It is early hours of this battle named "Zarbe Azab" and I am sure, dust from the first round of bombs being dropped at terrorist camps would not have even settled by now, and I want a quick attention to the issue of collateral damage. War, battles or for that matter any armed conflict is bloody in its nature. This does not mean one should sit idle and allow a coward with the gun to assault and jeopardize your freedom and destroy your way of life. But when you reach out to neutralize that threat, the modern man has learnt a set of dignified principles to do so. Islam has taught us a comprehensive charter for dos and don't s of war. Also the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war. If Taliban did not read or follow them, doesn't mean we do the same. Nobody has to become a terrorist in order to deal with the terrorist.
Whether directly killed due to aerial bombing or due to starvation, illnesses, or injury sustained while in flight from war zones; more than 20,000 civilians died in only first few months of aerial bombardment by the US in Afghanistan according to The Guardian. Since 2001 these numbers have only gone up. 13 years on media and aid groups have reported of hundreds of gruesome stories about such atrocities. Ranging from soldiers opening fires indiscriminately on women and children in their homes, to surgical strikes on wedding events, these cases have forced the Afghan leader to protest to Washington several times.
Terrorists attacked our civilians, our bazaars, our homes, our hospitals, mosques, roads and airports. In nobody's right mind; equally brutal response should be acceptable. I trust my forces because of their ground knowledge and (hopefully) good intelligence that they will not go on dropping 250 Kg bombs on any compound where apparently men of military age have gathered. In my neighbourhood such gathering usually happens inside a mosque after the calls for prayer. Unlike NATO I feel my forces are better capable of differentiating between a man sitting by the road side planting an IED from a man who is there to answer the call of nature.
If we apply the same insensitive approach as the West and NATO have tried for over a decade, of in-discriminatory aerial bombardment, it will only multiply the threat. Not to mention this civilian loss only helps the terrorists recruit fresh blood into their fighting force. Dropping bombs from thousands of feet in the sky on the "So called" hideouts and compounds (leaving a legit argument of good or bad intelligence aside) will not only abuse human rights, cause heavy collateral damage, but also I am afraid will engulf my next generation in this stream of violence, death and destruction. Pakistan has lost billions in the hands of terrorism, but loss of more than 30,000 lives is priceless. Justifiable elimination of the threat should not become a case of heavy civilian causalities. Isolated events are a by product of any war, but repeated ruthless incidences dramatically decrease public support. Already thousands of families are fleeing the war zone and the issue of civilian casualties and loss is both sensitive and historic in terms of its local and international repercussions.
It is enlightening to see a wide spectrum of political groups united in their resolve for operating against the militants. I sincerely want us not to screw it up at any level and that is why I could not help myself from not highlighting the biggest mistakes made by the West in dealing with the menace of terrorism. They failed to respect the human and cultural values, and safeguard the loss of non militant residents of a land.
Pakistani government and forces should bear in mind that despite the fact that we may have many advantages in running an armed operation against the terrorists, but unlike US and NATO coalition we can never avail "Pullout" or "Exit" options. We are in this to finish it! (God Willing) We must not be intoxicated with our aerial or ground military might and supremacy and act like a violent aggressor. Judicial and humane merits of running this security operation should differentiate us from the barbarism of the terrorists.
In other words...
Nobody has to become a terrorist in order to deal with the terrorist.
Every bomb matters. So does every Life!
Long Live Pakistan !