No country in the recent past, regardless of its power and size, has so comprehensively won a full-fledged insurgency as Pakistan.
When a great power develops an interest in a region or country or when it sees its interests in a region or country threatened, it fabricates and designs a threat in that region or country warranting international response. To seek justification for responding against this perceived threat, it forms coalitions of the like-minded, mobilizes the domestic and international media to demonize the enemy warranting immediate response. With diplomatic maneuver failing, it moves in militarily to tackle the threat using sophisticated hard power in which more often it fails, thus either genuinely getting bogged down or perpetuating its occupation by design to guard its interests. In Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, this is exactly what happened and is happening over the past one and a half decades much to the peril of the concerned countries and region. Located in Afghanistan’s neighborhood with hostile India having increasing footprints in Afghanistan, maintaining ideal security climate in Pakistan will therefore continue to remain a challenge.
With CPEC in its full swing, the country`s economic indicators positive, the overall security climate having greatly improved and all efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally having failed, the enemy from within and outside were having sleepless nights till they succeeded in hitting Lahore and Sehwan Sharif aiming at telling the world that all is still not well in Pakistan. While the enemy`s efforts to destabilize Pakistan will continue, there is a dire need to look at the causes providing a window of opportunity to the terrorists and their sponsors to hit back. One, while the country is militarily in a state of war for the last 15 years, the political leadership still conducts its matters with routine priorities and preferences. Two, the resolve displayed to conduct Zarb e Azb in FATA died down when the focus shifted to settled areas especially Punjab for political expediencies. Three, with Panama Leaks issue, the political leadership remains embroiled in wrangling and mudslinging rather than presenting a united front to fight the enemy that is committed and busy day and night to destabilize and hit at Pakistan`s vital interests. Four, with political leadership busy in point scoring, hardly any attention is paid to strengthening the institutions especially those directly concerned with dealing matters related to security and counter terrorism. Five, with the writ of Afghan Government eroding with in its territory by the day, besides TTA (Tehreek e Taliban Afghanistan) elements ex-TTP and DAESH are getting more and more organized with the intimate support and direction of anti-Pakistan agencies within Afghanistan. Six, the petering out resolve in the comprehensive implementation of NAP, primarily for narrow minded political gains in proving extremely costly in the mission to defeat terrorism.
Given the recent spate of terrorism, certain segments within the media including social media are presenting doomsday picture willfully or un-willfully attempting to demoralize the nation. While the human losses in the recent incidents are regretted, let’s remind these pessimists that this nation has endeavored much greater losses at faster ratios and frequencies in the past, yet bounced back with greater resolve to defeat the menace. What therefore needs to be done? First, there is clearly visible lack of resolve and unanimity within the political leadership on the implementation of NAP true to the spirit with which it was devised. Second, Pakistan needs to pursue an aggressive Afghan policy. It needs to proactively pursue the Russia, China, Pakistan initiative by incorporating Afghanistan and Iran for finding a negotiated settlement. At bilateral level, while dealing with present Afghan Government, it needs to use all its diplomatic and geographic leverages more effectively to compel Afghanistan to positively respond. Time has come that Pakistan seriously considers fencing its border with Afghanistan, besides further improving border management measures on the existing crossing sites. Third, the one-sided policy of laying off from what is happening in IHK by Pakistan has neither received any reciprocity from India nor it has been positively viewed by the international community especially US. Pakistan needs to review its options, while adopting one that can accrue better responses in line with its long term interests. Four, amply clear now that the present national organizational structure to effectively combat terrorism like NACTA etc has not worked commensurate to the challenges. There is hence a dire need to create a supra body comprising only professionals that is not only autonomous but politically backed. This entity should have its similar extensions in respective provinces for effective executions of anti-terrorism operations.
No country in the recent past, regardless of its power and size, has so comprehensively won a full-fledged insurgency as Pakistan. Operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat, Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan and Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan are living proof. What the Armed Forces could then achieve in most difficult circumstances can be achieved with much ease in a more improved environment. All it needs from its political leadership is to develop the required political unity and display the much desired resolve which this country of over 200 million people rightly deserve.