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جمعہ، 27 مئی، 2011

Pakistan, An all-out war

We have been arguing consistently for Pakistan`s leaders, civilian and military, to wake up to the internal threat that looms over the country`s future. Even if it has taken the series of events after the Abbottabad raid, including the two spectacular incidents, to focus the national leadership`s mind on the task, it can only be welcomed with the adage, better late than never. Now that the DCC has asked for citizens` cooperation and underlined the need for a national consensus in the struggle against terrorism, the main points of the approach/strategy for the anti-terrorist campagin must be clearly understood. The national consensus that exists against the heinous acts of the terrorists can and will be strengthened if the badly shaken public confidence because of recent events is restored through effective action against the terrorists.

Vaguely-worded and couched in generalized terms as it was, what one could make out of the press statement on the meeting of the cabinet committee on defence was that the government had decided to put punch in its counterterrorism campaign. That it would better do it at once. For, not even the ink on the statement had dried that the terrorist struck Hangu fatally the very next day with a suicide car bombing in the heart of the city’s high security zone, killing at least 25 people and injuring another 45. Not that Hangu is a stranger to terrorist violence and bloodletting. Over the time, it has sorrowfully suffered blood-soaked terrorist strikes, not infrequently sectarian-motivated. But this Thursday’s deadly attack must be read for what it really is. It is a brutal message of the demonic terrorist forces that they are now in an all-out war on the Pakistani state. And the Pakistani state has to respond in a manner to demonstrate that it too is an all-out war on the terrorist forces. So far, to put it bluntly, the state has merely flirted with the anti-terrorism war, showing neither the required zest nor the steely grit to go on an inevitable all-out war against the dark forces of death and destruction, playing so blithely with lives, limbs and blood of our people. There has been a lot of rhetorical avowal of fighting out terrorism and extremism from the high places of the state. But those were just lofty vows arguably merely for public consumption, left hanging in the air as those were, with ground seeing none of them in execution. At best, the military has been fighting this tough battle; but, at worse, without any much backup from the civil power, for which it has lately been singled out by terrorists for deadly attacks on its establishments, bases and personnel. The political leadership has largely sat pretty, remaining overwhelmingly preoccupied with its own pet power games and political plays, sparing not any much time or interest for peace, security and stability in the country. Leave alone the counterterrorism strategy that it had hammered out in the earlier stages of its rule and which it has let go down the drain with its apathy and disinterest in dressing it up with a robust and powerful follow-up. It has, perceptibly, failed even in forging an effective networking among the plethora of federal and provincial intelligence agencies, so essential for combating dark terrorist forces triumphantly. Nor has it taken any political initiatives to face up to these evil monstrosities.But the situation has become so critical now that this insouciant leadership should get out of its hibernation at once lest the things spin out wholly out of control. Already, it is too late. And now there is no room whatsoever for any dawdling or shilly-shallying. The thugs are visibly on the offensive, boldly, savagely and fatally. The state is, dreadfully, on the retreat. They hit wherever and whenever they want. The state is merely scrambling to cope with the wreckage of their strikes. They are seemingly very organised and focused. The state shows only chaos and disorder in its ranks. They are very calculated in the choice of their targets and in planning their assaults. The state shows no method at all in its counteraction which quite apparently is just anarchic and reactive. If the state stays so adrift, it horrifically might hit the rock with unpredictable but certainly disastrous consequences. One knows not what specifics were deliberated upon and decided in the meeting of the cabinet committee on defence. But, unarguably, the terrorist thuggery has touched such a brittle pitch that the nationwide administrative top hierarchy needs imperatively to get together immediately to think out and plan a countrywide counterterrorism action to grapple with the increasingly aggressive and deadlier terrorism monstrosities. None should remain any more oblivion of the palpable reality that these monstrosities have deep roots, not just inside but, more worryingly, outside the country wherefrom come to them money, arms and instructions. They are working on a sinister plan at their paymasters’ behest. And if they are not held back now, they are sure to hurt this country incurably.So will the president or the prime minister care convening a top-level inter-provincial conference at the earliest to decide a powerful counteraction to this vicious spiraling monstrosity of terrorism?
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