Fight against terrorism not yet over | By Malik M Ashraf


Fight against terrorism not yet over

WHILE there are no two opinions about the fact that our armed forces, intelligence out fits and other law enforcing agencies have broken the back of terrorists and cleared Pakistan territory of their bases and hideouts, the fight against terrorism is not yet over.

These entities still have the ability and capacity to carry out sporadic acts of terrorism through their remnants and agents wedded to their ideology.

The suicide bomb attack at Serena hotel Quetta last Wednesday — claimed by TTP— in which five persons were killed and dozens injured is a stark reminder to this detestable reality.

In a prepared statement, the militants identified a meeting of local and Chinese foreign officials as the intended target.

While sporadic acts of terrorism have also been witnessed in North and South Waziristan, Balochistan seems to be the focus of terrorists and insurgents.

The IS militants killed 11 coal miners belonging to Hazara community on 03, 2021 after kidnapping them in Machh, Balochistan.

It was preceded by an attack on security forces in Ormara in October 2020 resulting in the martyrdom of several soldiers and security guards and assault on the FC post in Harnai killing seven FC personnel.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed condemning the attack at Serena hotelas a terrorist act told a local television channel that the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan and his delegation were staying in the hotel, however they were attending an event elsewhere in the city at the time of the blast.

He also raised an accusing finger towards India.

He may not have been off the mark in saying that because TTP is known to have links with Indian RAW and the Afghan intelligence agency DNS.

It has been carrying out acts of terrorism within Pakistan with their support. They have been using Afghan territory for their nefarious acts and the Afghan government regrettably has failed to take action against terrorists based on its soil in spite of several interactions between the civilian and military leaders of the two countries.

Baloch militants have also found sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The confessions by Kalbhushan Jhadav also testifies to Indian involvement in acts of terrorism and support to the Baloch insurgents.

The statement issued by TTP leaves no doubt about the fact that the attack was a part of its efforts to sabotage CPEC; an objective also being pursued by the Baloch insurgents.

The province has been in the grip of sectarian and separatist terrorism for a long time.

However these incidents in no way reflect on the dedication and commitment of the nation and its security forces to eliminate this scourge.

According to official sources during the last twenty years 1200 operations were conducted to root out terror outfits killing 18000 of them besides killing and capturing 1100 Al Qaeda operatives and Pakistan also shared intelligence with 70 countries.

The effort according these sources cost the country 83000 lives including civilians and security personnel and financial loss to the tune of $ 126 billion.

Over 3,71,000 intelligence-based operations were conducted under operation Radd-ul-Fasad and resultantly terrorists’ support bases, their facilitators, abettors and financiers have been eliminated and no organized terrorist infrastructure exist in Pakistan.

Resultantly terrorist incidents had declined by 45 percent and over 50 per cent terrorist threats were averted during the last year.

Similarly Karachi has witnessed a decline of 95 per cent in incidents of terrorism, 98 percent in target killing, 99 percent in extortion and 98 percent in kidnapping for ransom.

The foregoing realities amply prove that our security forces and intelligence apparatus is dealing with the phenomenon of terrorism in an effective manner.

However If we look at the history of countries which had to face the scourge of terrorism and how long it took them to eliminate and subdue the menace, it can be safely inferred from their experience that there is no quick fix solution to it.

For them fighting terrorism invariably has been a long drawn out war with debilitating social, economic and political consequences. Italy and Sri Lanka are the examples in the recent history.

Terrorism in Pakistan requires fighting through military muscle as well as on ideological front which is probably the most important aspect of the crusade against it.

A sustained and vigorous campaign against all its manifestations with unswerving commitment and resolve is needed to neutralise philosophy of terrorists which helps them to swell their ranks and motivates its operatives to resort to acts like suicide bombing.

The dilemma is that Pakistan is faced with two-dimensional terrorist threat both internal and external which makes things really complicated.

Ending foreign support to terrorists and separatist outfits actually hinges on peace in Afghanistan and till such time peace remains elusive there it would be difficult to eliminate foreign dimension to acts of terrorism in the country.

Nevertheless in spite of some factors being beyond the control of our security forces, there has been no slackness in the determination and efforts on their part to take the fight against terrorism to its logical end. The government and people stand behind them to win this war.

Notwithstanding lack of positive response from the Afghan government Pakistan took a unilateral decision to fence the entire border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and to establish watch post to check cross-border movement of the terrorists.

Reportedly 83 % of the fencing of the 2611 km border with Afghanistan has been completed so far and the rest is likely to be completed by mid-year. Similarly 37 percent fencing along Pak-Iran border has also been erected.

Hopefully Pakistan would emerge triumphant against the phenomenon of terrorism in the near future as a result of all the foregoing efforts and achievements.

— The writer is former Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, based in Islamabad.

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