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Editorial

August 12, 2017

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The terror challenge

The terror challenge

The challenge of fighting terrorism remains a significant one even in areas that the security forces have claimed to have taken back from the TTP. In Upper Dir   on Tuesday    night, a suicide bomber blew up and martyred four soldiers, including a major. The incident occurred during a targeted search operation in the area. It would not be a surprise if the suicide bomber was protecting a terrorist cell in the area. And then on Friday three people were killed and 26 injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast which hit the town of Nawagai in the Bajaur Agency. This makes the third attack since the change in PM, and must remind the new prime minister of one of the most significant challenges he will need to tackle: security. The ability of terrorist groups to do major damage on Pakistani soil remains significant – and the public is losing patience with the failure to be protected. The protests in Parachinar after over a hundred lives were lost last month are a stark reminder of the many failures we have had to face. We have been told that we are winning the war against terrorism but there are few believers when the operational capacity of terrorist groups to do significant damage still seems strong. The northwestern border regions have continued to face military operations for an entire decade but the presence of terrorists has yet to have been successfully challenged.

There has been little word on who was responsible for the deadly attack in Lahore just over a week ago when two dozen people were killed. Political turmoil has taken precedence over the lives of our people as terrorist attacks are forgotten. Despite multiple reminds, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) still remains dysfunctional. Implementation of key measures in the National Action Plan has not taken place. The clamp down on banned organisations remains limited at best. In what can only be called surreal, the banned Jamaat ud Dawa has announced the launch of a political party. Any expected outrage on this has remained limited to social media. PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is correct to have called this a ‘war for our existence’ but it really needs to feel like one. The only strategies cannot be the use of force. In many areas, there needs to be an effort to bring people into the mainstream and benefit from socio-economic progress. The much delayed Fata reforms is one key area that has never been dealt with. Madressah reform and curbs on terrorist finance are both at the most cursory stage as well. There is a need for a renewed and holistic effort against terrorism. Until then, both civilians and soldiers will continue to lose their lives as we the people look on helplessly.

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