Peshawar, July 1 : The ongoing operation to "protect" Peshawar from the wrath of militants belonging to organizations like Lashkar-e-Islami (led by Mangal Bagh), Ansar-Ul-Islam (led by Qazi Mehboobul Haq who is Mangal's sworn enemy), and Haji Namdar (led by Tanzeem Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munqar), is simply "hogwash", said an article in The News.
It said it was a drama to appease the cooperating militias and placate the nervous public.
"It's all hogwash. It's a drama being staged to placate a nervous public, please the cooperative militias by giving them sufficient advance warning, and confuse the Americans who of late have been displaying the audacity to ask for verifiable deliverables against all the money they have been pumping in for the last eight years. A desperate appeasement attempt for the visiting Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Boucher, if you may," the paper said.
It further that even as the so-called grand operation entered its third day today, the government has already claimed victory to the extent of ridding the Khyber Agency of the so-called criminal extremists who ostensibly have been sent scurrying to the farther valley of Tirah.
The country's Interior Ministry Rehman Malik and Prime Minister Gilani are patting themselves on the back for having restored the government's writ, even as TV footage of paramilitary convoys whizzing around and security forces blowing up one 'militant hideout' after another, are shown in different channels.
The government is also crowing about the fact that its measures are so popular with the local tribal population and its power so awesome for the obviously chickened-out militants that not a single bullet has been fired at the security forces.
But, said the article, the truth is that militants continue to rule the tribal areas, just three km away from Peshawar.
Citing an instance, the article said that in the Namdar territory a Toyota full of militants waylaid a team of journalists. "Six men jumped off the vehicle and surrounded us, their guns aimed at our heads. Their leader, hardly 19 or 20 years of age, demanded an explanation for our presence in 'their territory'. About 15 minutes and few reasons later we were allowed to move on after strong hand shakes, warm smiles, and the message to tell the world that they are only fighting against the Americans and for Afghan Muslims and not against Pakistan. By the way, this incident took place barely three km after entering the tribal area from Peshawar. Wasn't it close enough to qualify as falling in the jurisdiction of re-imposed state writ, one wonders?"