Terrorism in Pakistan unveils the role of TTP and RAW 

They will not allow peace to the country

Pakistan is currently grappling with an escalating wave of terrorism, marked by several distressing incidents. Notably, Pakistani security forces recently executed an intelligence-driven operation in the general area of Tirah, Khyber District, acting on reports of terrorist presence. During the operation, our troops, under the leadership of Lt Col Muhammad Hassan Haider, effectively engaged the terrorists’ location. As a result, three terrorists were killed, and three others injured. Tragically, four valiant soldiers— Lt Col Hassan Haider, Naik Khushdil Khan, Naik Rafique Khan, and Lance Naik Abdul Qadir— heroically embraced martyrdom. A thorough sanitization operation was conducted to root out any remaining terrorists.

Prior to this, security forces thwarted a terrorist attack on the PAF Training Air Base in Mianwali, eliminating all nine terrorists in the subsequent search and clearance operation. According to the ISPR, the terrorists attempted to target the Mianwali Air Base, but the vigilant forces stationed there neutralized the threat. ISPR affirmed that the joint clearance and combing operation was successfully executed, resulting in the elimination of all nine terrorists. Importantly, the security operation extended to adjacent areas to ensure there were no lingering threats. None of the operational assets of the PAF sustained damage during the attack, with only three non-operational aircraft suffering minor damage.

Then a tragic attack by terrorists resulted in the martyrdom of 14 soldiers traveling from the Pisni area of Balochistan to Mara. Additionally, there has been a revelation about the origin of the foreign weapons used in the terrorist attack on the PAF Training Airbase in Mianwali. These sources confirm that the discovered among the terrorists killed in the attack included RPG-7, AK-74, M-4, and M-16/A4 firearms.

Terrorism represents a challenge transcending national borders, impacting countries worldwide. Pakistan has grappled with the menace of terrorism for decades, resulting in substantial suffering and significant security concerns. Terrorism in Pakistan can be traced to a complex interplay of social, political, and economic factors.

Pakistan’s strategic geographical location, sharing borders with Afghanistan and India, has made it susceptible to regional tensions and drawn it into conflicts such as the Afghan War, exacerbating security concerns. Economic disparities, limited access to education, and unequal opportunities have contributed to resentment and frustration within marginalized communities, rendering them vulnerable to radicalization. Radical religious ideologies have found fertile ground in certain areas, giving rise to extremist groups espousing violence and terrorism.

Terrorism has had far-reaching consequences in Pakistan, affecting various facets of society. Countless innocent civilians, security personnel, and government officials have lost their lives in terrorist attacks. Furthermore, terrorism has harmed the economy, discouraging foreign investments, damaging infrastructure, and disrupting trade. The violence has led to the displacement of communities, resulting in a refugee crisis within Pakistan straining already limited resources.

The involvement of India’s RAW and the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan has been substantiated on multiple occasions. India has historically shown reluctance to accept Pakistan and has consistently pursued destabilizing activities. There is evidence of India supporting terrorist groups within Pakistan, with its involvement in various incidents well-documented. The capture of Indian spies has shed light on hostile intentions toward Pakistan. India’s interference and support for militant groups in Balochistan are well-known. RAW’s involvement in the Johar Town bomb blast has been established.

The TTP is one of the most formidable terrorist entities in Pakistan’s recent history. Since its establishment in 2007, it has executed many attacks. Its genesis goes back to the tumultuous aftermath of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In the invasion’s wake, several militant groups, including factions of the Afghan Taliban, sought refuge in the Pakistan’s tribal regions. This convergence  led to the TTP’s formation, for the common goal of establishing its version of an Islamic Emirate and enforcing strict Sharia law throughout Pakistan. Initially under the leadership of the enigmatic Baitullah Mehsud, and subsequently led by Hakimullah Mehsud and Mullah Fazlullah, the TTP held deep-seated grievances against the Pakistani state, perceiving it as a puppet of the USA  in the “War on Terror.” Their objectives encompassed toppling the government, eliminating perceived collaborators, and enforcing their extremist interpretation of Islam through acts of violence and intimidation.

Pakistan has been actively engaged in counter-terrorism initiatives, both independently and as part of international coalitions. The Pakistani armed forces have carried out multiple operations targeting militant strongholds in various regions, with a particular emphasis on the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Enhanced intelligence sharing and improved law enforcement capabilities have led to the apprehension and elimination of key terrorist figures.

TTP attacks have caused the tragic loss of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children. These attacks, whether targeted bombings, suicide bombings, or mass shootings, have caused immense suffering and grief for families and communities across the country. The persistent violence has exacted a substantial toll on Pakistan’s economy, with dwindling foreign investments, a decline in tourism, and disruptions to crucial infrastructure projects due to security concerns. TTP attacks have compelled many individuals to flee their homes in conflict-ridden areas, leading to internal displacement and placing strain on the already limited resources of the regions hosting them. Moreover, the TTP has been involved in sectarian attacks, exacerbating tensions between different religious groups and undermining social cohesion.

In response to the TTP’s escalating threats, the Pakistani government and security forces have undertaken extensive counter-terrorism operations to dismantle it.

Significance military campaigns, exemplified by operations like Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad, have been launched to target TTP strongholds. These operations have resulted in the elimination and capture of numerous TTP leaders and militants. Nonetheless, the TTP has demonstrated remarkable resilience, adapting its strategies and regrouping. Pakistan has also intensified its collaboration in intelligence sharing with regional and international partners to disrupt the TTP’s cross-border movement and funding networks. Despite substantial progress in countering the TTP, several challenges persist. The risk of radicalization remains a potent threat, particularly in marginalized communities with limited access to education and economic opportunities.

A few weeks ago, a tragic incident unfolded in the Jamrud area of Khyber district, KP, within the jurisdiction of the Ali Masjid police station. Additional SHO Adnan Afridi lost his life in an explosion, and two other policemen were injured. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar, Ashfaq Anwar, provided details of the incident, explaining that a suspicious individual was apprehended at the location before the explosion occurred. This individual was called to undergo a search, but instead of cooperating, he fled toward a mosque. The Additional SHO pursued the suicide bomber, and in the ensuing confrontation, the attacker detonated the explosive device, resulting in the martyrdom of the Additional SHO. According to the IGP KP, Akhtar Hayat Khan, the explosion transpired within the mosque’s premises. The mosque structure was extensively damaged by the blast. The bomb disposal unit investigated the scene of the suicide blast and determined that it involved the use of 8 to 10 kg of explosives. Additionally, pieces of the suicide vest and ball bearings were recovered from the blast site.

Furthermore, the TTP was responsible for the martyrdom of another mosque a few weeks prior. The TTP’s actions in attacking mosques and desecrating the Holy Quran showcase their flagrant hypocrisy. These self-proclaimed religious terrorists, operating under the guise of Islam and Sharia, represent the genuine adversaries of our country, nation, and religion.

Militant operations conducted across various regions, with a particular focus on the former FATA and the rest of KP, have delivered significant blows to terrorist strongholds. In parallel, the government has implemented measures to fortify legislation, intensify intelligence sharing, and enhance international collaboration against terrorism. The National Action Plan (NAP), implemented in 2014, was designed to augment counter-terrorism efforts by addressing issues like hate speech and the curbing of terrorist financing. While progress has been made, there is an ongoing need for sustained and comprehensive endeavours to completely eradicate terrorism. The challenge of terrorism in Pakistan is multifaceted, necessitating a holistic approach that delves into its historical origins, socio-economic drivers, and ideological foundations.

The fight against terrorism calls for not only military might but also substantial investments in education, poverty alleviation, and institution-building to foster a resilient society less susceptible to extremist influences. International cooperation plays an equally vital role, as terrorism transcends national borders. The chapter of support and patronage of militant groups from India and Afghanistan needs to be permanently closed.

Pakistan has been actively engaged in counter-terrorism initiatives, both independently and as part of international coalitions. The Pakistani armed forces have carried out multiple operations targeting militant strongholds in various regions, with a particular emphasis on the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Enhanced intelligence sharing and improved law enforcement capabilities have led to the apprehension and elimination of key terrorist figures.

The government has initiated efforts to reform religious seminaries (madrasas) to mitigate the risk of radicalization. Pakistan collaborates with global partners, such as the USA, in the fight against terrorism. It has also sought the support of international organizations, including the UN, to address this pressing issue.

Pakistan has generously hosted Afghan refugees for an extended period, and the current initiatives to deport illegal foreigners represent a step toward addressing long-term concerns related to poverty reduction and terrorism eradication within the country. The entire nation calls for resolute actions against both state and non-state actors involved in terrorism.

Abdul Basit Alvi
Abdul Basit Alvi
The writer is a freelance columnist

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