In response to questions by reporters on whether Pakistan will immediately be taking steps against the militants in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, said that Pakistan will not take any action until it is ready.
“We can ‘do more’ only whenever we can. We have to see to our interests first,”he said, cited CNN.
Questions on action against the Taliban stronghold are suspected to have risen on account of comments by US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen who visited Pakistan earlier this week. Mullen had recommended that the people in charge in Pakistan should try to focus more on the threat of militants within the country’s borders rather than on the perceived strategic threat from India.
“They are weakening the American-led military effort in the nine-year-old Afghanistan war against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and they are killing Pakistani civilians as they seek to undermine the government in Islamabad,” Mullen said.
Mullen had already pointed out earlier that North Waziristan was a haven for terrorists where extremists like the Haqqani network plan and launch attacks on NATO-led forces across the Afghanistan border.
However, Mukhtar maintained that Pakistan will meet Mullen’s demands only when it is required by the country and its armed forces. He also added that the severity of the measures taken against these terrorist outfits will also entirely depend on the requirement of the country at that time.
For quite some time now, Pakistan has been feeling the push from the United States to start combat in North Waziristan. Over 100,000 troops have been moved to the border region from Islamabad so far. These troops have been fighting terror groups in Swat Valley, the Khyber tribal area and South Waziristan.
Over 18 months of sustained combat has seen the killing of thousands of Pakistani troops. The displacement of millions of Pakistanis during a massive flood also made the army undertake relief operations over large parts of the country.
Although the Pakistani military might have valid reasons for resisting The suggestions to go after the militant outfits in North Waziristan, it is suspected by some analysts that it may be intentional and have other reasons associated with it too. They have brought to note the existence of the Haqqani network in the area which is a faction of the Taliban and believed to be close to some of the members in the Pakistani security forces.