Often at its mercy, Pakistan has seldom criticized the Taliban, let alone act against it.
Until now, that is.
It has now decided to freeze the accounts of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, the group led by the shadowy Baitullah Mehsud. Perhaps this had to do with the recent blasts at the Pakistan ordnance factory at Wah, in which 78 persons were killed and more than 100 injured. On Sunday, another 42 were killed in a fierce fight with militants in the Kurram area bordering Afghanistan.
If the ban is meant to tame the Taliban, it’s weak medicine. Terrorist groups mutate with ease in Pakistan. In the past, many such groups operating from Pakistani soil against India have adopted this tactic.
The ban coincides with the move to elevate Pakistan Peoples Party boss Asif Ali Zardari to the country’s presidency. As a result, it may have more to do with seeking Washington’s blessings and less with wiping out militancy. That will help no one. Pakistan needs a coherent military strategy if its fraying western border is to return to normalcy. But given the political catfight in Islamabad, that course of action seems remote.