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March 20, 2019

Time of reckoning on proscribed outfits


March 20, 2019

Islamabad : The horrifying terror strikes in Christchurch, New Zealand and the second in Utrecht, the Netherlands, should be an eye-opener for all those who believe allowing carrying arms could be a preventive against violent crime. The unfortunate incidents drew an immediate response from the New Zealand government as the Prime Minister announced that the country is going to review its arms control policy.

On the other hand, in a country like ours, the provincial government of Punjab has recently allowed people, having computerized arms licenses, to openly carry their weapons. However, the worrisome aspect is not carrying the licensed arms/ammunition. The matter to be much more concerned about is the heavy presence of unlicensed lethal weapons.

This is hardly any secret as to which are the elements in possession of these sophisticated lethal weapons produced by the developed world arms industry for the purpose of selling to the armies around the world for killing the enemies.

But here, in Pakistan, these weapons have landed in the hands of the elements, which once were supported and lauded for fighting a proxy war against a world power but now have been declared ‘terrorists’ by their own mentors. The shift in international approach towards these groups has created serious problems for Pakistan.

Recently the government in particular and the whole nation in general must have heaved a deep sigh of relief when the time trusted friend, Republic of China, once again rescued Pakistan from a difficult situation in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where India had been pressing hard to get Maulana Masood Azhar listed in the UNSC counter-terrorism sanctions list.

However, it is time that Pakistan government should weigh the odds and take visible, tangible and effective steps and initiatives that should be convincing enough for the international community about the sincerity and commitment aimed at dealing and disarming these proscribed organisations as well as their leaders against whom India had been levelling serious charges of terrorism.

At the same that the government has to spread out a message within the country that such elements, which no denying were once the apple of eyes of the US and other countries and communities around the world, who raised and trained them to serve their specific purpose and are no longer required in the role they were created for by the international powers, are not acceptable to us as well.

The fact is that their existence, in whichever form, shape or role they may assume, is continuing to provide India with a reason to keep mounting pressure on Pakistan on one hand while on the other these elements are seriously undermining the indigenous freedom movement launched by Kashmiri people in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

At a time when the government in Pakistan is, for the first time, aggressively pursuing the case of Kashmir at international level, drawing world attention to the continuing human tragedy perpetuated by the Indian occupation forces, fully supported by the Indian government led by extremist Hindus, it is all the more important for Pakistan to come clean on the matter of these proscribed organisations and their leaders.

Fortunately, it is the Indian government actions which have highlighted the case of Kashmir at the international level to the extent that now the world powers are no more eager to believe in the propaganda launched by India.

Now Pakistan only have to capitalise on the opportunity that has been provided by the BJP government in India through their brutalities unleashed on helpless Kashmiri people in particular and against all non-Hindu religious minorities all over India in general.

Pakistan has started in the right directions as the government has announced measures to take over all the seminaries and assets, allegedly being managed by these proscribed organisations. The second step is even more effective as the law enforcing agencies have already detained almost all of their leaders and known activists.

The government needs to take the next step by making public the list of those detained or taken into protective custody, indict them for the reasons they have been detained or taken into protective custody and sent their cases to the court of law. The people belonging to these proscribed organisations do have a right to defend themselves according to the law and they also have a right to let the media know their standpoint.

The world has seen as to how Pakistan has dealt with the Pakistani Taliban and other terror outfits, which were involved in acts of terrorism on our soil. Pakistan intelligence agencies and the Army have created history by effectively fighting and eliminating insurgency, allegedly foreign sponsored. Pakistan has a strong case to present to the world on this count because the sacrifices laid down by Pakistan’s Armed Forces, the law enforcing agencies and general public has laid down have been unparalleled in the history.

But the most important step the government has yet to take is to disarm these groups by launching well organised combing operations for the recovery of arms and ammunition the members of these proscribed organisations were equipped with. People and the world is aware that the members of these outfits were equipped with sophisticated weapons, which they were never shy of brandishing publicly.

The presence of these arms in the society will remain a serious threat to the safety and security of general public. The latest act of terrorism in a peaceful country like New Zealand has only made it even more important to de-weaponise the society and it will also win support from the international community.

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