The Parliament ratified the Nizam-e-Adl Accord but the same was rejected by the militants, and Maulana Sufi Muhammad, directly targeted the core-values of the Pakistani nation, by saying, that the Constitution of Pakistan and the courts of justice were un-Islamic, democracy was Kufr, and therefore Shariah was the law, to be imposed on whole of Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan reacted sharply and decided to launch the operation Rah-e-Rast, without consulting the Cabinet or the Parliament, as they were "under tremendous pressure" and the pressing need in Washington to present "the gift of army operation and annulment of Nizam-e-Adl, to Obama." Whatever the justification, the military operation is on and the militants are being chased-out of their hide-outs and killed, and the people of Swat have fled to safety, to the plains of NWFP, Punjab and as far as Karachi. Their number is estimated to be over two and a half million. They are living under make-shift arrangements hoping to return to their hearth and home, once army gives the all clear signal. How much time the army will take to clear the area, is anybody's guess. The prime minister called the All Parties Conference, which endorsed the government decision "to clear the area of the militants," but did not discuss the "political agenda" which must move parallel to the army action, so that the political process could start, as soon as the Army had delivered. No doubt the army will deliver, as in the past, but in the absence of the political agenda, the gains may be lost, as it happened in East Pakistan in 1971 and Balochistan in 1975. In 1971, in East Pakistan, the army action started on March 25, and as the build-up started, 9 Division from West Pakistan, flew to East Pakistan, landed at Dhaka and then to the garrisons at Sylhet, Comilla and Chittagong. We have had no heavy weapons except a decimated field regiment of artillery, a few vehicles and no logistics, yet, step by step, our division was able to secure the entire area East of Meghna river, from Sylhet to Coxes Bazar. Our troops performed brilliantly under those very trying conditions showing such feats of courage and sacrifice and so did the other formations to the west of the Meghna river. By end July the entire territories of East Pakistan, were brought under control. Pakistan flags started appearing on the house-tops. The army had delivered and the political process had to begin but that was not to be. In early August the Eastern Command called a meeting of the sector commanders. I also attended as the GSO-1 of 9 Division. General Niazi (Tiger Niazi) was jubilant at the success achieved and after a few dirty jokes, gave his offensive plans towards Calcutta, Jaipalguri and Agartala. Our GOC, General Shaukat Reza, scoffed at the plans and said: "It was time for the political process to be started because we are in no position to undertake any such offensive operations. At best we can hold what we hold now." Tiger Niazi did not like these comments. He said: "Bangoos are on the run and we will chase them to Hell." The meeting ended abruptly. Within a week General Shaukat Reza was posted out and a new GOC took over 9 Division. The new GOC would amend, improve and change the 'daily situation report', I used to submit. A rosy picture was presented whereas the situation on ground had started going from bad to worse, as the Indian had directly started supporting the Mukti-Bahni. I felt guilty of false reporting and one fine morning I walked into the GOC office and said: "Sir, I request that the facts are not distorted and the daily reports are sent to Eastern Command HQ, as they are received from the formations." The GOCs face turned red and he shouted: "Get-out." Within a week I was dispatched to West Pakistan, where I waited for my court-martial, but it was never to be. Therefore, August onwards, East Pakistan remained in a state of drift, decline and decay, till it collapsed. In 1974, the army was launched against the Mari and Bugti tribes of Balochistan. I was commanding a brigade, which at times had six to seven battalions under command. After having operated in Mari areas for several months, we moved down to Dera Bugti and the brigade HQ was set-up close to Bugti Fort. Early April, I got the message that the Prime Minister, Mr Bhutto would be visiting my HQ and he also wanted to address a public meeting. Arranging for a public meeting was a new experience, but surprisingly 5-6000 Bugtis collected. The corps commander and the GOC also arrived to receive the PM. After a short briefing at my HQ the PM addressed the public meeting. He received thunderous applause. And as he returned to the HQ, for tea, he said: "I would like to visit the Bugti House, inform them." The corps commander and the GOC, didn't approve the visit, because, it was not safe. There were 300-400 armed Bugtis inside. He said: "No, No, I know Baloch traditions, and I must visit them. Let's go." I drove him into the fort under the hostile-gaze of the armed Bugtis. Mr Bhutto was received by Saleem Bugti. Prime Minister Bhutto offered Fateha and after a cup of tea as we drove back I asked him: "Sir, do you have a political agenda now that, the army has delivered. You have seen the response of the locals in the public meeting." He replied, "Yes we are working on it and soon you will hear about it. You and our teams, together, will have to implement it." Days and months passed and we received no political guidance. The state of drift continued, till Bhutto's government fell in 1977 under the third military take over, which lasted for eleven years. Fourteen years later, when Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto took over as prime minister in 1988, I requested her to call back the ANP leaders, workers and Mari tribesmen, living in exile in Afghanistan since 1974. She sent the message and all of them returned, including Ajmal Khattak and others. The Mari tribesmen could not go back to their places in Kohlu and Kahan areas, because there were no means of livelihood there and preferred to stay at the outskirts of Quetta, where, they continue to dwell till today, in the slums, with no body ever to bother to give them permanent dwellings. That is the kind of neglect, which has created such dissent against the central authority, amounting to rebellion under the banner of Balochistan Liberation Army. The problems that we face today are of much greater magnitude. We may not talk to Sufi Muhammad and Fazlullah, as they have lost credibility, but there are many in Malakand and Swat, and amongst the two and a half million IDPs who could help form a Shoora to establish peace and undertake rehabilitation. We have a hostile neighbour, a porous border and the pressing demand for "shifting the centre of gravity of war to Pakistan" - Holbrooke. In this context, Mr Zardari's statement that "military operations will be extended to Waziristan also," spells a 'dangerous drift'. It is indeed ironical that momentous decisions are taken without deliberations, "under tremendous pressure" ignoring the Parliament, and the political system, as if it were totally redundant. It is for this reason that we stumble into from one tragedy to another. Louis Adolphe - a French statesman, rightly said: "Everything must be taken seriously nothing tragically." The writer is former COAS, Pakistan. E-mail: