‘Pakistan lacks a clear policy against militancy’

Exclusive interview with Author Zahid Hussain by Beenish Javed

Islamabad, July 25, 2012:

Last week, I had an opportunity to meet Zahid Hussain, who is the author of two famous books, Frontline Pakistan and The Struggle with Militant Islam. He has an expert view on Pakistan’s tribal areas and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

Q. 2014 is fast approaching, but the world still thinks that Pakistan is not serious in stabilizing Afghanistan. Do you think this perception is correct?

Zahid Hussain (ZH):  This perception is incorrect. It is the responsibility of American and NATO troops on the ground to stabilize Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is largely dependent on the U.S. policy. Would U.S. want to leave a stabilize Afghanistan? And it is possible through a political reconciliation in Afghanistan. A combined political settlement might help in bringing peace.

Q. Everyone has hopes from the reconciliation process. Do you think Pakistan has the potential to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghans and the Americans?

ZH: Firstly, we have to see if the U.S. really wants to talk with the Taliban.  The   negotiations have been stalled from last six months. The process depends on both the Taliban and the U.S.  I think it’s incorrect to say that Pakistan can convince Taliban to talk because it’s wrong to think that the Taliban will ultimately do what Pakistan asks them to do.

Q. Is the government and the military of Pakistan taking steps to bring peace in Afghanistan?

ZH: The differences between Pakistan and the U.S are an obstacle in bringing peace in Afghanistan. And if the relations between the two countries don’t improve than it would be difficult to achieve a political settlement in Afghanistan. It is not only the responsibility of Pakistan to make efforts to improve relations with the U.S. The U.S should also try to address the issues that are the cause of the differences between two countries. And with the continuation of drone attacks , peace is difficult to achieve in this region.

Q. Do you think there is a consensus in Pakistan’s military about fighting the terrorist groups?

ZH:  Pakistan has suffered the most from militancy and a big reason for that is we do not have a clear policy against militancy. We don’t understand how to deal with this problem which is a big threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty.  Terrorists are now all over Pakistan. Militancy has not reduced from last few months we see an increase in attacks by the militants. It is high time that we devise a national policy against the militants as they are a big threat to Pakistan’s existence.  The interview can be viewed by clicking on the following link.

The interviewer’s more work can be seen on: Beenishjaved.com

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