Hussain says the civilian coalition government consisting of the
Pakistan People's Party, the Awami National Party, and the Muthaida
Qaumi Movement is now in favor of such an operation. Hussain says the
government now needs to generate consensus with the opposition parties
Many among the opposition have already expressed their backing.
The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has advocated
talking to the Taliban over confronting them, now appears to be taking a
"The government should launch this operation because of its own interest
and not because of being pushed by outside powers," says Amir Muqam, a
PML-N lawmaker who was targeted by Taliban suicide bombers in the past.
"It should convince the parliament and call a conference of all
political parties to convince their leaders [about the urgency of such
an offensive]. Everybody is against terrorism and finishing it off is in
our best interests."
Popular Demand For Action
Clerics have also joined the calls for taking the fight to the Taliban.
Sahibzada Fazle Karim is head of the Sunni Ittehad Council, a powerful
group that issued a fatwa, or religious decree, denouncing the Taliban's
justification for targeting Malala Yousafzai.
"We want an immediate operation against the Taliban and will completely
support the government," he told journalists on October 15, adding that
the Taliban's only ideology was "terrorism."
Similar calls have been made across the country at small candlelight
vigils, big political rallies, in newspaper columns, and on television
An editorial on October 16 in the country's leading English-language
daily, the "Express Tribune," concluded that "Pakistan has to fight
terrorism and North Waziristan is the battleground." It added that the
"world will rally around Pakistan if it decides to fight its own war."
Punjab Heartland Raises Its Voice
Khadim Hussain, an Islamabad-based political commentator, says Malala's
shooting has piled pressure on the government by forging unprecedented
unity among Pakistanis on the fundamental issue of being able to lead a
normal life in a peaceful country.
Hussain says that for the first time the demand for a North Waziristan
offensive has turned into a popular cause in the eastern Punjab
Punjab is home to some 60 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people. Most
of the military's rank-and-file comes from the province.
This wealthy industrial and agricultural heartland of Pakistan has
generally been spared the violence gripping the northwestern tribal
regions and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. But its cities have endured
"From the majority Punjab region, the demands for such an offensive are
emerging as a very strong popular demand. This puts huge pressure on the
Pakistani military," Hussain says. "So I think they will not be able to
trample over it."