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Monday July 04, 2022

Terror surge

By Editorial Board
May 19, 2022

Though Pakistan’s security forces have been continuing with their campaign to eradicate terrorism in the country, there has lately been a new upsurge in terrorist attacks. On May 16, security forces are reported to have killed two of the most wanted terrorists of the TTP in North Waziristan. Peshawar too saw violence on Tuesday night as an official of a civilian intelligence agency lost their life while two others were wounded in firing by unidentified attackers. In April, two TTP militants were killed by security forces in Dera Ismail Khan. In Karachi there have been at least three blasts in less than a month. In the latest, on May 16, a woman died and at least a dozen people sustained injuries as a result of an IED attack. The device was attached to a motorbike near Bolton Market in the Kharadar area. Earlier a suicide attack in Karachi had claimed the lives of three Chinese teachers at the University of Karachi. Then on May 12, a young passerby got killed in an attack near the Saddar area. These two attacks were claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army and the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army respectively.

On the other side, the Sikhs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have lately found themselves at the mercy of extremist militants who repeatedly target religious minorities. In the latest such tragic incident, unidentified assailants killed two members of the Sikh community by opening fire on them near the outskirts of Peshawar on May 15. Civil society organizations have time and again highlighted the callousness of such crimes and the inability of security forces to prevent such attacks. It is a primary responsibility of the local police to ensure the safety of lives and properties of all citizens including those who do not form part of the majority. Statements and condolence messages are just not enough. Unless there is a complete eradication of terrorists on Pakistan’s soil and from across the border, such incidents are likely to take place time and again.

The number of such victims is in the dozens. This is an alarming situation; and the number of people belonging to diverse religious groups is steadily declining in the country. They are trying to seek refuge in other countries as the discrimination against them is reaching dangerous proportions. The previous PTI government and the TTP had agreed to a month-long ceasefire but the militant group appears to be gaining momentum regardless. This latest terror surge also comes as unconfirmed news of the Afghan Taliban hosting peace talks between Pakistani officials and the TTP does the rounds. The state needs to double down on its counterterror efforts. It can do this by revitalizing Nacta, dusting off the National Action Plan, and rethinking how to deal with different terror groups.

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