Keeping Terror Under Control

April 19, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Shakeel Haider

Irrespective of whether ISIS has foundations in the country or not, the Pakistani government’s claims of defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda have again proved hollow following another blood thirsty terrorist attack. On Easter Sunday, in Pakistan’s second large city Lahore, a devastating and bloody suicide blast killed 72 people injuring over 300, the victims including women and children of Muslim and Christian faiths respectively.

Pakistan is one of the major victims of terrorism after 9/11 when the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) and Al Qaeda began terrorist activities in the country. In March 2015, it was reported that over eighty thousand Pakistanis have been killed in the US-led war on terror. The actors of violence are the same with only a change in name, the decade old legacy of terror and sabotage. The death toll has risen as all efforts to curb terrorism haave not proved successful.

Since June 2014, Pakistan has launched a zero tolerance strategy for the militants and terrorists on its soil in the name of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which means “sharp strike”. Officially this operation has been declared a great success against militancy and terrorism. However, the success of this operation is delusional and questionable for multiple reasons: No independent sources are allowed to monitor the operation except the Pakistan army’s own public relation wing called Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Secondly, the number of terrorists killed or nabbed are never shown on independent media, except on very few occasions. Lastly, even that it has been roughly two years since Operation Zarb-e-Azb began, close to ten thousand Pakistanis have been killed by terrorists and nobody knows where they will strike next.

In April 2014, the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan (FIA) issued a comprehensive list of 474 terrorists who were involved in terrorist activities across Pakistan. So far, there hasn’t been any details or updates as to how many of these terrorists have been apprehended, jailed, killed or otherwise.

In February 2016, the Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan categorically denied the presence or any solid foundations of ISIS. However, incidents before and after this claim tell otherwise. The Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday blast in Lahore, had publicly supported ISIS earlier in 2015. However, just a week before the statement of the Interior Minister’s denial, the Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), a federal intelligence agency in Pakistan, admitted the presence of ISIS in Pakistan before the Senate committee of the Interior.

Aftab Sultan, chief of the Intelligence Bureau, revealed possible connections of ISIS and its Pakistani operators, stating that “local militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba have soft corners for Daesh/ISIS and the Intelligence Bureau is identifying signs of militants’ presence in the country.” Pakistan is paying the price for terrorism by all means as it has also sustained over 107 billion US dollars of economic losses since 2001. It has lost the world’s confidence regarding the provision of security and maintaining law and order. The clear evidence is a sharp decrease in the tourism industry as well.

Whatever the authorities in Pakistan claim, whether clearing the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) from terrorists by gaining back an area of 800 kilometers square or reducing terrorist activities, terrorists are still strong with a new identity and new recruitment. Now the terrorists have penetrated settled areas and big cities within the country. Only the paradigm change of ‘good and bad’ terrorists will yield positive results. There are no good terrorists in the world, all are bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakeel Haider

Shakeel is a Freelance Writer, originally from Pakistan, with a keen interest in Politics, Culture, Social issues, Environment , Human Rights and Television Broadcasting.

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