Disturbing as the words and images are in the video, the strongest proof that Pakistani claims of “sovereignty” in the tribal area are a fiction aren’t footage of the vicious attack, but rather the simple introductory graphics at the beginning of the video. The person selling this video is so confident that he won’t be bothered by the Pakistani Army that he provides the name of his business (Unique Computers), his name (Shahjee) and the location of his shop (Tawakal Market, Wana, South Waziristan). He is not just selling but openly advertising that he sells videos advocating the murder of Pakistani Army soldiers. These videos are for sale a mile and a half from the major Pakistani Army base in Wana. The Pakistani Army’s inability to police such fulminating militant activity on their own doorstep suggests that instead of sovereign control, what Pakistan’s Army really has in these tribal areas is a tenuous toehold.
Another key proof of this is the surreal custom of negotiating what are known as “Road Opening Days.” Road opening days are designated days during which local militants allow the Pakistani Army to move troops and equipment on the roads and agree not to attack them.
It is self -evident that any region you must obtain permission from others to transit is not a region you have sovereign control of.