Dr Nasreen Akhtar
NEO-terrorism in Pakistan is, internally and externally, structured, deliberated and more planned. Though terrorism has no universal definition but the recent terrorist attacks in North Waziristan have defined terrorism vis-a-vis Pakistan. The Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is a new political phenomenon which has pronounced war against Pakistan Army. PTM’s leaders have escalated the new wave of terrorism in North Waziristan and they have exploited people’s sentiments, their poverty and insecurity against Pakistan’s Army which is protecting this area from external enemies and their sponsored terrorists. Question arsis that why has PTM’s leadership changed its previous demands? They have made new demands after the check post incident that is “soldiers must leave Waziristan, else they would be killed”, Mohsin Dawar, who claims to be Afghani, has challenged the Pak Army. Being PTM’s leader how is he protecting Pakistani Pashtoons if he is Afghani? Whose objectives are being served?
The purpose of neo-terrorism is to serve and protect the strategic interests of India and Afghanistan – to destabilise Pakistan, divide the society and fanning insurgency in Waziristan which had become a peaceful area after operation Zarb-e-Azb. Every sane voice has endorsed the statement of Amjad Shah, Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman’ that “any demand of an individual or groups which is within the constitution must be fulfilled by the government. But, a few members of PTM are inciting people for separation and are demonising the State institutions through an empty rhetoric which comes in the ambit to treason.” The main purpose of neo-terrorism is to promote separatism movement in Pakistan and to please India and Afghanistan not the Pashtoon community. DG, ISPR, has revealed in his press conference that PTM has received heavy funding from NDS and RAW (Afghan/Indian spy agencies). Ironically, some political parties are supporting PTM’s narrative and defended in the name of “freedom of expression”. This phenomenon of neo-terrorism has political support.
Mohsin Drawar’s anti-state speeches and his appeal to President Trump have exposed PTM’s agenda i.e. to defame the Pak Army. International media – Voice of America, CNN and BBC are projecting PTM’s narrative. Thus international media is supporting and strengthening neo-terrorism in Pakistan. In North Waziristan soldiers sacrificed their lives for peace. PTM should realise and appreciate them, but this new political party has emerged to defame Pak Army. Generally, Pakistani people love their soldiers – martyrs and warriors. They believe that Pakistan’s survival is not possible without its strong army. The army has always come forward during internal and external crises and never disappointed the nation. Since 2001, Pakistan Army is fighting against terrorism. As we know “the War on Terror has caused more suffering, deaths and destruction to the people of Pakistan than of any other country in the world” and more than 7,000 army personnel have sacrificed their lives in this extended war- from Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Deliberately, war on terrorism was imposed on Pakistan. Several international militants had safe havens in one of Pakistan’s important area, North Waziristan (NW), they were supporting Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the powerful terrorist organization. Pakistan’s Army eliminated them. For the last several months neo-terrorism has taken place in North Waziristan. It seems PTM has replaced TTP, it has the same anti-army ideology. PTM was established to protect its community but gradually its anti-Pakistan agenda exposed. Like TTP, PTM also received heavy funds from India and Afghanistan. It has surprised the world by attacking the army check post in North Waziristan. Ironically, PTM’s two elected Parliamentarians were involved and they instigated the innocent voters.
Pakistan’s Army achieved landmark victory during Swat operation 2009. During operation TTP’s sanctuaries were eliminated and writ of the state was established which was challenged by Mullah Fazlullah – self-imposed Caliph in Swat Valley, now, he is known as tyrant and ruthless by the people of Swat. He also convinced his people that he would serve them. People supported him as their well wisher and gave money to build schools and mosques. But he empowered himself and misused people’s support and money. He emerged as a powerful Mullah and killed his own people – who refused to accept his misinterpreted Shariah. Mullah Fazullah instigated his supporters against Pakistan Army and beheaded soldiers. During operation he managed to escape and found safe haven in Afghanistan. For several years he operated from Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan. One of his close comrades, Ehsanullah Ehsan, revealed that TTP received funds from Afghanistan and India, NDS and RAW, both provided heavy amounts to TTP to destabilise Pakistan. One of TTP’s persons, Khorasani, said that “even Israel wants to fund me to destabilise Pakistan; I will not hesitate to take its help”.
After Swat operation Taliban continued their attacks on Pakistani security forces and installations. They had established strong and safe havens in NW. TTP had stronghold in this area and the people of North Waziristan were suffering in the hands of militants, foreign funded militant wings were active in Waziristan. On June 15th 2014, Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched with the support of political leadership and political consensus was developed to establish the military courts. Zarb-e-Azb was a comprehensive military strategy to eliminate terrorists and their network .Full scale military offensive successfully eliminated terrorist hideouts. Before to launch military operation the local population migrated from war zone area and they were provided safe shelters in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Within a few month operation was completed and people safely returned to their homes. The army helped them to rehabilitate, unfortunately, political government would not deliver and the area remained poor. In 2016, General Raheel Sharif said “ Zarb-e-Azb was launched against terrorists and all hues and colours, with terrorist sanctuaries dismantled during the operation without discrimination”, Pakistan had become safer than it was before the launch of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
—The writer is Assistant Professor, IIUI, Islamabad.