Lahore, Sept 22 : The Pakistan Government must desist from attacking and killing the extremists in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan border, because the terrorists have time and again proved that they would retaliate with an equal and opposite force, spelling doom for the security forces or the innocent civilians, like Saturday's massive blast on a hotel killing 60 people, the country's former army chief Mirza Beg has said.
He recalled that when the Pakistan Army killed over 400 people in the tribal areas, the tribesmen killed some 700 army men in various retaliatory missions.
The former Army chief pointed out that the explosive used for attack on the Hotel Marriott had been stolen from the contractor who was taking it to stone crushers of Taxila. "Of the total stolen consignment, 600 kg had been used in Saturday's attack while 1500 kg was still with them. Nobody knows what is going to be their next target," the Dawn quoted Beg as saying in an interview.
He said that the federal government must realize was that a fight against freedom fighters had never been won by anyone.
"The Soviet had lost it in the 80s, the US has lost it in Iraq, the Israelis suffered a shameful defeat in Lebanon, the US and NATO are facing defeat in Afghanistan," he said and added that distancing itself from the US, the Pakistan government should restart peace process with the tribesmen and let not any country sabotage it.
"Any other course adopted by the government would spell disaster," Beg said and added that the tribals carried out the attack in retaliation to the daily military strikes on their areas, as a result of which thousands of innocent people, including women and children, had also been killed so far.
"The federal government should hold peace talks with the tribesmen and ensure that the US does not sabotage the process. The Army should not kill its own people in the tribal areas as the reaction could be equally strong," he said.
He said that the Pakistan Army had used every possible weapon in hitting at the tribal areas, but every attempt had only evoked a retaliatory action from the tribals. "There is hardly any weapon in our armoury that has not been used against the people of the tribal areas. You kill them and they'll kill you," said Beg.
Beg said that what had happened in the past 10 days was very important. Top US Army man Admiral Mike Mullen invited Pakistan Army Chief Gen Kayani to a meeting after which he stated that Pakistan's Army Chief had been told about "the future goal and the way to achieve it".
Similarly, he added, President Zardari had also been given necessary instructions by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"Efforts were being made to eliminate the Taliban, but the Taliban were trying to defeat the attackers," said Beg.