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National

February 20, 2017

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Nation’s unwavering resolve

Nation’s unwavering resolve

Head of PPP Media Cell

Terrorists are on the loose again with vengeance in the country as their pusillanimity has unleashed the wave of bloodbath in the country, heralding they are not finished yet and are rather determined to carry out the same unto their finish. On the other hand, the mandarins of federal and provincial governments are regretfully engaged in war of words accusing each other of the negligence for not taking necessary pre-emptive security measures to stop the carnage. In fact, it is the failure of all, federal and provincial governments including the security apparatus, and therefore cannot be absolved of the modicum of dereliction that provided the window to the terrorists to break the security network to cause havoc. Now, the need of the hour is all the institutions should desist from scuffling and rather huddle together to chalk out the robust course of action to prevent the reoccurrence of such abhorrent terrorist attacks again in the country. That is also required in order to keep the morale of the people high which is extremely important to defeat the evil. 

The bloodbath at Sehwan Sharif Shrine triggered by ISIS suicide bomber killing more than eighty eight people has traumatised the nation wondering when and how to get rid of the menace. Earlier, Lahore suicide attack followed by similar attacks in Peshawar and on Political Agent Mohmand agency office the same day send shiver down the spine among the people of Pakistan who are though terrified but determined to take on the evil to the logical denouement considering it as the only option. They are also ghastly pondering as how much more blood will be shed before the evil is defeated and the people take sigh of relief in an environment of peace and security. Their cautious skepticism is rooted in the absence of the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) meant for combating terrorism form the country in its all forms and manifestations.

Amazingly, people’s resolve is spectacularly unwavering to crush the scourge that has been shedding blood in their reckless frenzy to impose their toxic, redundant and bloody ideology on the people of Pakistan through their preferred tactics analogous to intimidation, coercion and elimination. The chances of their making the headway in the direction are certainly zero, but their total indoctrination to cause maximum devastation in their barbaric pursuit needs to be circumvented by using all the means at the disposal of the state. Mobilisation of state power of matching scale cannot be over emphasised for attaining the desired results in the foreseeable future.

It calls for the government, the entire political leadership and the security establishment to review the National Action Plan while taking the full stock of the emerging geo-political situation in the region. The organisations which are on the list of the UN must not be allowed to operate with impunity in the full glare of national and international media. The meeting of the interior minister with the top leadership of such entities while asserting that they are not terrorists smacks the incongruity of our policy against extremism and terrorism. This will not work and the world will not be even willing to take it on its face value any more. We have to come clean and must jettison the largely held view of tinkering around the edges of the National Action Plan (NAP).

The perception of our skullduggery of fighting terrorism is deep rooted that may be addressed as a top priority. For, it gets deep in the skin when terrorists carry out attacks in the country with degree of audacity and confidence. These cowardly acts also cast aspersions on our claim that terrorists are on the run and their sporadic backlash is simply the expression of their desperation. No doubt, there is qualitative improvement in the situation, but the menace does rare its ugly head time and again to register its presence in a bid to demoralise the people. Pakistan has undoubtedly won many battles but the war is yet to be won. There is no concept of half victory in war. This war has to be won because the other alternatives are terribly dangerous posing existential threat by any criterion.

The recent reiteration of the prime minister and the army chief to defeat the terrorists of all hues by taking it to their turf is very reassuring. It should be followed by the tangible follow up actions against the entire militant and radical organizations in the country along with flushing out the Afghan Taliban those have found safe haven on Pakistani soil. This view is widely held that requires to be addressed pro-actively failing which our assertions of unwavering commitment to fight terrorism indiscriminately will be deemed as platitudes optimising playing to the gallery. The international community is running out of patience of Pakistan’s playing on the both sides of the street. Our denial hardly finds any taker because we are trying to cover up which is an open secret.

Pakistan and Afghan leadership does not get tired of highlighting the indispensability of the security of the two countries and yet do not move forward to translate the shared thought into reality considering it as the condition precedent for peace and security. The state of deep mistrust between the two countries has been the cause of prevailing standoff. Their diplomatic and surreptitious skirmishes have been proving blessing in disguise for the TTP and Afghan Taliban because they hit the target in Pakistan and Afghanistan while both the governments accuse each other for providing shelter to the respective terrorist groups. On this, terrorists jump out of their skin with the sadistic glee. It is pitiable?

Pleasantly, the incumbent civilian and military leadership of Pakistan is not only on the same page but also looks like so quite convincingly. It is a much awaited positive development that has taken place after a long time with the new army leadership. Touchwood! The convergence is good news that may facilitate to create an enabling environment for the security establishment to put final nail in the coffin of extremism and terrorism. Terrorists’ hands are stained with the blood of more than sixty thousands people and thousands of soldiers of Pakistan and they deserve to be dispatched to their final abode, hell. They are snakes in our backyard and it was naïve to assume that they would only bite the neighbours. Their heads must be chopped off for the sake of self-preservation and of the neighbours also.

The debate in the Senate other day also underscored the importance of shedding the surreptitious contradictions in our terrorism policy which are well in the public domain. Senator Farhatullah Babar made it abundantly clear that until state abandoned its policy of favouring some militant groups that seek to target the countries of this region and until it curbs hate speech the fight against militancy will remain elusive. He further said, ‘the policy of blocking United Nations move to impose sanctions on the chief of banned militant organisation speaks volumes of chasm between the intention and policies. “Today hate speech flourishes while dissent with the state narrative is silenced covertly without recourse to law.” Other Senators also criticised the government for its abject failure to implement the NAP especially its reluctance to move against the madaris fanning hate and militancy.

Government and its institutions may not continue to tread on Einstein’s definition of lunacy any more hoping misplaced spectacular results. The beaten tracks will only lead to the lamentable conclusions as the nation has been paying heavy price both in blood and treasure since dictator General Ziaul Haq pushed the nation in Afghan war. It is time to read writing on the wall because enough is enough. The perception and reality should be in complete harmony. In case of Pakistan, perception seems bigger than reality. It should be rectified by implementing the declared policy on terrorism in letter and spirit under the watchful eyes of the international community. Pakistan’s credibility in this regard is sadly at the lowest ebb at international level that needs to be restored failing which our diplomatic stock will continue to register bearish trend to the horror of the nation and of our few friendly countries.

The margin of benefit of doubt is now hanging by thread that may not sustain with our ambivalent response because the world is sick of the rot (terror) that has been taking toll in many countries around the world. Change of guards in Washington is also not in the mood of giving any allowance that may fireclay use the carrot and stick ensuring quick results as a quid pro quo to “incentivise”. In case of ambivalent compliance the new US administration is quite capable of using the stick to beat to humiliation. Make no mistake.

In the final analysis, Pakistan’s security and foreign policy woes may remain intractable till such time these two important domains are not made subject to parliamentary oversight. The PPP has been quite vocal in this regard while raising the voice in the Parliament as well for the early setting up of Parliamentary Committee on Security. Meaning thereby, the Parliament should play its role in the formulation and implementation of the foreign/security policy of the country and the institutional trespassing in these field should be discontinued because the country cannot afford any more messy aftermaths of such pursuit by the “unqualified and unauthorised quarters.”

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