Depoliticise this mess soon

February 01,2016

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DUBAI: The operation in Karachi and Zarb-e-Azb are fast being pushed into the political arena similar to the battles gladiators fight to the last.

Otherwise the Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar would not have to say: “They would criticise Rangers, if according to them, the operation is going fast. And if they find the operation getting slow, they would accuse the Rangers of having a ‘setting’.

“Our setting is only with our mission. Our setting is only with the nation. Our setting is only with our motherland,” he had to clarify on Sunday. There can be no doubt about his mission and his goals but why this situation has arrived is the big question the Rangers, and their think tanks, will have to ponder and answer.

After arrest of Uzair Baloch and starting with the arrest of Dr Asim Hussain, the Rangers have issued numerous statements and reports and its leaders have made public appearances. Plainly speaking they had to go public to lobby and explain their mission. Again why was it needed?

The simple answer to all these questions is that Rangers are working in a highly complex situation where conflicts of interests and contradictions are countless and the entire structure is infested with untenable centres of power and influence and twisted realities.

The first is that a government, which should have been the main vehicle of carrying out this operation, aided by the Rangers, has positioned itself against the operation, fearing its own wings may get burned. So the momentum and fury, as well as its effectiveness, has been cut short dragging the pace.

Secondly, while operations were in full swing against collaborators, abettors and helpers of terrorists inside the political parties, these parties were allowed to operate and contest elections and use their political muscle to pressurise the Rangers. Who allows rivals to gain and display support in the middle of the battle.

This situation was not taken into account by the think tanks of the Rangers and the army authorities. A temporary stop, a moratorium, on politics was a must to provide the necessary space and cover to take out the dirty fish, both political and apolitical. That was not done before the operations were launched.

The key issue was that if cleansing inside the political parties had to be done, a neutral, objective, non-political and strong administrative cover must have been provided first. That was not done.

So now there is a visible mess and this situation has to be resolved sooner than later because the operation has to go on. Any reversal or slow-down will encourage terrorists and their supporters to hit back with a vengeance. No one can afford it.

Even now the federal government, the army leadership, the security agencies and the Sindh government must sit down and find a workable solution. The worst-case scenario could be that the army may be left with no option but to steamroll everyone to achieve the logical results of the operation, as stated repeatedly by Army Chief Gen Raheel in the early days of Zarb-e-Azb. That may not be liked by many.


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