The Counter-insurgency in North Waziristan: A Discussion with Ikram Sehgal

East West Institute Board Member Ikram Sehgal led a discussion on the serious security situation in North Waziristan, Pakistan on August 7, 2014 here in New York. During an hour-long discussion, Ikram Sehgal spoke about security threats and opportunities within North Waziristan, Pakistan.

He began by noting that Pakistani public opinion is united around the current military campaign in the region to combat the ever present Taliban forces in the area. He claimed that terrorism in Pakistan is no longer about ideology but rather economic gains and mentioned that groups within the country have gained financial support from the private sector, adding to their power.

To fight terrorism, Sehgal pointed to four key steps:
1. Destroying terrorist safe havens
2. Eliminating terrorist groups
3. Restoring the power of the Pakistani government
4. Shaping a suitable environment for sustainable development.

Additionally, because terrorism within Pakistan is not a country specific problem but rather a regional one, a regional counter-terrorism force should be implemented. There is not likely to be an end to terrorism in Pakistan anytime soon due to its long-standing establishment within the country and the weakness of Pakistan’s army. However, there are other options moving forward.

China is now one of the largest players within Pakistan, investing in Pakistan’s compromised energy sector and helping with development. Sehgal ended the discussion optimistically, but stressed the need for continued cooperation both with China and the U.S Ikram Sehgal is the Chairman of PATHFINDER GROUP, comprising two of the largest private security Pakistani companies, with 15,000 employees in over 50 cities and towns in Pakistan, supported independently by electronics security and facility services companies.

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