Unending saga of terrorism

Tariq Khalil

Quetta blast is horrible and reminder of the numerable sleeping cells of hostile agencies all over Pakistan. In my earlier postulations I always maintained hostile agencies penetration is deep both vertically and horizontally. Our civil law enforcement agencies are enslaved in political quagmire but also dejected and disheartened. They are asked to perform tasks beyond their capability. Political comprises do not allow the chain of corruption crime and terrorism broken. After every tragedy there is lot of activity for couple of days and state of complacency sets in. Thus in circles we move. Pakistan army can act as surgeon but post operation political government has to take over.
Unfortunately both earlier government and present government fell short. They have competent persons like Gen Qadir Baluch and General Janjua but it is observed bureaucratic juggernaut does not allow any meaning full actions. Our madaris are still centre of gravity in rural area, the maulana, madaris administrators have defied every effort to bring curriculum of these madaris in line with modern day education thus large segment of population still adhere to value system which part past of 14th century traditions, tribal customs mix and portrayed as Islamic teachings. Roti, Kapra and free education for poor masses in rural areas is great attraction. There is no alternative offered by the Governments both at centre and provinces.
There is no coordination between centre and provinces that resist any interference from centre after 18th Amendment which has disfigured the original Constitution of 1973 and in changing geo strategic environment internally and globally it needs to be revisited. Thus we have to strengthen civil law and order apparatus. NACTA, with my experience can say, will never take off. In middle eighties when I was given a task to coordinate intelligence agencies we failed since agencies guard their assets and rightly. Pakistan needs a body, inland Security Agency which gets the intelligence and to ensure action has operational arm with Federal Jurisdiction, coupled with vertical and horizontal Intelligence cooperation. But again 18th amendment will be hurdle else our legal minds has to find a solution.
The threat is emanating from three distinct areas which at some stage get coordinated. India has multiple interests, CPEC to be stopped or else delayed and made costly in all aspect, blood sacrifice and finances. Destabilise Pakistan to fall in line and agree on peace agreement on Indian terms offered by India. Containment of China and in this area Indian and US interests combine. Thus continue destabilise Balochistan, KPK and Karachi, fan religious ethnic tensions between Punjab and specially South Punjab.
Second is Indian control areas of Afghanistan which are serving as jumping pads for terrorism across border and with reservoir of hundred and thousand Afghan refugees are safe haven for terrorists, saboteurs and intelligence operators controlled by RAW using them and indigenous human material within Pakistan who play in their hand for multiple reasons. Thirdly anti Pakistan elements whose interest coincide and albeit usage of Al-Qaida and IS. These elements have the penetration in or political diaspora and hide behind the political shield. Any action against these element raise hue and cry of danger to democracy.
Fourth is economic terrorism by damaging every institution from within to make Pakistan vulnerable to economic default , increase to sabotage to projects(Steel Mills – PIA and many others), create wedge between provinces, communities ( Ajit Doval Strategy), income gaps and damage to crops and create conditions of chaos by getting appointed incompetent people on important and strategic projects. Create water scarcity, create confusion to build dams or not. Erode cultural moorings. Five but not last is corruption which like diabetes facilitate above all. Every researcher and good analyst know what I have said but million dollar question is what we are doing to check this.
We have to start work at grass root level where terrorist hide and exists the sleeping cells. Local bodies are already on ground and these are involved in security and any suspicious activity in the union council and even below at unit level. They should be encouraged to rise above party politics. These should be supported and coordinated at SHO, AC/DC and by CTD and Special Branch throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan covering rural and urban landscape. These then be linked at town and tehsil level, and then rising up to district and Division level where IB can come in to play… SHO and CTD should provide Rapid Reaction Force. Parallel coordination is established by other agencies.
Increase in Ranger wings and Federal Task force are steps in right direction. But, the success will come when grass root infrastructure is in place. Nexus of corruption, crime and terrorism must be broken for meaningful success. Media and social media are asked to counter India’s cultural assault. India will continue meddling and Moody’s Independence Day speech is in fact declaration of war against Pakistan and must be taken very seriously. India clearly spelled to convert Balochistan in to Pakistan’s Kashmir and Karachi another burning city. We must activate talk with China, Russia and USA on this issue and so as EU.
At regional level, creation of four nations Anti Terrorist Front is very laudable and encouraging move, a step forward in region with global impact. For Pakistan it is a force multiplier. Its strategic ramification will emerge in the coming days. It meaningful India is not there but Afghanistan is there, Afghans has to be assured that Pakistan does not want to dictate and respect their sovereignty. Pakistan should be active partner of anti terrorist front to gain leverage. To make a front against terrorism Pakistan must ensure peaceful border with Iran and maximum effort be made on Afghan border, while not to give any excuse to India and continue engaged diplomatically. Internally and externally dialogue is pursued vigorously.
—The writer, retired Brigadier, is decorated veteran of wars and a defence analyst based in Lahore.

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