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Page last updated at 01:10 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Pakistanis 'united against the Taliban'

The Pakistani army operation in South Waziristan has been accompanied by a string of deadly bomb attacks on civilian and military targets across the country.

Here, ordinary Pakistanis describe the impact frequent attacks have on their lives and their hopes that the army succeeds in South Waziristan.

UMAR AZMAT WAZIR, FROM SOUTH WAZIRISTAN, NOW IN PESHAWAR
Umar Azmat Wazir

My family left our home in Shakai - a remote valley in South Waziristan, in 2003. We left because of the bad security situation and because we couldn't accept the doctrine of the militants.

Since then we've been living in Peshawar. We've experienced many suicide attacks lately, especially since the army started its offensive in South Waziristan.

This has changed the daily life and habits of every resident of the city. In the past we would go shopping, we would go to cafes and the stadium during weekends, to the cheap bazaar on Sundays. Most people, including me, avoid going to those places now.

I would love to be able to return to my home and to work for the development of a democratic system there

Peshawar is closest to the militants' stonghold, so everybody is aware that attacks here can be engineered easily and that more attacks might follow.

The Taliban want to put pressure on the government. It's their strategy to halt the operation in South Waziristan. But in my view that objective cannot be achieved because all Pakistanis are united against the terrorists who brought misery to them.

The army was successful in Swat and I hope it will be successful in South Waziristan too. But it's very important that measures are taken to prevent militants from going over to Afghanistan where they can find havens.

More US and UK troops need to be positioned on the Afghan side of the border. Only then can the threat be removed.

I would love to be able to return to my home and to work for the development of a democratic system there.

Most of all, I would love to work on educational projects there, because the basic problem of our area is poor education and illiteracy. Educated Waziristani youth will be the guaranty of peace and prosperity.

AWAIS ABBASI, ENGINEERING STUDENT, ISLAMABAD

Awais Abbasi

The recent attack on the Islamic University has inflicted great trauma on me and many of my Pakistani brothers and sisters.

This incident has made one thing clear - that terrorists are following us everywhere: in mosques, shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and even educational institutions.

The government has closed many schools and universities, including mine, due to security concerns. It's exactly like a state of war, a war which is more frightening, because we can't see the face of our enemies. They just come from somewhere and take hundreds of lives in seconds.

Drone attacks are nothing more than a game of 'whack a mole', while the mole works on plans for large scale terrorist attacks

This war is affecting every aspect of our lives: our behaviour, emotions and thoughts. Many of my friends are experiencing trauma in different forms: losing control of emotions and having nightmares of getting killed in an explosion.

They can never combat terrorism by launching military operations in South Waziristan or any other tribal area of Pakistan. I think that only breeds hatred and a sense of deprivation among local people.

Drone attacks are nothing more than a game of "whack a mole", while the mole works on plans for large scale terrorist attacks.

If you kill three or four terrorists, you will lose hundreds of people, as happens in Pakistan these days.

The 1,500-mile-long border Afghanistan shares with Pakistan is a wild and dangerous place, one that is ruled by gunmen. The border plays a vital role in the growing insurgency in Pakistan and promotes the trade of opium.

The border should be sealed and no illegal immigration between the two countries should be allowed.

SYED AHMED, KARACHI

There is growing fear in Pakistan's major cities. People refrain from going out unnecessarily. Shopping places are deserted and there are very few people hanging out in public places.

The militants are not only involved in bombings and killings, they are also frequently caught snatching mobile phones and cash from houses and people waiting at bus stops.

The Taliban are not fit to stand in front of an army

The Pakistani army is doing a great job by fighting these hard-core militants in a very complex area. I am very hopeful that the army will achieve their goal because the thought of losing the battle with the extremists horrifies me.

The Taliban can be easily defeated. You must have noticed that they are not interested in killing individuals of the armed forces, they are always after collateral damage, that can tear apart the emotions of the society. This proves that they are not fit to stand in front of an army.

The best way is to stop them entering big cities at any cost. The government should consider beefing up security at all exit and entry points. The coastal line around Karachi should be monitored 24 hours a day. No one should be allowed in without proof of address.

The government should also have a plan for educating the masses of South Waziristan. Poor education brings flawed way of thinking.

AKSEER SAFDAR, TELECOMMUNICATIONS WORKER, ISLAMABAD
Akseer Safdar

I feel highly depressed by the current security situation in the country. There is a growing fear in Islamabad and other cities of Pakistan about the increasing threat of militancy and suicide bomb attacks.

This menace has affected our daily habits - people fear to go out to public places and markets. The Taliban seem to be dictating to us how to live our lives.

The militants are striking hard in their attempts to demoralise ordinary people and the security agencies. But, having seen the recent success of the army in Swat, I and many of my colleagues are quite optimistic about the outcome of the operation in South Waziristan.

The Taliban are hard-core militants who have no respect for either the religion of Islam or humanity. They want to impose their dark vision on the rest of the world and particularly on Pakistan.

In recent days, the Pakistani military has found solid evidence leading to Indian involvement in funding these extremists. The long-term solution would be to go after the militants with full force while at the same time destroying their life line, which means conveying some tough messages to neighbouring countries.



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