• Monday, June 17, 2019

Gen (R) Tariq khan interview

Discussion in 'Pakistan Army' started by Farah Sohail, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Farah Sohail

    Farah Sohail SENIOR MEMBER

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    Decorated with a Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) and a Legion of Merit, recently retired Lt Gen Tariq Khan commanded several operations against Taliban and other militants, including the Battle of Bajaur, or Operation Sherdil. Ali K Chishti spoke to him about militancy, defense policy and civil-military ties

    You transformed the Frontier Corps into a fierce fighting force and won the Battle of Bajaur? How was the experience fighting the war?

    A conflict in our own area is hardly a war, and a military success on one’s own territory is a no-winner. Success is measured in other terms. The military can only create conditions for those measures to be put in place that contribute to real victory.

    Fighting in FATA was a new experience for me. It involved me in a conflict in an area in which I was one of the people and very close to them. Being familiar with the geography and the peculiarities of the area, I was aware that the conflict was not against ‘our own people’ but against elements who had forced themselves on the population through coercion and violence. In my experience, the people felt abandoned and neglected, so the battle we were fighting was to establish the lost writ of the government as well as to empower the people and the tribes to take control of their own area and their own destiny. It was tragic in that the fallout of battle touched the lives of many innocent women and children, who became anonymous casualties of war. We were restricted in our use of firepower to avoid collateral damage.

    How can we achieve that ‘real victory’?

    There are many angles to the problem.

    There is a military angle, in which success against any insurgency and controlling the militants is measured in four critical ways – Do you control the roads? Is the population supporting the military? Are government offices, such as the political agent’s office and the courts, functional? And lastly, do you have visibility on the area’s exits and entries?

    Then there is a social angle to it – that the local populace has the confidence to reject the ideological or political agenda of the militants. Ideologically, it is important not to allow hostile narrative and propaganda to be broadcast uncontested. The radio station run by Mullah Fazlullah, popularly known as Mullah Radio, and effective use of international press by Muslim Khan, are two such examples. Their narrative was not countered. This problem still persists.

    There is also an administrative angle, which involves equal opportunities, justice and fair play, even distribution of resources, and development. Without these, parallel systems emerge and non-state actors fill up the vacuum.

    There is also a political angle to the problem. Some of our politicians played to the galleries. Extremists and militants found a political face in various parties, which afforded them greater political space and relevance.

    Poor governance creates an environment that is exploited by hostile agencies. International funding, external interference, and political interfacing (such as Baloch separatist movements in the UK) also provide resources and legitimacy to militancy.

    In order to succeed against militancy, we will need tangible steps and a firm resolve demonstrated through improved governance.

    The threat from India is permanent

    And is our number one enemy internal or external? Has the army’s security doctrine changed in the recent years?

    It is not one or the other. Our external threats are limited to India, who we consider an enemy state, and who will always undertake activity to undermine our stability just as we would, given a similar opportunity.

    Insurgency and militancy must be dealt with at our earliest, but it is a situational feature and not a permanent one. We cannot remove India from the map, and so the threat from India is a permanent feature. This threat needs a response in the form of deterrence.

    When I was in the field, I had evidence of Indian support to militancy in FATA and Balochistan. They fund and resource militancy in a big way. I fail to understand the international indifference to the numerous Indian consulates along Pakistan’s Western border in Afghanistan. Surely they are not in the business of processing visas.

    Thus, Pakistan’s external and internal threats both gravitate towards India.

    So are we going after all the militant organizations, including those fighting against India and Afghanistan?

    It is only the state’s prerogative to declare war or project an aggressive or friendly posture towards any other country. This right does not belong to any individual or community, or ‘non-state actors’. If one does not agree with a government’s stance, in a democracy it can be voted out of power.

    If we try and find justifications for such individuals or groups, or afford platforms for their apologists, we will not become a strong state. As such, there is no room for such Jihadists in a modern state.

    Afghanistan and Pakistan have been accusing each other of allowing their territory to be used against each other. How can we overcome this mutual mistrust?

    Pakistan has taken the brunt of the blame for the international failure in Afghanistan, and failed to present a counter-narrative for the better part of 14 years to the one-way harangue it suffered at the hands of an international media fed by hostile agencies.

    The relief and rotation plan for the ISAF forces in Afghanistan allowed failures to breed. In their six-month tenures, how could commanders come to grips with battleground and geography, let alone a subtle understanding of intelligence matters? All these international groups used interpreters and intelligence provided by the Northern Alliance, which has always blamed Pakistan for supporting the Taliban. These contingents carried home a poor image of the Pakistan and broadcasted it all over the globe. This was worsened by ISAF troops’ unprecedented military defeat in Afghanistan. Pakistan was a convenient scapegoat.

    I have such evidence as Indian shell dressings and medicines, and even a captured Indian vehicle with Hanuman painted on the door. But the evidence we present is explained away as being taken away from kidnapped Indian road workers. It is important that the people we present the evidence to, are willing to acknowledge your suspicions.

    We did not need a National Action Plan to arrest criminals

    The new Indian government has been hostile towards Pakistan. How should Islamabad respond?

    We have no plans or stated intent to attack but India wishes to conduct a military offensive if and when they think it is ‘cost effective’; and are always threatening to do so.

    A passive response to India’s aggression will only lead to more aggression. This is not bravado, or India-centric thinking. This is a logical response.

    Why should we allow India to shoot across the Line of Control and what possible justification allows a civilized country to do that?

    What are your views on the newly formulated National Action Plan? And has the military’s policy changed all of a sudden?

    So far, the National Action Plan appears to me as more of a publicity stunt. Its success is being measured in terms of arrests of criminals. We did not need a National Action Plan to arrest criminals, but to simply implement the law as it exists.

    What we need is depoliticizing the police, judicial reforms, madrassa reforms, reigning in the Maulvis, immigration control, dismantling banned outfits, arresting those responsible for sectarian conflict, stopping the free flow of funding for terrorism, and disbanding private armies and unauthorized armed guards.

    As for the military’s policy, nothing has happened suddenly. Of the 48,000 square kilometers of combat zone, 35,000 were cleared during General Kayani’s time. North Waziristan was not taken on for a host of reasons and one of them was lack of political support.

    Similarly, in Karachi, the government was uncomfortable with an Army-led response to the lawlessness in Karachi. Even now there is a sizeable resistance to these operations mounted by some political parties, specifically those that prevented them during their tenure when General Kayani was the COAS.

    The institution has remained consistent as far as its functional philosophy is concerned. Its performance may have fluctuated on account of varying influences, but its intent must never be put to question.

    There is talk of a serious mistrust between civil and military leaders. Is this a soft coup?

    In my 37 years of service, I have never seen the Army conduct itself the way it has in the recent past, bending over backwards to avoid interference in the government’s affairs, even when the conduct of the government necessitated it. I know this because of my presence on many occasions where the government had asked for a foreign policy paper from GHQ when it needed one. Incidentally, it usually contradicted any suggestions or recommendations in their subsequent actions. I have met ministers who have pleaded for a briefing before a foreign visit and visited GHQ incognito to get direction. I can assure you that the Army has neither been interested nor overbearing in these matters.

    The Karachi Operation is an outcome of the government’s request and not an Army initiative as some have come to mistakenly believe.

    It is important that a forum be organized where the public be informed about the civil military relationship; and to define who is responsible for what and who must be held. Without such a forum, governments will continue justifying their own failures by blaming the Army for not allowing them the space they needed to perform.

    ‘There is no room for non-state actors in a modern state’ ‹ The Friday Times
     
  2. Ghazwa e Hind

    Ghazwa e Hind BANNED

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    Gen Tariq Khan is one of most brilliant commanders Pak Army ever got. He revamped the Frontier Corps, placed his cards and won a political and military fight against TTP and Jamat Islami in Bajaur Agency. He is a cavalryman but he acted as a finest infantryman and liberated a part of our motherland. Political parties always played politically on talibans issue. Sectarian political parties declared TTP as innocent kids whereas right winged parties declared them as a blow back of military operations. Left winged parties blamed Musharaf for arousal of TTP. All parties did dirty political game on this national issue.

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  3. Umair Nawaz

    Umair Nawaz BANNED

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    Damn man why is that all the bold generals and AMs of Pakistan r funny looking people like that of Gen Tariq, Gen Janjua, AM late Noor Khan and AM Sohail Aman.:lol: