The rebirth of terror and extremism | By Tariq Aqil


The rebirth of terror and extremism

THE sceptre of religious extremism bigotry terror and bloodshed is once again visible on the horizon in the KP and the border region with Afghanistan.

Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand and Swat are once again witnessing the rebirth of the Taliban where there are very visible signs that the extremist band of Islamic fanatics called the Taliban are again active and launching armed attacks on innocent citizens, peace committee members and ANP leaders and our law enforcement agencies appear to be simply helpless to thwart their ruthless onslaught.

Prominent leader of the ANP Aimal Wali Khan has warned that the KP province is once again sliding into the chaotic and barbaric grip of the Taliban and they are now targeting their opponents with impunity.

There have been about 250 incidents of brutal attacks on the security forces and many cases of targeted killing and death threats to many prominent people.

It now appears that these butchers of the TTP are now under the protection of some powerful local groups or even some elements in the security and law enforcement agencies.

The present wave of terror is the result of the political agenda of a banned terrorist organization hell bent on enforcing their own model of governance based on their own narrow interpretation of Islamic Sharia and this is due to the lack of will to implement the laws of the land and this attitude of the government has enabled the terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities and create mayhem and terror in the country.

Our law enforcement agencies are fully empowered under the Criminal Procedure Code, Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-terrorism Act 1997 and the Anti-Money Laundering Act and yet the state machinery appears to be inactive and helpless in meeting the challenge of this rising tide of terrorism.

On September 13 eight people were gunned down by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in Swat and the TTP also claimed responsibility for the attack on a member of the peace committee Idrees Khan and two policemen by the use of an improvised explosive device.

On this very day seven staffers of an international cellular numbers were kidnapped by the militants who put in a demand for a ransom of ten million rupees.

Social workers, peace activists and political leaders have appealed to the government to check the rise of the TTP before they are able to establish their writ and we see the horrific and gory scenes of 2007 when the Taliban ruled the roost in Swat and Malakand but so far the government does not seem to take this threat seriously.

According to a local prominent political leader “The militants are coming from neighbouring Afghanistan … The Taliban are sending threatening letters to people for extortion.

They are kidnapping people for ransom,” he said. He said the residents would march to Islamabad’s capital unless the situation changes.

“We need peace and prosperity and want the security agencies to stop the militants. ” His mother sustained serious injuries when the Taliban fired a rocket at his home in 2008.

He said the residents wanted military action to clear the area of terrorists and warned of public reaction in case these acts of militancy didn’t stop.

“People want peace at any cost. We are united against militancy. Nobody will be allowed to disrupt peace in the area,” he said.

The beautiful valley of Swat was under the unlawful and vicious grip of the Taliban from 2007 to 2010 when the entire area was officially handed over to them by the Nizam-i-Adal resolution of the National Assembly and then the bloodthirsty goons of the TTP were thrown out by the army by a very well planned military operation.

It was only after the rise of power of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2021 that the Taliban have once again started to gain power and influence in Swat and the tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan.

On August 10 the TTP captured two officers including one army officer in Swat and released their video and they were released after negotiations by a committee of tribal elders of the region.

This incident once again sent a wave of terror and fear among the local population. “We have bitter experience of militancy when security personnel, singers, political leaders and civil society members were executed in the main bazaar of Swat.

Taliban militants banned women doctors, nurses, and female teachers from work,” Shafiq Khan, a resident, told newsmen.

Successive Governments in the past particularly the very recent government of the PTI have followed a policy of appeasement of the Taliban and other religious extremist militant groups.

Right from the adoption of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 to this day we have seen government of the day retreating from taking any action against political groups operating under the banner of Islam.

—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.


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