Zarb-e-Azb & TTP propaganda 

Pakistan-zarb-e-azbBy S. M. Hali

Pakistan Military has finally launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb against the miscreants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). The joint military operation is involving surgical airstrikes and land attacks against the armed insurgent groups of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Pakistan Army had been mulling the execution of a full fledged operation against the miscreants for sometime but the government decided to give a chance to negotiations for peace. Unfortunately, the miscreants were neither in a mood for serious talks nor did they want to cease their acts of terror. A ceasefire was declared by the TTP, but during this also they continued attacking targets of opportunity and caused serious loss of life and property. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the brazen attack on Karachi Airport’s Jinnah Terminal on 8 June 2014, the responsibility for the assault was claimed by the TTP and IMU. The attack on Karachi airport resulted in the death of 36 people, including all 10 attackers, and wounding at least 18 persons.

The Government finally had no option but to give the armed forces a green signal to launch Zarb-e-Azb, a “comprehensive operation” that aims to flush out foreign and local

Militants who have found safe haven in NWA and are wreaking havoc in Pakistan. The choice of the name for the military operation is “Azb” which was title of the sword of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). “Azb” in Arabic means sharp or a tool that can cut swiftly. “Azb” was presented to the Holy Prophet (SAW) by one of his companions before the battle of Badar. The Holy Prophet (SAW) wielded “Azb” in both the battles of Badar and Uhad.  

Following the assault on Karachi airport, the US Government renewed the drone attacks, which it had halted at the request of Pakistan, to give the peace negotiations a chance. Pakistan Air Force led the operation with a series of aerial strikes on militant hideouts in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, to create shock and awe. Up to 200 insurgents, a majority of whom were Uzbeks, including those linked to the airport attack and a key Uzbek commander and mastermind of the airport attack, Abu Abdur Rehman Almani have been eliminated.

  Western Wars and Arab Authoritarianism

The heartening factor is that the entire nation, including the various political parties is united in the stand against the terrorists and supports the Operation “Zarb-e-Azb”. The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan have promised to maintain vigil and aerial surveillance to deter the influx of the miscreants into Afghanistan across the Durand Line. The military has attempted to cordon off the militants to plug their escape routes, while IDPs are being allowed to move to safe camps after careful scrutiny lest the miscreants slip through in their guise.

The militants on the other hand, having taken a major battering and are threatening dire consequences and vindictive terror attacks in retaliation. Simultaneously, they have launched a propaganda campaign to motivate the local functionaries in NWA. TTP so called religious scholars are issuing “Fatwas” calling for Jihad against Pakistani security forces, by using their traditional propaganda tools like FM Radios, repeaters, pamphlets, Mosque Khutbas and word of mouth. The stress of the propaganda is on the theme that Pakistan Army supported the US to dislodge Islamic Emirates in Afghanistan and continues to provide logistic support to NATO and ISAF forces in return of Dollars. Thus it is a mercenary army, acting against the interest of Islam and is “wajib-ul-qatal” i.e. liable for slaughter. Part of the misinformation drive is that Pakistan army handed over Arab and other Muslim Mujahedeen including Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the CIA. A popular strain by the TTP to denigrate the armed forces of Pakistan is that it is responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of women and children in the Lal Masjid operation. The TTP blames ISI for killing religious scholars like Mufti Nizam-ud-Din Shamzai, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, Maulana Naseeb Khan, Maulana Yousuf Ludhyanvi, Maulana Hassan Jan, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. An addition to this theme of blame game is the massacre of more than 100 people and destruction of several mosques in NWA in security forces bombardment on 23 May 2014. The TTP religious leaders are claiming that military operations are being conducted in FATA on US dictations; therefore, Jihad against Pak security forces is justified and compulsory thus locals should dedicate their children for Jihad and financially support the “Mujahedeen”.

  US: Master or Partner?

The miscreants forget that the history of Islam is replete with examples when pretenders, imposters and insurgents tried to dislodge the spread of Islam right after the death of the Holy Prophet (SAW) but these insurgents were dealt with through the use of force by the Islamic governments. The miscreants, who are bent upon declaring the Government and the Constitution of Pakistan to be un-Islamic, forget that the first six articles of the 1973 Constitution outline the political system as federal parliamentary republic system and declare Islam to the state religion of Pakistan. All the political parties were signatory to the 1973 Constitution, which cannot be changed but certain amendments can be incorporated through approval of the parliament.

A very serious blow to the warped thinking of the miscreants is that the Imam-e-Kaaba and Khateeb-e-Hajj have declared suicide attacks and fight with forces in Pakistan as ‘Haram’ i.e. against the teachings of Islam. The TTP resorted to the assassination Ulema like Maulana Hassan Jan, who declared TTP activities Un-Islamic, only exposes their demonic bent of mind. Most of the TTP leaders are illiterate and have neither attended any Madrassa nor have attained religious education. They have been pervaded by criminal elements that have their own heinous agenda. Operation “Zarb-e-Azb” is bound to crush the miscreants, since they are not righteous and some of them are acting on the behest of enemies of Pakistan. The sacrifice of thousands of Pakistanis and the security forces in the defence of Pakistan will not go in vain and Insha Allah victory will be for the state of Pakistan.