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US might opt for air strikes in Waziristan, warn experts


September 26, 2011 - Defence and security experts have forewarned the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan that the US might opt for air strikes in North Waziristan. However, they believe that the US would not take out a ground offensive inside Pakistan. Commenting on Pak-US relations in the backdrop of mounting US pressure on Pakistani government and allegations against the Pakistan Army, former ISI Chief, Lt. General (r) Javed Ashraf Qazi said Pak-US tension was a serious issue for Pakistan. He said the US had mounted a baseless campaign against Pakistan, which was not without ulterior motives....

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US might opt for air strikes in Waziristan, warn experts

by TAHIR NIAZ

September 26, 2011

Corps commanders exploring options if US attempts attacks inside Pakistan; Ask civil, military leadership to present united front

ISLAMABAD - Defence and security experts have forewarned the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan that the US might opt for air strikes in North Waziristan. However, they believe that the US would not take out a ground offensive inside Pakistan.

Commenting on Pak-US relations in the backdrop of mounting US pressure on Pakistani government and allegations against the Pakistan Army, former ISI Chief, Lt. General (r) Javed Ashraf Qazi said Pak-US tension was a serious issue for Pakistan. He said the US had mounted a baseless campaign against Pakistan, which was not without ulterior motives.

He said, "Pakistan has to see whether the US wants to isolate it on the diplomatic front, capture its nukes, is preparing ground to impose economic sanctions against it, table an anti-Pakistan resolution in the UN or wants to launch a military action against it," he said. Qazi said Pakistan must view itself as vulnerability and prepare a concrete strategy to bear a US onslaught.

Asked how significant the two corps commanders meetings held last month were, Qazi said the forum discussed the situation and discussed a military field strategy to counter any US offensive. He warned the US might opt for air strikes in North Waziristan and take out selective helicopter operations inside Pakistani territory.

However, he said the US will not dare a ground offence inside Pakistan. However, he said blocking NATO supplies would be an extreme step, which should be chosen if UN sanctions were imposed against it. Prominent security analyst Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi said if the US continues its public denunciation, it will irreparably damage Pak-US relations and undermine US efforts to control terrorism in the region.

He said the two corps commander meetings this month suggested military officials were weary of the direct and blunt US campaign. He said the US might use their military might in North Waziristan and the corps commanders wanted to discuss the options available to Pakistan in such a situation. He said the US had two options but neither would ensure US success in the region.

However, he said, exercising these options will destroy Pak-US relations in all fields. He said a US attack on Pakistan will strengthen religious hardliners. On the question of blocking NATO supplies, Rizvi said Pakistan could opt for the strategy if the US decided to use military power inside Pakistan. Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the political and military leadership should evolve a joint strategy to face mounting US pressure on Pakistan.

"We should give message to the US in one voice that we are united. Mixed signals in this regard could cause losses to the country," he added. Former ISI director general Lt General (r) Hameed Gul said US generals were not admitting defeat in Afghanistan and wished to make Pakistan scapegoat in Afghanistan war instead. He said the US had failed in Afghanistan and even Kabul was not under its control. He said the Haqqani network had moved inside Afghanistan and Pakistan had nothing to do with them.

He said President Obama had asked the US military to make significant progress by October and, having failed to do so, the US military had opted to criticise Pakistan for its own failures. He said that US administration was divided on the issue with the camp comprising India, Israel and Pentagon on one side and the White House on the other.

He said if Pakistan decided to cut the NATO supply line, the US would be left nowhere. He said the civilian and military leadership must unite. Security analyst Talat Masood said exchange of rhetoric between Pakistan and the US could produce a collision. He said Pakistan could pressure Haqqani militants to leave Pakistan to avert a US confrontation. He said it would be best both Pakistan and the US step back to avoid things getting worse.


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:: Article nr. 81818 sent on 27-sep-2011 18:05 ECT

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