- An inability to control either one
There has been a significant uptick in the frequency and intensity of terrorist attacks recently, most notably in Balochistan that has had four attacks in the past four weeks. Last month an attack in North Waziristan claimed the lives of ten soldiers while on the same day an attack in Turbat, Balochistan resulted in the killing of four paramilitary soldiers. The attacks are primarily targeted towards law enforcement agencies that are easy targets as they are the first line of defence against terrorists. It has been a long, weary and bloody war fought over the past ten years to get the menace of terrorism under our control– according to NACTA there were 2,081 fatalities in 2010 due to terror-related attacks; this figure has been reduced to 584 in 2018. The achievements are undeniable but there still remains a lot to be done to eradicate terrorism completely in order to get control of the situation prevalent in the two provinces that have been the most affected– Balochistan and KPK. For that, attention has to be paid to the multifaceted problem of extremism. An inability to effectively and honestly do enough against it has made this an almost systemic issue. The National Action Plan that was formulated and agreed upon by all political parties and relevant institutions after the horrific APS attack in 2015 and had at its core measures aimed at curbing extremist elements, remains largely unimplemented. The Faizabad dharna, spearheaded by the TLP and its repulsive leader Maulana Khadim Rizvi, is a product of this lack of will to act pre-emptively against extremism. Only when the group overstepped lines not meant to be crossed were its wings clipped.
On Sunday, furniture and books were torched in a girls school in Diamer, Gilgit-Baltistan. Exactly a year ago 12 schools were burnt down in the same district overnight, at least half of which were all-girls. Reforming those who are too far gone is a near impossible task, but the impressionable children that are being taught the vile ideology that encourages them to think with hatred can still be saved. The government has to do much more to win against extremism. Implementing NAP in letter and spirit would be a good start.