An earnest wish

One would earnestly wish that the reported assertion of the Troika – President, Prime Minister and COAS – that Pakistan would not accept any pressure for launching a military operation in North Waziristan, and that only the ground realities would determine the course of our action in the Agency, was well-founded. In the past, such declarations have been made only to be ignored when the Americans put their foot down; we, somehow, felt compelled to conduct an armed action in South Waziristan. The result has been too painful: unpredictable deadly suicide bombings causing persistent insecurity across the length and breadth of the country. The three top functionaries of the government had held a meeting at the Presidency on Friday, where the Foreign Minister had also joined, to review the outcome of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. The briefing was done by Mr Qureshi and General Kayani, pointing out the gains, especially the increased aid the US promised for defence, social and economic sectors. As General Kayani was talking about the hatred and anger the drone attacks were spreading in the tribal areas, newly appointed US Ambassador Cameron Munter was confidently saying that the drones were targeting a “common enemy” and concluding, “I don’t think that Pakistanis do not like the Americans.” Interestingly, he had spent barely two days in Pakistan and had not had any interaction with a wider section of the public than the set of officials assigned to formally welcome him on taking up the new assignment. If he had read the unbiased reports in the media of his own country, he would have known that more than 1,200 civilians have so far been killed by the drones, and Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives have been few and far between among them. And no Pakistani would regard these civilians as their enemy; rather, as precious citizens like themselves