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منگل، 25 دسمبر، 2012

How to put the TTP genie back in the bottle?

"Pashtuns are a brave nation and as a Muslim, this is our faith that we will not be deterred from our fight against the evil who kill our innocent men, women and children, destroy our mosques and hujras and wish to impose their own brand of Islam on us. My message to them is : Ocowards, come on, let us fight face to face, let us decide for once who is a real Muslim. We dont't fear the grave, it is either a home or a grave for those whose children are being slaughtered. "  (Bashir Ahmed Bilour Shaheed)

 In their most recent terrorist attack, the terrorists of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) killed Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the Senior Minister of the KPK Provincial Assembly on December 22, 2012. Bilour was a very strong voice and a steadfast campaigner against the terrorists and their ill designs against the state of Pakistan. He was a determine soul against the menace of terrorism and has been emphasizing the Federal Government to go to any extent to exterminate the terrorists, particularly the TTP. Unfortunately, today, he is no more with us. In fact, eversince the start of this menace in Pakistan, Bashir Bilour “remained undeterred and steadfast against terrorism till December 22, 2012 evening when he died in a suicide bombing near Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar.” There have been many attacks on him even before by TTP, thus, his assassination is not surprising because of his endless campaign against terrorism. The nation pays a lot of tribute to this great son of soil and a true patriotic soul.

Just a few days back on December 14, 2012, the same group of the terrorists attacked the Peshawar Airport. This group of terrorists perhaps wanted to get hold of airport and the adjacent PAF base. It was indeed, the well-prepared security forces that foiled the ill designs of the TTP terrorists and saved the airport, adjacent air base, many passengers and staff. Those were martyred in countering this attack deserve a lot of appreciations and rewards. A few months back, another voice against the terrorism, which TTP tried to silent, was the Malala Yousufzai. She along with her colleagues was attacked on her way back from her school. The daughter of the nation is undergoing a treatment in a UK hospital, where reportedly she has recovered a lot. Bilour condemned these acts and indeed, became a front line runner against the terrorists.
The phenomenon of terrorism can be seen as comprising human elements; supporters and hard-core terrorists, besides, ideological foundations. Terrorism is a phenomenon similar to a pipeline or factory assembly line with key stations along the way. The process includes ideological outreach, acquisition of funding and support, recruitment, organization, indoctrination, training, planning, targeting, attack, exploitation of results, financial rewards and other factors that lead to production of terrorist acts. Since the phenomenon of terrorism involves many phases until it becomes effective, thus, combating this menace requires equal or at times even more meticulous planning and a well-determined execution process. The best policy could have been, rooting it out in the initial phase. Unfortunately, we in Pakistan have missed such an opportunity. Owing to the short sighted decisions, the peace loving society of Pakistan is passing through a phase, where the terrorists have reached to our streets and are knocking the doors of innocent citizens. It has become extremely difficult to save oneself from the terrorism and terrorists. In the last one decade, Pakistan has lost over 41000 innocent citizens at the hands of terrorists.

Since last few months, ostensibly there is a change in the patterns of terrorism by TTP, which indicate a renewal in their strategy. Alongside continuing their traditional attacks on security forces, installations and innocent people, TTP is all out to eliminate the voices that originate against them or their acts of terrorism. This indeed is the ultimate phase of their terrorism or the frustration; they have reached in their actions. The crux of this phase is that, now this group of terrorists cannot tolerate anyone who even dares to talk against this terrorists group, the menace of terrorism and the ideology they are following. As earlier pointed out, the terrorist have reached to our doorsteps, thus, it is not difficult for them to target any one, whom they desire. It has therefore become mandatory that, the nation should be mobilized against this crucial phase of terrorism, as we are already late.

Today, a common person and indeed the Pakistani society as a whole are in a state of fear and uncertainty about their own future and the future of their generations. The society is indeed, rapidly becoming hostage at the hands of terrorists. Thus, rather sitting and waiting for the fait accompli at the hands of terrorists, let us find the way out to get rid of terrorists and terrorism. Since TTP terrorists have come to their ultimate phase of suppressing the thoughts and voices against them, therefore, the nation as a whole should get ready for a decisive phase to combat the terrorism and terrorists. The handful terrorists cannot be allowed to keep the 180 millions Pakistani people as hostage.

The armed forces of Pakistan and other security apparatus has done enough to combat the terrorism and in the process killed thousands of the terrorists in last one decade. Military operations in Swat-Malakand, South Waziristan, Orkzai and all other agencies are some of the successful stories of the Pakistan Army. Unfortunately, owing to the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undulating nature of terrain between various agencies of the FATA, these terrorists find hideouts to evade military operations. After these military operations, these terrorists reappear from other areas and even at time from the population centres to unleash their terrorist acts. Then, the bordering Afghan localities have been friendly in providing the hospitality and harbouring the Pakistan terrorists of TTP. In this regards, Afghan Security Forces and even ISAF have been found allowing the terrorists to take refuge in the bordering provinces of Afghanistan to avoid the military operations in Pakistani territory. Moulana Fazlula and his group are still in their hideouts in Afghanistan and carryout raids from there.

Terrorism is governed by a complex web alongside inherent secrecy and compartmentalization. Effective responses to terrorism may need to take into account, and to some degree be individually configured to respond to, the evolving goals, strategies, tactics, and operating environment of different terrorist groups. Better understanding of the dynamics of terrorism allows for a more complete picture of the complexities involved in measuring success or failure. Since there is deep infiltration of these terrorists all over the country, therefore, there is an immediate need that, the Government of Pakistan must plan and execute a decisive round against the terrorists and their hideouts. This phase of combating the terrorism and eliminating the terrorists should be well debated before putting into practice.

A unanimous political will and determination is indeed must for the decisive round of combating the terrorists and terrorism from all over the country. Since the military cannot undertake such a big step at its own, therefore, a unified mandate by political Government and all political and religious parties supported by the civil society is need of the hour to flush out the terrorism form all over the country. The decisive round to combat the terrorism must hit the terrorists’ concentration areas like North Waziristan Agency and other hideouts. Afghan Government and ISAF too need to be taken into confidence to support the Pakistan actions against the terrorists, rather providing them the refuge.

There should be no political considerations in view of the forthcoming general elections or political gains. In the past, too there have been many political reasons, which allowed the growth of these terrorist groups. Our religious and political parties too need to announce their disassociation from these terrorists besides condemnation of their actions. Indeed, the nation as a whole must support an all out military operation against the terrorists to wipe them out from the soil of Pakistan.

By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan

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