The day the army chief was reported as visiting Swat, two observations appeared on the editorial page of a national daily:
The first was: “People now have their reservations about the operation. They ask pertinent questions about it. They see a lack of willingness on the part of the state to curb the militancy. This perception is now held by the intelligentsia, particularly the Pakhtun intelligentsia. They contend that if the state’s military can stand up to a military as strong and large as India’s, how can it not handle an internal insurgency carried out by a few thousand armed men?” (Five thousand terrorists are fighting twenty thousand troops.)
The second serious observation was: “However, even some of the more historically accurate narratives which acknowledge the deep consensual relationship between the religious right and the military establishment do not consider how this relationship has evolved and why the religious right is able to make inroads into society (regardless of whether it is supported by the establishment or not)”.
But one can understand the situation in the light of the media-supported mass sympathy for the terrorists of Lal Masjid in 2007, which redounded to the advantage of the Swat Taliban. Why should the army oppose something that the channels-led people find acceptable? But after more than a year, and despite these channels, public opinion has changed and it is time to grasp the nettle of terrorism-supported parallel government in Swat. (Daily Times)