Army operation has backfired: Benazir
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Benazir Bhutto criticised President Musharraf’s regime for mishandling the tribal operation that has resulted in civilian casualties and the displacement of a large number of the tribal population without the capture of any high value target.
“Every high value target was allowed to escape months in advance while the tribal population was used as a sacrificial lamb to satisfy the power lust of the regime,” she said in a statement issued on Sunday. Ms Bhutto said the operation was a stunt to convince foreign agencies that the country was an active part of the war against terrorism.
“Shockingly, even the international media was duped into believing that Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zahwiri was besieged when in fact Chechen and Uzbek fighters were said to be holed up in the area,” said Ms Bhutto.
She said the parliament was not taken into confidence while the decision was made by people who otherwise had no authority to decide on it. Ms Bhutto said that the foreign press wrote about the tribal operation for three months, which the regime denied continuously. “This policy of deceit and deception has created a credibility gap between the rulers and the ruled leading to a divide which is dangerous for the unity and integrity of the country,” she said.
Ms Bhutto said the military operation of the tribal areas must have been organised after a political campaign but the tribal leaders were not even included in it. She said everyone in Pakistan wanted peace and that the Wana operation had backfired because people are reacting to it.
“Instead of concentrating on national security issues, the intelligence gathering capacity of the security apparatus has turned into a political party dedicated to horse trading, rigging of elections and intimidation of pro-democracy representatives,” she said. “It seems that there is little intelligence on the real whereabouts of militants, terrorists and other wanted persons.”
Ms Bhutto suggested that a bipartisan parliamentary delegation visit Wana on a fact-finding tour. She said compensation must be offered to the families of innocent people who were killed or displaced during the operation.