Zarb-i-Azb: A wholesome concept

Dr Muhammad Khan

While addressing a seminar in Gwadar, on April 12, 2016, the Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, said that, Operation Zarb-i-Azb is not only a military operation but also, a wholesome concept and indeed, an “ideology against terrorists, extremists and corruption.” He emphatically declared that, ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring development in the region’. Indeed, while conceiving this operation in the mid of 2014, Pak Army vowed to root-out the terrorism, extremism and the financiers of these networks. Later, after attack on the APS Peshawar and while formulating the National Action Plan (NAP) and subsequently during the Karachi operation, corruption too was considered as one of the supporting mechanism for the terrorists somehow. The Army Chief also made a mention of the sacrifices of the armed forces, especially Pak Army in combating the terrorists and extremists. Today over 8000 personals of security forces have laid their lives while combating the extremism and terrorism.
The General also informed the participants of the seminar that, RAW, the infamous Indian spying network is all out to sabotage the CPEC. In this connection, the arrest of RAW terrorist, Kulbushan Yadav, and his terrorist network was also come under discussion. On April 16, 2016, the Sindh Police Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) also announced arrest of two fishermen, whose connections have been found for working for RAW and indeed, sabotaging the CPEC and causing domestic instability in Pakistan.
These fishermen have been funded, given surveillance equipments to record requisite information for RAW. Since the CPEC is a project not only for Pakistan and China but for the entire region, therefore, it is Indian sick mindedness which force her to sabotage it through its RAW. Indian secularism and sick mentality of its leadership is in debate over its enmity with Pakistan and CPEC. In the wordings of General, the CPEC, ‘is a lifetime opportunity for Pakistan to improve the socio-economic equation of its underprivileged areas and populace and it is people of Balochistan, who will benefit the most from its fruits. CPEC is poised to bring a true economic transformation to the Province through emergence of modern infrastructure, special economic zones, health facilities and universities which will bring enduring benefits for our people.’
Analysing the salient of the COAS speech in Gwadar, the most focused areas remained; the terrorism, extremism and corruption. In fact, these areas have shaken the very basis of the state and society of Pakistan. The terrorists, extremists and radicals have created an atmosphere of panic and insecurity for everyone in Pakistan. COAS has an insight into this dreadful aspect. Indeed, the sense of being insecure has put a restrain on all aspects of the state and society of Pakistan, viz; the education, tourism, social activities, and economic activities, which could have allowed sufficient space for the development of Pakistan in all areas. Besides, a social and sectarian divide was also caused by this menace under their misconstrued ideology; which is neither Islamic nor in harmony with Pakistani culture, society, norms and ethics.
In his addresses and directives to Pak Army commanders and men, the Army Chief has constantly vowed to bring an end to extremism, terrorism and now the corruption from Pakistan. Whereas, Pakistani sacrifices, especially of its armed forces have done a lot to exterminate the terrorism, the international community has generally been silent and insensitive. Gen Raheel categorically sought support of the world in blocking the funding of these terrorists and extremists. He said, “I urge the international community to not only acknowledge our successes and sacrifices, but also come forward in blocking external help to these terrorist organisations and their facilitators, abettors and financiers.” Indeed, the terrorists cannot continue their terrorist activities unless they have the means and finances. Indian, unfortunately has been the biggest financier of terrorism in Pakistan and the world need to know this reality.
In the economic field, Pakistan lost over $129 billion during its drive against the terrorism. The terrorists on other hand have received unprecedented finances and given latest weapons and equipment by spying networks of many countries, especially India and Afghanistan. Pakistani counter terrorism measures have greatly contributed towards the global peace, thus internationally community need to at least play a role in blocking the terror financing and weapons to terrorists. The Indian spying network RAW, along with many other Pakistani neighbours have sufficiently bled the Pakistani state and society, thus, UN, US and other major countries must emphasise India to stop terror financing and abetting. The crux of general’s speech was to; let us join hands against terrorism and extremism both, nationally and internationally.
Another significant aspect; the menace of corruption, indeed rampant in Pakistan, especially among the government circle is more dangerous than the terrorism. Its application is for everyone, even the poorest one. It has worst affected the Pakistani masses, who today feel helpless and hapless in their routine lives. There is no merit system in employment, no sufficient opportunities for education, health and justice for the masses of Pakistan, which force them to feel more insecure and vulnerable. The few in power have earned money through corruption, bribe and kickbacks or manipulations. These few have their share in power and control the poor masses and economy of the state. These people even took away the national wealth outside the national frontiers and have their businesses established in overseas through tax evasion and black money. The people of Pakistan have strong reservations against these but helpless to bring them to justice.
Whereas, General Raheel, the Army Chief has a vision to eliminate the extremism, terrorism and the corruption from Pakistan, it is not possible for Pak Army to be everywhere and anywhere to do this. For putting this vision into practice, let us join hands and work out a strategy to put this vision into practice through social and national mobilisation. The society as a whole has to work in unison for its implementation irrespective of political, religious and ethnic affiliations. The most significant role has to be played by our media including social media, the academic and the intellectual class. In this regard; irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic affiliations, lets reduce the space for terrorists, extremists and corrupts from the society of Pakistan.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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