That the US might have ‘cooperated’ with Pakistan in killing Hakimullah to facilitate talks only to favour Nawaz Sharif government must not be the whole truth. The TTP under him attempted to set off a car bomb in New York City in 2010, which means if at all the reports of Hakimullah being remote-controlled by RAW and CIA were true, the Taliban leader somewhere had gone out of control and double-crossed his handlers.
RAW might have succeeded in misguiding him only to get Washington enraged against Pakistan. But if the reports are true that the US might have “helped Pakistan, by eliminating a person who was damaging the state of Pakistan” as Maj Gen (retd) Athar Abbas said, this would weaken Islamabad’s stand on the sovereignty issue. Already Asia Times report has indicated Nawaz government’s U-turn on drones.
Declan Walsh in his NYT report says: “Although the Pakistani leadership regularly condemns drone attacks, a growing body of evidence suggests that they have quietly cooperated with at least some strikes over the years. Still, after the strike on Friday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a pro forma condemnation, employing the usual language about the American action’s being a violation of Pakistan’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Hours before the drone strike three American Congressmen and US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson met with Sartaj Aziz, the PM’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, in Islamabad. In a statement, the Pakistan FO said Mr. Aziz had “expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory in bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States.”
Apparently the chapter of talks seems to be closing now but coming weeks would determine as the new TTP leadership takes the moderate course on talks with the government like that of Ehsanullah Ehsan and Asmat Muawiya.
Khan, who is likely to replace Hakimullah is said to have been opposed to his Amir’s standpoint. It is noteworthy though that the army leadership has wisely stayed away from commenting, since the governments at the centre and in Peshawar are rightly owning the war on terror.
ESCHMALL SARDAR,
Peshawar, November 2.