Let’s face the fact; we might have succeeded in dismantling the terrorist infrastructure, and hideouts from our land as a result of large scale military operations across the board, not eliminating though adversely impacting their ability to conduct terrorist attacks in the country, but we still live under a constant reign of terror, and its elimination should be the ultimate goal. This war, after all, is against terror, not merely terrorists.
While the operation Zarb-e-Azb did severe damage to the terrorist network based in tribal areas, operation Raad-ul-Fasaad is, at present, underway in an attempt to hold extremist elements from across the country. As the security forces, through the ongoing operation, have tapped down numerous suspected assailants and prevented many attacks prior to conducting them, the extremists seem to be growing impatient. The recent inclination in the graph of terrorist attacks in Balochistan and KPK suggests likewise.
Balochistan in particular, during the past few years, has witnessed an increased terrorist activity. The attack at a Sufi saint’s shrine in Jhal Magsi is the latest in the series, and has yet again raised questions on the effectiveness of the security measures in place. The attack claimed 18 lives, leaving approximately 24 devotees injured. The responsibility of the attack was later in the day taken by the Islamic State’s local franchise, according to Reuters. According to SSP Jhal Magsi, Muhammad Iqbal, the suicide bomber triggered the explosives as he was intercepted by a policeman at the gate of shrine.
Another 47 people were injured in two hand grenade attacks, one in the north-west district of Mastung, and the other one in Gwadar.
The attacks come as the latest in the chain of terrorist activities in Balochistan including landmine blasts in Dera Bugti and Kohlu resulting in expiry of two people, and an attack on Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) at Hanna Sour Range coal field in Quetta leaving the bus driver injured. A militant ambush earlier in the month of September resulted in death of a Lt. Colonel among 3 soldiers in Punjgur district. Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, directed the security authorities to remain on a high alert across the province in wake of a series of recent attacks.
The recent shift and rise in terrorist activities in the already deprived province of Balochistan is an eye-brow raiser for the authorities and the management in-charge as the province is hosting landmark economic projects supposedly capable of turning around the country’s economy. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) also pointed at the involvement of a foreign agency in facilitating terrorist activities inside Pakistan, particularly Balochistan. Although the name of the agency allegedly involved was not publicly shared, the ISPR clarified that no organised structures of terrorists were existent or operative in Pakistan.
Despite the aforementioned attacks carried out in Balochistan, the Frontier Corps (FC) has successfully prevented several major terrorist attacks from being carried out as a result of Intelligence-Based Operations (IBOs) in different parts of the province under the umbrella of Raad-ul-Fasaad. Several suspects along with ammunition including explosives, rockets, and grenades were rounded up during these operations.
KPK also witnessed an attempted attack on a Christian colony in early last month (September) which was intercepted by the security forces. Four terrorists were killed in gunfire exchange between the terrorists wearing suicide vests and the security forces, stated the ISPR. Jamat-ul-Ahrar claimed the responsibility for the attack.
The Not-So-Reluctant Fundamentalists
The terrorists, although having their network and infrastructure abolished by the security forces over time in this war on terror, still are coming on hard at our forces, and there seems to be no holding back in their book. Time and again has this menace of terrorism been pinned yet it has re-asserted its existence through violent comebacks.
Better late than never; what’s critical in this war is the unanimity among all stakeholders to uproot this evil of terrorism from our midst. The involvement of external agencies has further impressed the need on our part to remain alert, and vigilant through smarter security measures, and a proactive approach. Without cutting of the support local terrorists get through the external agencies, putting an end to terrorism will not be possible. It is imperative to remain aggressive, not only at the security, but the diplomatic front as well.
The fundamentalists being dealt herewith are not reluctant at all, and must be dealt with in the same manner.
Remembering the lesson: Hammer & Hammer Down
Sun Tzu, a Chinese General and a military strategist, said, “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”.
For us as a nation, it is critical to remind ourselves of the enemy that has caused immense damage to our country, in terms of both, lives lost and the economic derailment. A consensus, finally, among the power corridors is an encouraging sign, and puts us on the right path, setting us in the right direction. Implementation of National Action Plan (NAP), lost somewhere in the way right now, can prove to be a critical ingredient to a sustainable success against extremism.
Putting the terrorists down for the time being, and going on a relaxed-mode will not win us the war. Hammer & hammer down, this approach definitely will, until there is none to rise again.