for achieving the latter’s objectives. Such a state may also be based on earnings derived from the sale of natural resources that do not need the labour of its people. Most of the well-functioning states have strong direct taxation systems, which generate resources for carrying out the multitudinous functions of a state. A country which is dependent upon taxes paid by its people is strong and co-opts the citizen in its functioning through a process of democratic consultation. Such nations are normally peaceful with the prevalence of the rule of law, respect for human rights and gender equality. In the case of Pakistan, a large part of its income is earned through pricing mechanisms or, indirect taxes or, transfers by foreign countries. Pakistan also earns money from the exploitation of resources like oil, gas and hydropower.

A substantial amount of money is earned by Pakistan by obtaining funds under military agreements with foreign countries, for which Pakistan, in return, provides security related services. Over a period, state institutions like the parliament, the judiciary and the constitution become irrelevant since the military not does depend for support on representative   institutions. It has been calculated that since 9/11, Pakistan’s GDP growth due to direct U.S financial transfers because of military service provided by Pakistan has amounted to about 2 percent of the country’s total GDP in a year since 2002 (Saleem: 4).[17] Afghanistan too has remained a rentier state par excellence throughout its history. It has been argued that Afghanistan cannot exist unless it has rentier arrangements with benefactors (Rubin: 64-65).[18] It is ironic that both Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are facing a Taliban revolt, are both rentier states. Is there a message contained in this similarity?

It is the Pakistan military’s intent to be pro-western because the West has provided funds for its functioning. With this support, the military does not have a need to associate the parliament since it is financially independent. This has made it autonomous in its decisions. It is argued that the reason the military has achieved this supremacy is not because of superior skills but due to foreign support; that is the reason why power has shifted away from the political leadership (Jalal: 124).[19] If the state does not have autonomy and has an abridged sovereignty in parts of the country, for instance, Waziristan, it cannot bring into play the advantages accruing to a sole decider of policy, because the superior partner will always override it depending on its own compulsions. It also gives an inkling into the real problem of administering Waziristan. The tribal administration, in turn, is facing a similar situation of disempowerment. It has been dominated by the military since 2002. After the army moved in it make negotiations with the tribes difficult since the political agent had been sidelined.

The coalition forces are waging operations in Afghanistan; on occasions when some of the Pakistani hostiles assist the Afghan rebels, the coalition forces have retaliated with missile attacks inside Waziristan; Pakistan, being a rentier state, is unable to condemn such attacks. The tribes of Waziristan have come to realize that the Pakistan military does not have autonomy of decision making. This makes meaningful talks with it or the political agent futile. That is the main reason that the peace agreements signed by the government lack credibility. On the other hand, a state which always relies on coercion for problem-solution on the behest of others, invites radicalization of the people and slowly leads them to the path of rebellion and finally revolution. Rentier states encourage violent state behaviour which, in turn, invites reactions based on jihad or the suicide bomber.

As noted earlier, Pakistan’s post-1947 security and political developments were heavily influenced by deficit in its military capacity. The military began to build its capacity by selling Pakistan’s strategic location to global players. The military’s distance from the citizen and parliament permitted it to dictate security and foreign policy. Pakistan began using the military for foreign policy formulation relating to Afghanistan and India; today the ISI leads policy creation for India and Afghanistan, and the Foreign Office is relegated to the background. This creates de-institutionalized behaviour and a conflict of interest since an implementer becomes policy creator.

Influence of religion in Waziristan

There are allegations that Gen. Musharraf and the military are complicit in the revival of the Islamists by secretly giving them official patronage and sponsoring jihadist groups including the Taliban in Waziristan. Senior U.S military planners and intelligence agency heads have spoken how the Taliban of Waziristan, while operating under the very nose of the Pakistan army, are able to launch operations against U.S forces in Afghanistan, (ISI: 5).[20]Pakistan has denied these allegations and says that it is doing all it can to prevent them from attacking the U.S troops.

After more than three-and-a-half years of fighting in Waziristan, Islamabad felt that military pacification was not possible. It, therefore, allowed the signing of the North Waziristan accord on 5 September 2006 with the tribes. Since then there have been persistent reports of increase in Taliban attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan near the border with Waziristan and this has caused serious concern among U.S commanders. They have criticized the agreement as, according to them, it compromises the war effort. The media has quoted U.S commanders as saying that attacks against coalition troops had more than tripled in the Afghan districts of Khost and Paktia which border Waziristan (Cloud: 1).[21]

The charges against Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, and the consequent allegations of military support to them, arise out of the circumstances of Pakistan’s early history and its reliance on Islamic rhetoric for dealing with Pakhtun irredentism. Islamization of the state and the jihad against the Soviet Union have radicalized Waziristan.

Pakistan did not have any worthwhile security structure in 1947 to defend its interests against India in Kashmir. This led to reliance on proxy warriors, mainly from Waziristan, who fought in Kashmir under the command of Pakistan army officers. One of the consequences of this early experience was a weakening of the military institution and indulgence in the grey region of intelligence operations. Since then, Pakistan has relied heavily on proxy warriors. The 1965 war with India began with a Pakistani Special Forces-led operation in Kashmir. The point to note here is that, as time passed, the links between the military and the proxy warriors increased. The military began more active proxy penetration into Kashmir and Afghanistan after the start of jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation of that county.

If a watershed has to be determined when Pakistani proxy operations mushroomed, then one must conclude that it occurred during the military rule of Ziaul Haq. When President Reagan took the lead in fighting the Soviets, through well-supplied proxy warriors of Islam in Afghanistan, the seeds were unwittingly sown for the rapid growth of Islamist warriors worldwide. The birth of Al-Qaeda and subsequently the Taliban, 9/11, terrorist bombings and increase of radicalism can be attributed to this single decision.

The war in Afghanistan during 1978-1992 drastically changed the way of managing the Pakistani state. Gen Ziaul Haq did not have a political base, therefore, to gather support for remaining in power he aligned himself and the military with Islamist groups. The Jamaat-i-Islami, which had links with the international Islamic movement, became a potent force in his government. In the NWFP, similar support was obtained from the JUI of Maulana Mufti Mehmud which, after his death, split into two. His son’s faction under Maulana Fazlur Rehman came to be known as the JUI (F) and the other faction was the JUI (S) of Maulana Samiul Haq of Akora Khattak. The latter specialized in providing madrassa education. Most of the 3.5 million Afghan refugees who came to NWFP sent their youth to seminaries run by the JUI (S) .

A similar role was performed by the Jamia Banuri, a society of Islamic madrassas in Karachi and parts of Baluchistan. The 2 million Afghan refugees settled in Baluchistan or Karachi were influenced by the Binori variant of madrassa education. Thus, almost all the children born in camps or in the villages and cities, especially in NWFP, tribal areas, Karachi or Baluchistan were provided grounding in Islamic education of the Deobandi School.

While the jihad against the Soviet Union was going on, there was rapid radicalization of Muslim communities around the world because of exploitation. Muslims from the Pacific to the Atlantic came to join the war. Others contributed money through Islamic charity organizations to the cause. Thus there was no dearth of people trained in the art of guerrilla war and also the principles of radical Islam. International Islamic charity gave financial strength to Islamists in Pakistan. It created a financial base both for the Jamat-i-Islami and the JUI. A considerable amount of funds meant for the Afghan war ended in the coffers of the Islamists. They accumulated large properties in Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Karachi.[22]

The JUI sponsored madrassas were provided funds to teach young Afghan refugees but this also enabled a considerable number of Pakistani households to send their wards to these institutions. On a parallel track, the world was undergoing changes brought by globalization and miniaturization. The Internet provided an instrument for advocacy, training and mobilization on Islamic basis. Miniaturization of technologies made it possible to confront the organized military through asymmetric techniques.

The Washington Consensus was a model framework for creating wealth in the fast changing world of globalized economics. It was based on trade, free markets and a small public sector. This reduced government spending and subsidies for education thereby drastically increasing poverty. Families in the rural areas could not afford education for their children. Many households, living on or below the poverty line, sent their children to madrassas. Some Islamists offered an incentive; if a family provided a son for jihad, not only would all the other siblings receive free education, but the family would also be granted a subsistence allowance. The state was unable to meet this challenge. There was diminishing investment in public education because funds were absorbed by defence and elitist expenditures. Failure to provide quality public education further fragmented Pakistani society. Thus the rich attend private schools, the poor go to deteriorating government institutions, while the poorest attend the madrassas.

While international attention was focused on the Afghanistan war, Pakistani society, like many others, was being re-created with a specific Islamic identity. This was built within a historic framework, which regarded the woes of Muslims a bye-product of western imperialism. It was a world that appropriated the oil resources of Islamic countries, while imposing dictatorial regimes on an impoverished people. In this scheme, U.S assistance went more to the militaries and kept unrepresentative regimes in power rather than helping civil society. In contrast, Islamic NGO’s put people first and provided services in health and education. This earned the Islamists political space.

What was happening to Islam globally was also affecting Waziristan in the same manner but to a larger degree. The tribal areas, more than the districts of NWFP, have remained extremely backward. Today, the literacy level is below 20 percent. In Waziristan it is not above 10-12 percent. For more than 80 percent of the boys, education at the primary and the secondary levels is provided by the madrassas. There is one hospital bed for approximately 6000 people. There is no industry or agriculture to speak of. Superimpose extreme isolation on the prevalent poverty and the cause of the region’s violent rebellion becomes obvious. The state has only a coercive, not benevolent, link with the population. The image of Islamic charities and social workers is the opposite.

One other ingredient deserving mention is that 90 percent of the madrassas in North and South Waziristan are under the control of the JUI (F) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and this means that they are run by scholars of the Deobandi school of thought. The latter emerged as a progressive Islamic movement during the early 19th century in colonial India. Their aim was to reform and unite the Muslims of British India through education. The Deobandis emphasised focus on Sharia as a method of harmonizing classical Quranic teachings with current realities (Rashid: 88).[23] The JUI was purely a religious movement aimed at mobilizing the Muslim community till 1962 when it was formed into a political party in Pakistan. (89)[24]

The Pakistan military, owing to Gen Ziaul Haq’s reliance on Islamists, routed the Afghan jihad funds through the Jamaat-e-Islami and not the JUI. The latter, however, continued to grow because of charity from international sources. It concentrated on providing country-wide madrassa education especially to the refugees and also to the tribes of Waziristan. The seeds of  JUI (F) and JUI (S) links with Taliban were sown at this time. The Jamaat-i-Islami, on the other hand, developed close ties with Gulbadin Hikmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami. Although Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had created a nine party alliance to run the anti-  Soviet jihad, its favourite was the Hizb of Hekmatyar which received a major portion of weapons and funds obtained from the CIA. It was believed that Hikmatyar would be the future post-Soviet Afghan leader. This, in turn, would neutralize previous Afghan irredentist claims in the tribal areas, NWFP and parts of Baluchistan.

Once the U.S decided to launch a jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, it handed the task over to the ISI. The latter thought it a God-given opportunity to install a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Pakistan made a major judgmental error, when it decided not to partner traditional mullahs leading the jihad such as Nabi Muhammadi of the Harqat-e-Inqalabi Islam or Younis Khalis who led a breakaway faction of the Hazb-e-Islami. Both were educated at the Haqqania Madrassa of Maulana Samiul Haq at Akora Khattak. By partnering the traditionalists, Pakistan would have transacted in the Pukhtun rhetoric: first a Pukhtun and then a Muslim. The thinking within the ISI was to avoid the Pukhtun nationalist who, it feared, would combine into a powerful ethno-nationalist force threatening Pakistan. Instead, Islamists such as Hikmatyar or Ahmad Shah Mahsud were chosen. The later was dropped in favour of Hikmatyar. This decision may have harmed Pakistan and the world permanently. It was a costly lapse of judgment.

Thus we had a situation of jihad in Afghanistan in 1979 where the Afghan Islamists, due to the Jamaat-i-Islami factor, looked at the Egyptian Akhwanul Muslimeen or Islamic Brotherhood for leadership. Their beliefs were anti-Pukhtun, anti-nationalist, anti-feudal, anti-traditional Pukhtun leadership and pro-Pan-Islamic. This was an institutionalized system concentrating on creating Islamic universalism like communism or Catholicism.

Fundamental to the Afghan Islamists is their hatred of the neo-colonial elite. In substantial measure their violence in Afghanistan, subsequently borrowed by the Taliban of Waziristan, is motivated by this mindset. Islamism is a reaction to the western model of development. It wants state power to enact an ideologically defined programme (Rubin: 86).[25] To Islamists it is obligatory for Muslims to wage jihad against governments promoting western models or supporting the West. To them, Muslims living in such non-Islamic states are apostates; a belief known as “takfir” which is borrowed from the early Islamic group, the Kharijites (87).[26] The Taliban in Waziristan rely on this doctrine and consider it lawful to wage war against fellow Muslims, since they are apostates by not waging jihad against a government (Pakistan) for supporting the coalition of non-Muslims.

An element that needs to be factored for understanding the Taliban rebellion in Waziristan is the influence of Wahabism. Saudi Arabia introduced Wahabi influence into Afghanistan, when it organised a pro-Wahabi Mujahideen group under the leadership of Abdur Rasul Sayaf. His Itehad-e-Islam was one of the jihadi outfits against the Soviets. Wahabism is a conservative, literalist interpretation of Islam and is closely aligned with the Saudi Royal family. Although Saudi Arabia is conservative at home, it uses its charity and exports its firebrands internationally to Muslim trouble spots. Thus the Saudis provided the Taliban funds, vehicles and fuel for their attack on Kabul (Rashid: 201).[27] However, due to lack of governmental discipline and the making of policy by regional cabals, by the time Taliban rule ended in 2001, they had annoyed the Saudis, Iranians and the Pakistanis.

As early as 1995, pro-Taliban parties had sprung up in NWFP (194),[28] and tribal areas due to radicalization by the Afghan Taliban. The working of the Taliban was hidden from public view but they were known to be completely de-institutionalized and worked in secret regional cabals. There were no formal institutions, as in the Iranian model, and one never knew who made the decisions. But by their simplicity they had set a model, which is now followed in Waziristan and NWFP.

The Taliban of Waziristan are composed of radicalized tribesmen mobilized by the jihad rhetoric emanating from the invasion of Afghanistan by the coalition forces. They are the product of a tradition of resistance, which began in the 1860s and lasted till 1947 when the British departed from the sub-continent. After 1947, began another phase in the relationship of Waziristan with Pakistan in which the state used tribal warriors to fill a capacity gap. During the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the people of Waziristan were introduced to radical doctrines by the committed fighters in their midst. This developed further during the Taliban rule. By then the Taliban example had captured the imagination of the people who emulated it. Many of the Waziristan tribesmen participated in the Afghan jihad against Soviet occupation and later joined the Taliban in their civil war.

After the disintegration of the Taliban in 2001, the people in Waziristan say they are fighting a jihad against the U.S and Gen. Musharraf. It is ironic that instead of buying security for Pakistan, the ISI-driven strategy of jihad through Islamists has misfired. It has neither doused the fire of sub-nationalism nor brought security. Instead, the tribal structures in Waziristan and Afghanistan have been seriously damaged.  Warlords like Baitullah Mahsud in South Waziristan, Sadiq Noor in North Waziristan, the Iraqi Arab, Abu Kasha, in Mirali or Najimuddin Uzbek have more raw power than the traditional structure in FATA. The ISI strategy atomized power into the hands of gangs. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has influence because a great number of the Waziristan Taliban have been educated in JUI madrassas. His claim that he holds the key to peace in the tribal areas, NWFP and Baluchistan is, therefore, justified (Naqvi: 4).[29]

Whilst the institutional structure in Waziristan has collapsed, the situation in the areas of NWFP is deteriorating rapidly. Taliban pockets have appeared in the southern districts of Tank and Bannu. Check posts from Tank to Jandola have been abandoned since the police are out-gunned and cannot face the Waziristan Taliban onslaught. The Indus highway connecting Karachi with Peshawar is no longer safe. A convoy of ten trailers was recently hijacked and vanished. Suicide bombers have struck Peshawar, killing the head of city police along with fourteen other senior police officers in January 2007. It is suspected that the suicide attacks emanated from Waziristan. The policy begun by Ziaul Haq in 1978, and followed by the security services subsequently, led to the destruction of Afghanistan and has brought Pakistan itself very near an implosion or a Taliban-style revolution (Rashid: 210).[30] It is time for the Pakistan authorities to wake up. Waziristan has to be segregated from Afghanistan as a first step towards a viable solution. Secondly, it must be realized that the rebellion in Waziristan is driven by the same impulse that motivated the tribes in 1897. They fear that if they do not fight, their identity will be lost when the state begins to control them by force.

In a strategic review after the 3rd Afghan War in 1878, Britain felt that to avert a Russian invasion of India there were two options. Defensive positions could be established either in the plains east of the Indus or of Afghanistan. It was accordingly decided that British forces would confront a Russian advance inside Afghanistan. It, therefore, moved forces into Waziristan, Kurram, Chitral and the Black Mountains region of Hazara.  This led, in 1897, to a revolt throughout the Pathan belt of FATA, NWFP and parts of Baluchistan. The fear then also was that the tribes would lose their identity.

Similarly, today, the whole tribal area and NWFP, despite different levels of development, have a common perception that their way of life is under threat. This threat, they feel, is to their religion, to Pashtunwali or the Pathan way of life and thus to their identity. It has become obvious that neither the Coalition forces in Afghanistan nor the military in Pakistan have the capacity to make a meaningful difference to the unfolding of events as they occur. Resistance under the existing circumstances will increase and Pakistan will lose control over Waziristan and the southern districts in the D.I. Khan region.

The Coalition has frequently said that Pakistan is not doing enough; another allegation against Pakistan is that somehow the military itself is involved and supports the Taliban and has used Islamic organizations for its own ends and, actually, there is no danger from an Islamic peril to Pakistan (Grare: 1).[31] One agrees that no Islamic organization in Pakistan has the capacity to challenge the military at the moment. This, however, is not always true. In the fighting in Waziristan, the Taliban have often confronted the military and inflicted heavy casualties. So Grare’s argument is not wholly realistic. There is a degree of peril.

It is also likely that as the situation worsens in Afghanistan; the U.S will use air power to neutralize the hostiles in Waziristan. This will lead to retaliation against the NWFP, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi thereby further compounding the difficulties confronting the Pakistan government.

It is time for Pakistan to acknowledge that it does not have the capacity to extinguish the fire that was ignited when it first adopted the policy of using proxy warriors. After acquiring nuclear capability, Islamabad should have developed the institutional capacity of the foreign office and other civilian authorities to deal with international affairs. It should have discontinued using jihadis as an extension of official policy. The time has come for Pakistan to evolve a strategy that will address the causes of the rebellion in Waziristan.

In the final analysis, a good leader is one who uses policy instruments with fine judgment and in proper measure. The one-size-fit all-approach unfailingly leads to errors of judgment, which Sophocles termed as the cause of the greatest tragedies.

The JUI (F) connection in Waziristan

Past decisions often come back to haunt policy makers. The consequences of the connection between Pakistan, the US and JUI (F) during the Afghan jihad against the USSR and, later, between the Pakistani intelligence and JUI (F) in support of the Taliban administration in Afghanistan today pose a grave challenge to national security.

The Taliban, it has been said, are not a Pakistani creation. It is recorded that they arose as a result of a spontaneous uprising against the immoral and tyrannical conduct of Afghan Mujahideen and warlords. In 1992 and 1994, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran tried to convince the Mujahideen to form a unity government. However, the attempts failed because the Afghans would not unite (Sattar: 180-186).[32] Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Abdul Sattar, also said that by 1998 the Taliban had captured most of Afghanistan but the states including U.S had lost influence with it by having previously washed their hands off Afghanistan. This left only Pakistan to cope with the Taliban. He further added that Pakistan lacked the power and resources to force the Taliban in Afghanistan to rectify their fatal policies (186).[33]

However, during prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s second term, her interior minister, Gen. Babar, was master-minding the creation of a broad-based government in Afghanistan after the Taliban had emerged as a force. Gen. Babar had obtained the commitment of the Taliban and Gen. Dostum of the Afghan Northern Alliance to establish a political commission to administer Afghanistan. It was to have representatives from all provinces of Afghanistan based on population. The idea of managing Afghanistan by a political commission was not supported by the ISI. However, Benazir overruled ISI objections.

President Farooq Leghari held an Afghanisan-related meeting, attended by Benazir, the army Chief, ISI and Gen. Babar, on 3 November 1996. It was decided that Gen. Babar would leave for Kabul on the 5th and assist in the formation of a broad-based commission since the Afghan leaders had requested his intermediation. However, before Gen Babar could leave, the President removed Benazir’s government. Had the visit materialized, the establishment of a broad-based dispensation in Kabul would have become a possibility. Unfortunately, the new caretaker government had neither the influence nor the background to make a meaningful contribution. Secondly, after the new setup was installed in Pakistan, the ISI was again in the driving seat on the Afghan policy. Had the commission been established, there might not have been an Al-Qaeda or 9/11. It is one of the great ifs of modern history (Babar: IV).[34] Apparently, Pakistan could do more only if it had kept its own political house in order. Sattar is, therefore, not right in stating that Pakistan could not influence events in Kabul. It could, if only the pettiness of its politics was shelved.

Senior US officials have alleged close Pakistani links with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. During a recent congressional hearing, the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, stated that Al-Qaeda was still active in Pakistan (Babar: 1).[35] He also said that Islamabad was not doing enough. Senior U.S and NATO officials have criticized Pakistan’s lack of willingness or support for anti-Taliban action. The Secretary General of NATO demanded that   Pakistan should stop the militants form infiltrating into Afghanistan. (NATO: 1).[36] Mike Rogers of the US House of Representatives termed the North Waziristan agreements between the tribes and the Pakistan government as detrimental to US security. According to Gen. Eikenberry, after the conclusion of the accords, Taliban attacks inside Afghanistan had increased 300 percent in two months (Cloud: 1).[37] Afghanistan has alleged that Mulla Umar is living in Pakistan under the protection of its intelligence. These charges have been vehemently denied by Islamabad (News: 1).[38] They are largely prompted by the links of the JUI (F) with the Taliban and the support that Fazlur Rehman receives from the Pakistan government.

General facts about Waziristan

Waziristan occupies about 5000 square miles of mountainous terrain. Its topography resembles jig-saw pieces. The region extends 120 miles from north to south and 60 miles from west to east. The Wazir hills leave the Indus plains abruptly and rise towards the Afghan frontier reaching altitudes of 10,000 feet or more. Apart from the Tochi valley in North Waziristan and the Wana plain in South Waziristan, there is hardly any arable land (Warren: 5).[39] The population of Waziristan is approximately 785,122 with about 15 percent between the ages of 15-25 years. There is no industry or agriculture to offer employment to the youth (DCR 1998). Coupled with this demographic youth bulge, is the fact that from 1978 to 2000 this region was the launching pad for radical activity connected with the Afghan jihad against the Soviets and later the war waged by the Taliban to resist the U.S in Afghanistan. Waziristan is held by the most powerful Karlanri Pathans, the Darwesh Khel Wazirs and Mahsuds [Caroe: 392].[40] There is an ancestral link between the Wazirs and Mahsuds but for practical administrative purposes, the Mahsuds are a separate tribe. Caroe says that those who can  discern, compare the Mahsud to a wolf and the Wazir to a panther [393]. The Mahsuds live in the central block of mountains of Waziristan, surrounded by Darwesh Khel Wazirs to the North, West and South. Their main centres of population are small clusters of villages around Kaniguram and Makin around the 11,500 ft Preghal Mountain. Historically, the Mahsuds hold aloof and are continuously at war against the Wazirs.

Both North and South Waziristan are geographically of strategic importance and located close to the Afghan districts of Khost, Paktika and Paktia. Historically the Daurs, Wazirs & Mahsuds who live in Waziristan have played an important role in Afghan dynastic struggles in the past. For example it was with the tacit support of the British, that Nadir Khan returned from France and raised a tribal warring party of Wazirs and Mahsuds from Waziristan to snatch the Afghan throne from King Amanullah. Nadir Khan became the Afghan king in 1929, mainly due to the effort of the tribes from Waziristan. Since Nadir Khan did not have money to pay the warriors, he allowed the Wazirs to loot Kabul for five days. This experience provided the Wazirs the opportunity to earn money from raiding Afghanistan and in 1933 they again attacked Matun in Khost. Britain finally used air power against the houses of the attacking tribesmen to stop the incursion. It is obvious that the Wazirs consider Afghanistan a personal back yard; they have moved into Afghan territory at will in the past and feel no hesitation in going there now since they consider it their religious duty to fight a holy war for the removal of “foreigners” from what they consider an Islamic land. It was for this reason that the prescient British tribal administrator, Caroe said, “Kabul will always need the good will of Pakistan to keep Wazir ebullience within bounds.” (409)[41]

There are certain localities around the world, which are difficult to govern since they resist control. Waziristan is one such region and has defied all attempts to control it. Britain, the only super power in the 19th century, failed to stabilize Waziristan. It is doubtful whether Pakistan will fare any better. Interestingly, Waziristan has been at its most peaceful when the army was not present as in 1947. At that time troops were withdrawn  to address the manpower shortage in the war against India in Kashmir.

The tribes in Waziristan have resisted control and pacification during most of their history. The reason for the failure of Britain or Pakistan to pacify Waziristan lies in its peculiar socio-cultural dynamic, and for lack of a better explanation, their genetic make up, which makes the tribes remarkably brave, fearless and revengeful (badal).[42]

Even Hitler in 1938, wanted to foment trouble in Waziristan against the British by using his link with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Hussaini; such is the attraction of this rugged mountainous lair.  Hussaini sent his Syrian relative to foment rebellion in Waziristan and to work for the restoration of the former king Amanullah to the throne of Afghanistan. Britain had to use force and bribe to obtain the surrender of the Syrian who was better known as the “Shami Pir” or Syrian Pir in Waziristan.

In early 2004, Pakistan was persuaded by the US to act strongly in Waziristan. The area was becoming a centre of jihadi activity, and the Pakistan military began operations against Al-Qaeda foot soldiers and some leaders who had taken refuge with tribal sympathizers. Military operations were started and the tribes resisted it. There was severe loss of life on both sides. But the operation failed to evict the foreigners. According to some estimates more than 500 soldiers lost their lives.

One adverse consequence of the use of military in Waziristan was the unanticipated loss of authority of the chief civilian administrator, the political agent. The lack of administrative capacity snowballed and provided space to Taliban to become a parallel authority with its own taxation and administrative structure today.

Current ground situation

The world community has, in the last couple of years, focused its attention in finding reasons for decay of the state. The Carnegie Endowment and Foreign Policy have published a list of 12 indicators, which provide early warning of state failure. Out of these, Waziristan and parts of NWFP exhibit symptoms relating to the following: mounting demographic pressure, legacy of group vengeance, economic decline, criminalization of the state, deterioration of public services, violation of human rights, a security apparatus which acts as a “state within a state, rise of fractured elites and intervention of other states.”[43]

In order to retrieve the loss of space in Waziristan to the Taliban, the Pakistan army moved into the region in 2001, after the ouster of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. This move was made primarily to arrest the remnant Taliban fleeing into Pakistani territory. As a result 80,000 troops were ultimately deployed in FATA. Since 2001 the presence of the military in FATA has immobilized civil administrative institutions used for administering Waziristan and FATA. The military commander  superseded the Governor NWFP who, under the Constitution of Pakistan, is the President’s representative for tribes, in policy matters. It was doubly unfortunate. The authority of the political agent[44] was compromised and at the same time the military was not impressed by the tribal dynamics, which are part of a solution relating to improvement of governance of the tribes. The military would rather use guns than allow the diplomatic processes that a political agent normally uses to attain his objectives.

It may be noted that administration of tribes in FATA is based on an indirect method. The tribal elders act as middlemen for their tribes. Government policies are implemented through advocacy in face-to-face meetings with the tribes. This advocacy becomes more ‘appealing’ when the message is sugar-coated with patronage distributed by the political agent. A sizeable portion of the patronage was taken away from the political agents, when junior military functionaries either gave contracts for development works themselves or used army work teams for construction. The tribesmen simply stopped listening to the political agent. (Khan: 1)[45]

Another step taken by the military was to use military intelligence services instead of the political agent in handling negotiations and persuading the tribal Taliban. Reportedly, not only large sums of money remain unaccounted for but more serious is the fact that the political agent, of South Waziristan for instance, was not even aware of such parleys. Secondly, Pakistan’s military intelligence system is influenced by its past jihadist networks which have favourites amongst the Afghans and tribesman.

When the military began operations in South Waziristan in March 2004, the expectation was that it would lead to the surrender or eviction of the about 500 Uzbek, Chechens and Arabs, who were remnants from the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The operation was poorly planned and resulted in high military casualties in Angoor Adda, Azam Warsak, Kalusha and Shakai area; the Taliban executed government troops and staff of the political agent. Another dimension was added when some non-Pukhtun soldiers were executed. (ICG: 14)[46] It brought to the fore the ethnic dimension of the war. In Afghanistan, the Pukhtun majority has been side-lined by the Northern Alliance-dominated government. Although Hamid Karzai is a Pukhtun himself, he is marginalized within his own set up.

In South Waziristan, the tribal sentiment was further inflamed with the return of detainees from Guantanomo. They narrated tales of torture and insult to the Quran. The Islamists of Waziristan were incensed. They not only fought furiously but also began proselytizing to add to their strength. In the process, the system of administration collapsed and casualties were high. The stories of violence from the ham-handed and uncoordinated operation travelled to North Waziristan, where more tribes promised support to the Taliban. These elements from North Waziristan, who frequently cross the Durand line to harass the Coalition troops in Afghanistan, radicalized the region further.

Pakistan had underestimated the difficulties it would confront. The military realized that it did not have the capacity to suppress the Islamists and its morale plummeted. Pakistani authorities, who would previously meet the tribes in their villages, were now confined to the forts; travelling by road became unsafe. For senior officers, travel by helicopter remained the only option both in South and North Waziristan.

The militarization of Waziristan led to weakening of political administration. The maliks, who were the middlemen, were executed at will by the Islamists and continue to die even today. The Islamists executed Malik Faridullah, a former senator from tribal areas and an Ahmedzai Wazir. Knowledgeable tribesmen say that his assassination is linked to money promised to some of the ringleaders of the South Waziristan conflagration, which never reached them; a sum of $540,000 is reported to be involved. As matters spiralled out of control in late 2003, the military commander, Lt Gen Safdar Hussein, pushed for peace parleys with Islamists heading the Mujahidin Shura of South Waziristan through the JUI (F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

On 24 April 2004, the Shakai agreement was reached between the military and the militants of South Waziristan. This legitimized the pro-Taliban militants and demolished the civilian political system of administration. Secondly, the agreement left only two forces in the area; a bruised and demoralized military and a buoyant radical force. The key to political management, which is the political agent, was bypassed. He ceased to matter. The agreement had postulated that foreigners would surrender and be registered, after which they would be allowed to stay as guests of the tribe. Unfortunately, none were arrested by the tribe or surrendered to the political agent. In November 2004, some militant commanders of the South Waziristan shura surrendered to the authorities after receiving hefty payments.

The ground situation is tenuous. On paper some militants promised good behaviour but forays by tribesmen into Afghanistan continue. The US has used Predator missiles against Shura leaders. Nek Mohammad was killed in one such attack in June 2004.

Unilateral and uncoordinated U.S initiative is another major weakness in the strategy of containment and interdiction in Waziristan. On many occasions, U.S Predators have struck targets precisely when Pakistani authorities were negotiating a settlement. This happened in Bajaur and in North Waziristan. The inescapable impression from this lack of coordination is that Pakistan is not sovereign in its area of operation. Furthermore, any agreement between Pakistan and the Islamists does not extend to the U.S., which continues to react to events based on its own judgment. Tribesmen feel that agreements with the Pakistani military or political authorities do not carry much weight. In some instances the pro-Taliban shuras of South and North Waziristan have told their supporters that battles with the Pakistan army should be avoided and that the real enemy was the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Some analysts believe that the Pakistan military has a secret understanding with pro- Taliban elements. My assessment points to a different conclusion. Historically, Waziristan has remained the most complex tribal security issue even for Britain when it was the supreme power in India. The realities of Waziristan call for political handling supported by sporadic use of military force. Waziristan is comparatively better managed through “loaves” interspersed with adroit manipulation of tribal fissures, rather than using the military steam roller. If Britain failed to subdue Waziristan, surely the Pakistan military is not stronger or more capable.

It is likely that military fiascos will continue in Waziristan unless Pakistani capacity for the political handling of the tribal areas is recognized as the only long-term solution. On many occasion, the Pakistani military is forced into hasty operations to deflect the constant refrain of the U.S and NATO that Pakistan is not doing enough, or, that it should do more. This is not the solution. There is a need to evaluate the institutional capacities of all the state actors involved in Waziristan and avoid hasty agreements with the tribes. The only way forward is through enforceable agreements. (Aziz: 4)[47]

History of pacification in Waziristan

Waziristan was the faucet which, since 1947, has provided the military establishment with jihadists for achievement of its objectives in India and Afghanistan. Pakistan’s security needs were amply met by the tribes of Waziristan because they were natural fighters and had dealt with the military since the 1860s. The first time that the British entered the Mahsud country was in 1860 as punishment for their raid on Tank. Military expeditions and operations in Waziristan continued till Independence. Major operations took place in 1899, 1919-21, 1930, 1933 and 1937-40.

Some of the best tribal administrators and military men have tried to match their wits against Waziristan. Its history during the British period showed different approaches being followed. Henry Lawrence, the Lieut: Governor of Punjab, in the middle of the 19th century dealt indirectly with Waziristan through middlemen and a policy described as the “Closed Border Policy.” The Khan of Tank handled the Mahsuds of Waziristan. This was a period of Wazir and Mahsud raids on the border districts of British India. The British retaliated by counter-raids, in which the tribes were punished by demolition of their habitations and imposition of fines. From 1857-81 there were 26 such expeditions, some of them were in Waziristan (Caroe:  348).[48]

After the 2nd Afghan war in 1878, a committee was formed in India to plan strategy if Russia intervened in Afghanistan. It recommended that India should push its border as much forward towards Afghanistan as possible. This made the presence of forces inside the tribal area inevitable. In 1889, the policy was implemented when the British moved to Zhob in Baluchistan, later they quickly occupied Kurram, Waziristan, Chitral, Black Mountains of Hazara, the Malakand pass, Samana range in Kohat and Buner. By 1897, the whole of the Pathan area rose in revolt against the British (Warren: 28).[49] This revolt was due to the forward push by Britain. It was obvious that the forward movement and location of troops within Pathan areas was seen as a prelude to a loss of identity. The same feelings prevail today.

Lord Curzon became viceroy in 1898, and began his policy of containment. The army was withdrawn from Waziristan and two Pathan militia corps introduced. The Mahsuds continued to raid and army columns had to be sent to punish them in 1902 (32).[50] Curzon’s formula failed in Waziristan and the regular army had to be redeployed (34).[51] However, in 1919 Waziristan was engulfed in a conflagration of a serious nature, which continued as a minor war from 1920-1930 (54-59).[52]

After this policy of military pacification had been tried with mixed results, civil pacification was attempted and comparative peace was attained. The idea was to create income through road construction as well as to provide education and health cover in some parts. In the last years of the 1920’s, lashkars again cropped up, but were quickly suppressed by the military, which had been located at strategic points such as Razmak and Wana. It meant that the presence of military force was essential in central Waziristan to interrupt the formation of hostile groups. To that extent, the 1923 Waziristan policy was a limited success, though below the expectations of the NWFP Chief Commissioner, Ralph Griffith, who desired peaceful control up to the Durand Line (65).[53] In 1936 another eruption took place leading to the revolt of the Faqir of Ipi against the British. The Faqir’s rebellion engulfed Waziristan and was a mixture of lashkar[54] and guerilla activity. However, by April 1939 matters had stabilized and Waziristan reverted to civilian control.

Waziristan and tribal policy always absorbed the attention of top Indian officials. They wanted to find an answer to the intricate puzzle of tribal control. The Lord Linlithgow Report of 1939 divided the tribal area into two groups. For controlling Waziristan, his recommendation was to maintain forces within it, to prevent attacks on settled districts. For the remaining areas, he approved their control from outside the tribal agencies. However, his Waziristan proposal demanded the presence of two army divisions. In February 1940, Lord Zetland, the Secretary of State for India, approved this expensive recommendation to avoid the loss of control in Waziristan as had occurred in 1897, 1919, 1930 and 1936.  Permanent tribal warfare is an accepted fact of life in Waziristan (Warren: 248-249),[55] and a strong military component is needed which can be provided through a mix of the Scouts and some elements of the army.

World War II saw contradictory sentiments expressed when the Wazirs and Mahsuds contributed to the war effort of their enemy, the British, against the Axis powers. The Mahsuds contributed enough for Britain to buy one fighter aircraft yet, at the same time, the Wazirs attacked the Gurkhas for being non-Muslims! From January 1944, Britain maintained control over Waziristan and the Faqir of IPI by the use of the air force only (Warren: 257).[56] There are obvious lessons in this for today’s administrators.

In 1945, another review of Frontier policy was undertaken under the chairmanship of Maj. Gen Francis Tuker. The committee chair humorously remarked that the Axis powers had the cheapest concentration camp in Waziristan, where the allied service men were interned. The authorities, both civil and military, thought that they had the tribesmen in control, yet Tucker felt it was the tribes who had confined the forces within camps and forts (258).[57] The Tucker committee recommended that the solution to the dead-lock in Waziristan was a drastic reduction in the garrison, counter-balanced by an increase in the number of Scouts and improvement in their equipment.

In 1946, the nationalist fever of independence also infected Waziristan. The rhetoric of the tribes began to take the colour of the dispute between Congress and the Muslim League. In October 1946, when Nehru toured Waziristan, he was sniped at in Razmak. At Wana, the tribal spokesman demanded a Muslim state, Pakistan (259).[58] In September 1947, Pakistan withdrew its garrison from Waziristan to deal with the war in Kashmir, thus unwittingly implementing the Tucker Committee recommendation (261).[59] Cunningham, who returned as Governor NWFP on Jinnah’s request had been sceptical about pacifying Waziristan through the military. He concluded that occupation had been a failure. He was of the opinion that this policy tied up too much manpower and also increased tribal aggression (261).[60] He was right in his assessment though he did not come forward with recommendations to address the violence in Waziristan.

Did the birth of Pakistan have a positive influence on the tribesmen of Waziristan? When the Tochi Scouts withdrew from Datta Khel in 1948, the Faqir of IPI sent a lashkar to occupy the site. Pakistan used its air force to disperse the tribes. The Faqir promptly joined the new ethnic movement for Pakhtunistan in 1950 and, with Afghan assistance, became the first President of the Waziristan branch of the Pakhtunistan National Assembly. Matters since then have progressed with periodic hostilities involving the tribes and the government, interspersed with periods of peace, which, before 9/11, were much longer than in the British era.

Reasons for insecurity

Experience has shown that when a new generation of tribal youth attains maturity, which in Waziristan happens around the ages of 30-35, the tribal status quo is disturbed, and there is violence within the tribe. The reason for it lies in the age-bulge. When enough of these youth have collected, there is fierce competition to excel either in tribal Jirgas[61] or to gain renown by confronting authority. When these episodic waves arise, the traditional leadership headed by the leading elder like Malik Khandan, Madda Khel in North Waziristan in 1976, or,  Malik Wali Khan, Kuki Khel in Khyber Agency in 1985, is forced to lead the youthful force against a mythical opponent. The easiest way is by attacking a superior and a more powerful force. In an honour-based society, status is dependent upon bravery; a tribesman from Waziristan cannot achieve honour and respect unless he demonstrates valour or skill in a field recognised as honourable by the tribes. Leading the formation of opinion in a Jirga is considered a status symbol. If one becomes good in Jirga processes, it ensures honour and wealth for a person as does bravery.

There is a parallel here with the Red Indian tribes of North America who exhibit a similar need for acclaim in its youth. “Counting coup” was a system for grading special acts of bravery and war aggressiveness. It was an act, which consisted of a young Indian brave returning unharmed after touching an enemy with a “Counting coup” stick. The warrior who counted the most coups was in first place in the honour system. Each coup was narrated before the tribal council and eyewitnesses were interviewed to corroborate the deed. The warrior who had the most coups was considered to be the foremost man of his tribe and was given the most honour and the most lavish gifts. He also led the warriors. Through his prestige he could become rich and receive the hand of the fairest maiden. The purpose was to drive young warriors to greater aggressiveness in battle (Oracle: 2).[62]

In Waziristan, the social customs relating to bravery and recognition are no different from the ‘Counting coup’ tradition of the Red Indians. Some videos released by the Taliban of Waziristan show fighting groups of 8-10 men strong going into battle against U.S forces. The videos have scenes of skirmishes fought by youth who are barely 16 years old. What is evident is the sheer fun, which the fighters exude; as if they were on a college picnic or an initiation ceremony of a high-school fraternity. The strategic location of Waziristan next door to Afghanistan and, the presence of an “aggressing” foreign force, have multiplied the opportunities for youth to gain honour.

Overlay the honour system with the religious icing of “jihad,” which means exerting in a righteous cause and, you have a highly volatile mixture prompting young men to go to the battlefield and win honour and respect. Those who stay behind are considered cowards and ostracised by their age group. The number of contestants grows in geometric proportion by the rhetoric of religion being superimposed on a youthful audience. There is no shortage of religious teachers who provide rigorous arguments of sacrifice leading, in case of death, to heaven. As if this was not by itself a formidable combination, superimpose an Islamist organizing principle and we have a recipe for a permanent resistance, which will last as long as there are youthful participants available, and there is an ‘enemy’ like the US or NATO troops nearby in Afghanistan. It is therefore likely that there will be continuous bloodshed because the tribal customs and religious motivation, which generates the need to confront the enemy, is ever present.

Sir Denys Bray, the Indian Foreign Secretary was partly right, when he said in 1923, while speaking of civil pacification of Waziristan: “It is the inaccessibility of these mountains which breed more than they can feed, that lies at the root of the problem” (Warren: 59).[63] More than inaccessibility and high population are involved in Waziristan, if pacification has to succeed. It is a combination of social customs, Islamic tradition, lack of employment and an absence of well-rounded education, which makes the tribes of Waziristan such accomplished fighters and a fierce obstacle to anyone who wants to control them. The presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan acts as fuel for this fire.

The conclusion is that the introduction of the military into FATA in 2001 was a mistake. It may be recalled that US military operations in Tora Bora in late 2001 and early 2002, forced the survivors of Al-Qaeda and Taliban to enter Kurram while escaping. The US pressurized Pakistan to move troops to the region to capture the fleeing combatants. Instead of sending troops to the Parachamkani area of Kurram where the problem was, the military occupied all the agencies. However, many of the Al-Qaeda operatives, numbering more than 200, were arrested in Kurram. Interestingly, these arrests were made by the political agent Kurram and the tribes without any other help. This clearly indicated that the normal system of control exercised by the political agents through the tribes was effective.

Some support to political agents by providing reinforced scout units and better intelligence would have done the trick, leading to arrests of Al-Qaeda and maintenance of control through the tribes. Unfortunately, when the military moved into the political agent’s administrative space, two things happened. The political agent was disempowered, since the military commanders assumed the role of superior authority by virtue of being the institution in power, politically. Secondly, no balanced advice was available as the senior military commander and the President would give precedence to the opinion of their military comrade rather than the civilian political agent. When the political agent was eclipsed, the whole edifice of the tribes’ collective responsibility for maintenance of control under these hostile conditions collapsed, at a time when it needed to be strengthened. When the tribal system of control diminished, it created space for the religious right in FATA to coalesce into support for the Afghan Taliban. It was easy as the ground was already fertile.

Other issues in Waziristan

The Taliban in Waziristan are on their way to primitive state formation. They have introduced a simple tax system, which is providing them resources to recruit a paid bureaucracy. They have also introduced a dispute resolution system based on Sharia and   traditional norms (Riwaj).[64]

Taxes are collected from the following assets: houses, cars, buses, trucks, petrol pumps, shops, water mills, dispensaries etc. Anyone who has a dispute can deposit a fixed sum of money in the Taliban office. Notices are served, adjudicators are appointed as a Jirga; they give decisions, which are stamped by the local Taliban head and enforced. The Taliban have vehicles and paid security personnel to ensure law and order. They check the roads and ensure order. But things are not as rosy. Most of those who work for the Taliban receive salaries ranging from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 15000 per month. It has been reported that the Taliban organizations have been penetrated by criminal elements. There have been reports of robberies, kidnapping and murder in the Daur valley of North Waziristan. Furthermore,  there is no uniformity of jurisdiction; respective religious or jihadi elements have created their own groups and areas of jurisdiction; disputes arise often on the issue of territory and jurisdiction. A warlord pattern has come about in Waziristan.

On the 20 January 2007, because of missile strikes on Baitullah Mahsud’s camp at Zamazolla a few days earlier, he entered North Waziristan with about 30 men including Uzbeks. This created a crisis. Baitullah is a Mahsud of South Waziristan and his arrival in Mirali in North Waziristan was unwelcome, especially when he announced that he would take revenge by attacking government installations. A Mirali Turi Khel tribesman, Alim Khan, warned Baitullah to refrain and that if he was such a strong man he should take his revenge from his own South Waziristan. The cold reception forced Baitullah to leave Mirali. Form this incident it is apparent that in South Waziristan there is a growing tendency not to initiate hostilities against the government. Since late 2004 no large scale tribal attack has occurred against government outposts.

It is widely believed that the killing of the Peshawar police chief along with fourteen other police officers was the work of an Uzbek suicide bomber who came from Baitullah’s group and had links with an Egyptian Arab, Abu Nasir, who leads the Uzbeks in South Waziristan. In Mirali another foreigner is the Iraqi, Abu Akash, who has his own gang operating independently of tribal support, except his hosts in Mirali. The latter use this group to generate income through criminal activities like kidnapping and carjacking.

Another worrying aspect is the lack of students in government schools. For example, in the government high school in Datta Khel in North Waziristan the total number of students is 96 as compared with more than 200 students in the madrassa. Interestingly, another nearby madrassa in Datta Khel, which teaches English and computer science, the number of students is about 600. In government schools a fee of Rs. 100 per month is charged as compared with free education in madrassas and Rs. 50 per month in community schools.

The government’s propaganda and advocacy suffers because of poor radio coverage and low standard of programmes. In North Waziristan the majority of people listen to the BBC, Khost Radio, VOA and All India Radio. Waziristan is a highly bigoted and closed society; so closed that suicide bombers before departing are given small chits of paper inscribed with the “Qalima” as a recommendation from the mullah for entering heaven. Obviously, well planned religiously oriented programmes go a long way in changing attitudes and this is lacking on the part of the government.

Some local FM stations have been installed in Miramshah, Razmak, Wana and other sites in Waziristan. Unfortunately, the locals who do the talk shows cannot speak against the Taliban. If influential reporters are placed in Waziristan and good programmes broadcast, there is a much greater likelihood of success. Secondly, an efficient mobile phone network would   increase security. Steps need to be taken to provide broadband IT links to open up the minds and assist in ending isolation. Strangely, the government avoids the extension of the Political Parties Act to the tribal areas. As a result, the JUI (F), is the only party allowed to operate. It has won almost all the legislative seats from Waziristan. Permitting other political parties to operate will open the dynamics of tribal rivalry, which can only diffuse the strength of the Islamists. In case Pakistan fails to do so, it will lend credence to the charge that the MMA, an alliance of religious parties, is actually President Musharraf’s ‘B’ team.

Demographic trends from the 1998 household survey indicate that the size of an average household in Waziristan is 8.6 persons. The international experience is that youth require employment and status, employment creates status. However, the rate of unemployment in Waziristan will not be less than 40 percent of the employable labour force. The Pakistan Labour Force Survey defines employable labour as between the ages of 10 and 60. Waziristan has a population growth rate of 2.3 percent per annum. Recent projections show that there are 80,000 males in the age bracket of 18-25 who seek employment. International research in conflict ridden societies demonstrates that one in every sixth household is radicalized in conflict zones such as Sierra Leone or Uganda. If the same yardstick is applied, 13000 jobs are needed in Waziristan to turn the tide of jobless vying for employment in the ranks of Taliban for Rs. 15,000 a month (Kfir: 4).[65] Job creation through skill development and vocational training is the immediate need to fight the insurgency.

It is heartening that some of the problems faced by the people have also been identified by President Musharraf in his TV address of 3 February 2007, (Musharraf)[66] yet much remains to be done if the initiative has to be wrested from those who are turning Waziristan into desolation and, thereby, damaging Pakistan. If the present trend continues, can one be faulted for predicting the rise of a Hamas-like organization in Waziristan? The dynamics of tribal society preclude such a formation but the possibility must not be ignored.

A test of sovereignty of a state is its monopoly over the use of legitimate coercion within its territory and also to be free of threats from other states in pursuing its strategy (Bobbitt: 336).[67] Pakistan today fails in both. Its monopoly over the use of coercion for the execution of its laws is tested in Waziristan, on the contrary, the Islamists loosely called Taliban, are administering large swathes of territory. The army is challenged and the situation becomes worse with the support that is provided by local tribesmen to the Afghan Taliban fighting the U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Recommendations for solution of the Waziristan crisis

The reasons for the rebellion in Waziristan can be classified into four broad categories. Firstly, owing to weak capacity in security, reliance was placed on using proxy warriors from Waziristan. It trained persons who now possess the skill to confront the military. This has weakened the state. It was a wrong policy and should have been scuttled, when capacity had developed in the military. The state, therefore, must stop the training and arming of all groups, irrespective of factors like Kashmir. What good is possession of Kashmir when, in the process, Pakistan is harmed irreparably?

Pakistan’s reliance on religiously motivated groups in Afghanistan from 1978-2001 was wrong; instead the burden should have been placed on the traditional Afghan society to defeat the Soviets, exactly as it was done for the replacement of King Amanullah by Nadir Khan in 1929. Of the 23 uprisings, which arose spontaneously on the arrival of the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1978, 18 were started by the traditional leadership and only 5 were begun by Islamists. The Hizb leadership, which became the spearhead of the ISI-supported jihad, had preached hijrat (emigration from an area controlled by unbelievers), instead of resistance, (Rubin B: 186-187).[68] Had traditionalists been supported, the international radicalization of Islam would have been avoided; it would have prevented the rise of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and perhaps stopped 9/11.

Creon, the king of Thebes, in Sophocles’ play Antigone, punishes his nephew, Polynices after the latter’s death, by prohibiting his burial according to Theban religion. This prohibition set in motion events, which ultimately destroyed King Creon. The play shows how a lack of judgment can cause chaos and destruction. Pakistan and the world are now paying the price of that misjudgment by not creating a broad-based government in Afghanistan after 1992 although there were many opportunities.

A connected conclusion that follows is that foreign assistance to the Pakistan military has made them autonomous from the national society. Instead, the security apparatus has become an adjunct of other countries. By doing so, the military has lost autonomy in decision making in security matters. This has made the process of achieving peace through tribal agreements in Waziristan difficult. Secondly, the extensive use of the military in Waziristan has radicalized the tribes and provided space to the Islamists to dominate many southern districts. Their movement is gradually extending into Punjab. Attacks by suicide bombers will slow development and foreign investment in Pakistan.

US officials are predicting a spring offensive by a revived Taliban in Afghanistan. There are 150,000 U.S, Afghan, NATO and Pakistani troops confronting the Taliban. The stage is thus set for a bloody war. What is remarkable is the resilience and strength of the Taliban. They obviously have the people’s support to exist and grow under such conditions.

It is now clear that Pakistan, having failed to subdue the Taliban in Waziristan, after fighting them for more than two years, has realized that the approach to contain them must change. The pressure for this shift has come from the dynamics unfolding within the military rather than the demands of strategy. Many have begun to question the wisdom of Pakistan’s security policy handling. More than five hundred soldiers have been killed and many more injured. Serious problems of discipline have eroded morale within the military. The Taliban of Waziristan have expanded their range of operation and are coordinating with other terrorist organizations. They have now begun their activities in Punjab. With all this violence, business confidence is being eroded. The existing military approach has become redundant. The Islamists are on the ascendance.

Another aspect of the presence of the military in Waziristan has been the de-capacitating of the political agent. Because the military uses force, no space is left for the political agent to exploit tribal dynamics. The only language that remains is that of force. This can only lead to escalation of violence. In this context, it may be noted, that the use of intelligence services in tribal negotiations weakens the political agent and rebounds on the   government. It is thus clear that the military approach is not a solution; it is only a short-term measure; therefore, it is recommended that:

  1. There should be no interaction of the administration and military with the Islamist. Only intelligence operations should be undertaken through the political agent.
  2. The Scouts should be strengthened and provided equipment including helicopters till this problem is controlled.
  3. The army should be concentrated in Wana, Razmak and Mirali.
  4. The administrative layers of assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner and commissioner need to be revived. They will not be involved with local government, which will continue to remain with Nazims. Their role will be to coordinate anti-insurgency measures by mobilizing civil society. The administrative tier will coordinate with the police functionaries. It will shift the reliance from intelligence counter-measures to policing. This will force the state to deal with the insurgency through law.
  5. The Coalition should not take any unilateral action in Waziristan. Actions should be sourced through the political agents.
  6. Waziristan tribes feel that their identity is at stake. It is crucial for peace for the Afghan army to take over duties from Coalition forces opposite the Waziristan boundary. In the long run, foreign forces should not remain in Afghanistan because it invites resistance.
  7. The traditional forces of society, destroyed by years of neglect, need to be re-constructed for stability. It is an uphill task but must be undertaken.
  8. Drugs and warlords are de-stabilizing elements and must be removed.
  9. Capacity building of the district police and Frontier Constabulary must be accelerated to reverse the poor security situation in southern NWFP. All Frontier Constabulary platoons, in other provinces, must be returned to the NWFP forthwith.

10.  An informal council of religious elders should be instituted for guidance of the Governor and the political authorities. This used to be the practice in the past.

The second broad category of proposals relate to dealing with unemployment. A massive programme of skill development, which will compete with Taliban-generated employment, should be launched. It is projected that there are about 80,000 males unemployed in the age group 18-25. Assuming that 1 in 6 households in Waziristan support the Taliban, then 13,000 jobs need to be created immediately. A proposal on this is with the government (RIPORT).[69] It is a huge task but must be undertaken if Pakistan is serious about finding solutions in Waziristan.

The third category of proposals, deal with the use of political dynamics to foster electoral politics in Waziristan and FATA. In this connection, the Political Parties Act should be amended and the tribal areas opened to all political parties. This will generate internal tribal dynamics and bring into play balancing forces.  Simultaneously, the local councillors should be given greater powers. They are presently councillors on paper.

The fourth set of recommendations relate to development. Isolation must be battled on many fronts. In addition to construction of roads and opening up tribal areas to more economic penetration, through exploitation of its mineral and other resources, the government should spread broad band internet and cellular telephone networks in FATA. It will neutralize isolation far more rapidly and, with lesser costs, than road and security networks.

There is a comprehensive development strategy being planned for FATA, which includes Waziristan. Innovative measures, like creating task forces and working groups should be undertaken to reduce incubation time for policy and programme formulation.

Waziristan suffers from weak capacity in its government manpower. Plans need to be made to build capacity. The emasculation of the district service cadre through local bodies’ reform created this unintended consequence. It will be difficult to find good political officers after the old trained hands retire. However, in case it is decided to revive the assistant and deputy commissioners as proposed above, then this capacity draw down could be reversed.

It is proposed that a middle tier of regional administrators for supervising the political agent be instituted. He would be required to coordinate matters between the districts and the tribal areas as well as curb the expansion of lawlessness in southern NWFP which is now also emerging in Swat, Malakand and elsewhere.

It is clear that a genuine democratic process has much greater chances of strengthening Pakistan. The time has come to monitor the indicators relating to state survival. The justification for military government has always been the strengthening of law and order. This is no longer tenable and other options need to be considered.

The Afghan army must be rebuilt quickly and the government in Kabul must make efforts for a meaningful engagement with its Pukhtun population. The force facing Waziristan should comprise only of the Afghan army.

There is truth in what the Fakir of IPI said in his twilight years when asked whether his long jihad against the British was fought for religion or freedom to practice a way of life? After pondering for a moment he answered that his struggle was for freedom rather than religion (Warren: 264).[70] This is what those involved in nation building and promoting international peace should keep in mind. There is yet hope.

Notes & References

[1] The author is a former Chief Secretary of  the NWFP.

[1] Creveld, Van Martin. “ON FUTURE WAR”, Brassey’s, London, 1991

[2] This doctrine states that those who live in areas controlled by government and assist non Muslims should be treated under the laws of “futhat”, (conquest), including execution of adult males who resist and enslavement of women and children. Islamists define the people of Pakistan in this category because of its support to the U.S

[3] Rubin, Elizabeth. “In the Land of the Taliban”, New York Times, Oct 22nd 2006.

[4] Grare, Frederic. “Pakistan: The Myth of an Islamic Peril”, Policy Brief no 45 Feb 2006, Carnegie         Endowment, Washington.


[6] “Nato Secretary General’s warning to Pakistan to stop militants”, The News, Islamabad, 18th Jan, 2007, P.1.

[7] Shahzad, Syed Saleem. “Talibans’ call for jihad answered in Pakistan”, Asia Times. 1st Feb, 2007,http://


[9] Jalal, Ayesha. “THE STATE OF MARTIAL RULE”, Sang-e-Meel, Lahore, 1999,

[10] Burke and Ziring Lawrence. “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis”. Oxford, Karachi, 1973.

[11] Ibid (17)

[12] Khattak, Mohammad Aslam. “A PATHAN ODYSSEY”, Oxford, Karachi, 2005

[13] Gauhar, Altaf. “Ayub Khan: Pakistan’s First Military Ruler”, Oxford, Karachi, 1996.

[14] Ibid (17)

[15] Ibid (16)

[16] Ibid (17)

[17] Saleem, Farrukh Dr. “U.S aid and our GDP growth”, The News, Islamabad, 16th July, 2006, P. 4

[18] Rubin, Barnett. “The Fragmentation of Afghanistan”, Oxford, Karachi, 2003.

[19] Ibid (16)

[20] “London’s embarrassment & Pakistan’s ISI,” Editorial. “Daily Times, Lahore, 30th Sept 2006, P.6”

[21] Cloud S. David. “U.S Says Attacks Are Surging in Afghanistan”, The New York Times. Jan 16, 2006 at

[22] Personal knowledge gained while as Commissioner in the 1980’s

[23] Ibid (2)

[24] Ibid (2)

[25] Ibid (26)

[26] Ibid (26)

[27] Ibid (2)

[28] Ibid (2)

[29] Ibid (31)

[30] Ibid (2)

[31] Ibid (6)

[32] Sattar, Abdul. “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2005, A Concise History”, Oxford, Karachi, 2007.

[33] Ibid (50)

[34] Babar, Nasirullah, “Interview with Gen. Babar”, The News on Sunday, Islamabad, 18th Feb. 2007, P.IV

[35] Mariana Baabar, “Boucher fends off spy chief bouncer”, The News, Islamabad, 13th Jan. 2007 P.1

[36] “Nato warning to Pakistan”, The News Islamabad, 18th Jan 2007, P.1

[37] David S.Cloud, “US says Attacks Are surging in Afghanistan,” The New York Times, 16th Jan 2007.

[38] “US allegations of abetting Taliban preposterous: Musharraf”, The News, 25th Jan 2007.

[39] Warren, Alan. “Waziristan:The Faqir of Ipi and the Indian Army”, Oxford, Karachi, 2000.

[40] Caroe, Olaf. “The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957” Oxford, Karachi, 1975.

[41] Ibid (59)

[42] Means revenge.

[43] “2006 Failed State Index”

[44] The principal civilian head of one of  the tribal agency, within FATA.

[45] Khan, Aamer Ahmed, “Pakistan fights its own Taliban,” BBC News, 6th March, 2006

[46] Ibid (7) (P.14)

[47] Aziz, Khalid. “Return of the Taliban”, The Friday Times 6th – 12th Oct, 2006, Lahore, P.4

[48] Ibid (59)

[49] Ibid (58)

[50] Ibid (58)

[51] Ibid (58)

[52] Ibid (58)

[53] Ibid (58)

[54] A tribal warring party.

[55] Ibid (58)

[56] Ibid (58)

[57] Ibid (58)

[58] Ibid (58)

[59] Ibid (58)

[60] Ibid (58)

[61] A recognised forum for tribal problem resolution.

[62] Oracle. “Counting coup”, 13th Feb, 2007.

[63] Ibid (58)

[64] Means Pushtun customary law, which is separate from Sharia law of Islam in many respects.

[65] Kfir, Isaac. “The Paradox that is Pakistan: Both ally and enemy of Terrorism.” The Middle East Review of International Affairs, vol 10 no:1 article 6, March 2005.

[66] Musharraf. “Thus spake General Musharraf”, The Daily Times, 4th Feb, 2007 Lahore, P.6

[67] Bobbitt, Philip. “The Shield of Achilles” The Penguin Press, USA, 2002.

[68] Ibid (26)

[69] RIPORT. “Employment Generation in Waziristan through Skill Development”, Peshawar, Feb, 2007.

[70] Ibid (58)