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سوموار، 24 دسمبر، 2012

Don’t bow to terrorism


It is time to launch a clean up operation across KPK to nab the terrorists and at the same time find out as to how the TTP was able to get information about the engagements of the Minister because one cannot rule out the presence of black sheep in the ranks of police and intelligence.  
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People carry coffin of slain Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on Sunday. 

He did not give up till the end and had vowed to continue his struggle against the terrorists who had made Pakistan and particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) a house of cards by putting it under repeated and continuous terrorist assaults. Bashir Ahmed Bilour died in a rally attacked by a suicide bomber at the Qisa Khawani Bazar in Peshawer, where he had gone to address a corner meeting of the Awami National Party (ANP). Though escorted by high profile security, the bomber nevertheless managed to reach Bilour and detonated the bomb inches away from the senior provincial minister of KP. The SHO of the area police station and Bilour’s personal secretary died on the spot. This was the third attempt on his life by those who had always resented his courageous denial of the ideology of terrorism. Bashir Bilour had always he was not afraid of being martyred. Perhaps he had realized that the war on terrorism is not going away any time soon and not until it had taken its toll of lives and resources of Pakistan. Bashir Bilour was famous for his defiance against the terrorists that had earned him umpteen enemies within the Taliban as well as their apologists. The same streak of boldness was visible when his son, Usman Bilour, taking up the thread of his father’s resolve, said that the Taliban may get tired of killing us but we will not give in until peace is attained. Such being their courage, still the country is unable to combat the menace of terrorism. It is so because the problem lies with the approach of fighting terrorism that is not cohesive and coherent in nature.

As far as the government is concerned, the general impression is that it has left the war on terrorism to the military, and its interior ministry, or the intelligence and law enforcement agencies are reduced to empty slogans. Are the back to back high profile attacks on the PAF base in Peshawar and the assassination of Bashir Bilour an indication of the Taliban’s escalation of their terror? If that be the case, the claim of the military that the terrorists had been weakened loses credibility. The strategy pursued by the military of splitting the terrorists does not seem to have achieved the desired results. Ostensibly, these groups have become more dreadful after splitting, because of their dispersed power. This reinforces the notion that Pakistan has been fighting the war on terror the wrong way and this has strengthened the terrorists in their approach and tactics.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack on Bashir Bilour. A spokesman of TTP from Dara Adam Khel and Khyber Agency, Muhammad Afridi said that TTP has set up a new ‘revenge wing’ to carry out such attacks, especially on ANP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Responding to this claim the President of ANP Asfandyar Wali has rightly said it to be surprising that terrorists sitting in Pakistan are not only carrying out ferocious attacks but are also taking pride in claiming the responsibility for the same, and yet they are free to move around.

The question is, how many more lives would we sacrifice before coming to terms with the fact that this war is getting threatening and the prospects of winning it might also be slipping from our hands, if, as is being feared, the terrorists have infiltrated into the cities of the country. Would we pound bombs on our people to flush them out? The only strategy left to fight this dispersed power is to consolidate and develop a Central Intelligence Data Gathering System, as has been now authorized in the Investigation for Fair Trial Act. Though late, because of obvious reasons, this databank and the system around it should be developed on a war footing, and in the meanwhile a consensus created to hound and pin down the terrorists hiding in the mountains of the northwestern areas of Pakistan. 

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