Pakistan needs a Reinhard Heydrich

To take good care of terrorists


With Pakistan army’s “Security Paradigm Shift”, it is evident that the real threat comes from within. It needs serious and concentrated efforts to root out every terrorist sleeper cell and hideout


The phenomenon of terrorism can be translated as vague yet dangerous business. It completely incapacitates the state apparatus and paralyses the decision-making ability of the commanders. Terrorist organisations and their activities are not new. History is a witness that terrorists existed throughout olden times and using their sabotage tactics achieved their objectives. They work on all three levels i.e. tactical, operational and strategic; in the pursuit of their objectives. The terrorists and their respective organisations pose a direct threat to the survival of the state. They can effectively disrupt the command and control of the entire military and civilian establishments, thus it puts a great concern on the shoulders of decision makers to devise ruthless yet effective counter-terrorism strategies. The use of 4thGeneration Warfare by the terrorist groups puts decision makers in a pretty difficult and sensitive position.

General Reinhardt Heydrich was a high-ranking official in Hitler’s Germany. He held commands of Gestapo, Criminal Police and Reich Main Security Office. Hitler called him “Iron Heart” for his relentless and enthusiastic determination to eliminate terrorists from the occupied territories. He was under the direct guidance of Reich Fuhrer Heinrich Himmler who was the Chief of German Police and Schutzstaffel SS. The operations conducted by Heydrich were purely based upon intelligence reports provided by Gestapo, Kripo and SD. He was feared by all enemies due to his effective brutal tactics in countering terrorism and resistance fighters. Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann famously referred to him as “Hitler’s Hangman”.

Heydrich considerably rooted-out terrorist activities by the use of violence and fear, and was becoming a great threat to the sabotage operations conducted by British secret intelligence agency named as MI-6. Since Brits were financing and supporting the terrorists against Hitler, their disruptions were making it difficult for the German military to concentrate their efforts on the war. British trained rebels conducted Operation Anthropoid and eliminated Heydrich on 4 June 1942 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Pakistan is suffering from internal as well as external enemies and has been a prime sufferer of terrorism. Many terrorist organisations fundamentally financed and supported by foreign elements especially India and Afghanistan are operating inside Pakistan. They have not only dealt a serious blow to the fragile economy but have considerably disturbed the entire society. Pakistan’s war against terrorism is not just against some individuals or organisations but it is projected towards an ideology.

In the opinion of the author, the use of Clausewitzian “Remarkable Trinity”, a ruthless and brutal general like General Heydrich is what Pakistan needs, who is dominated by atrocious and vicious tactics coupled with intellect and patriotism. Since conventional deterrence is not enough for terrorists and their actions and Draconian measures are not to be avoided to obliterate terrorism. Some liberal elements in the society may criticise military courts and the death penalty, but Pakistan actually needs the execution of terrorists on the spot without any trial. However, collateral damage is supposed to be avoided. In the pursuit of this cleansing operation, the government must not hesitate to suspend certain civil and political liberties. The terrorist attacks are conducted in a merciless manner and the retaliatory actions need the same level of cruelty. It may sound a realist or a Machiavellian approach, but one must not forget that the United States did put all Japanese nationals living in America in concentration camps just after the attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.

With Pakistan army’s “Security Paradigm Shift”, it is evident that the real threat comes from within. It needs serious and concentrated efforts to root out every terrorist sleeper cell and hideout. National Action Plan and its objectives are pretty much difficult to achieve in this scenario. It may sound a bit radical or perhaps an unfeasible idea but as long as police culture prevails under the umbrella of some corrupt politicians and feudal lords, terrorism of any sort just cannot be eradicated completely. The police force and intelligence mechanism need to be merged into some Federal-level organisation like the German Reich’s Main Security Office, which must be given control of all provincial-level police and law-enforcement agencies. Thus a highly centralised and well-communicated centre will be able to monitor all the activities to achieve a single goal.


Muhammad Ali Baig

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Hasnain said:

    Reinhard Heydrich was also the major architect of the Holocaust. Are you equating Jews with terrorists in your analysis? Do you have no sense of history? Are the global repercussions of the Holocaust not obvious to you? And you want a Reinhard Heydrich for Pakistan? I am sure we have quite a few already. Cue the tortured and butchered bodies that mysteriously keep turning up in Balochistan and the thousands of missing persons who are lost without hope. Everybody's a fascist these days. Everybody! I am surprised how your myopically selective understanding of history has gained such mainstream recognition.

  2. Arshad Syed said:

    Well said Hasnain brother. This country was after all formed with a huge genocide. We see the direction we are heading in.

  3. Imtiaz said:

    "Execute on the spot." "Form a central gestapo". This country has no future. It's truly a cancer to itself and to the world withe people like this.

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