Going in full swing the anti-terrorism operation, Raddul Fasaad, continues to achieve admirable successes. In a joint intelligence-based operation on Sunday, Punjab Rangers and security agencies in Thal area of Dera Ghazi Khan killed five terrorists in a shootout, while a soldier also lost his life and another one sustained injuries.
A day earlier in Lahore, at least 10 suspected Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militants, including the facilitator of The Mall suicide bomber, were killed in an ‘encounter’ with the Counter Terrorism Department personnel escorting five terrorism accused. Under normal circumstances, such encounters are generally believed to be staged, in this case though the confrontation seems to be genuine. There have been several previous instances wherein militants attacked intelligence agencies’ interrogation facilities where suspects were held for questioning.
The military aspect of the fight against terrorism has progressed from cleansing Fata to countrywide intelligence-based operations, and the launch of military operation Raddul Fasaad. Countless members of the security forces and police have sacrificed their lives. Unfortunately, the civilian authority continues to dither on its part of the responsibilities.
It has become almost a routine for the Prime Minister to preside over a high-level meeting with political and security officials after every terrorist strike, issuing statements of a strong resolve not to rest until the last terrorist is eliminated, only return to business as usual. It has been more than two years when in the wake of the Peshawar Army Public School carnage, all the major political parties met and formulated a consensus-based 20-point National Action Plan (NAP). Most of it remains unimplemented. There is zero progress, for instance, on registration and regulation of seminaries.
Having failed to revamp and reform the criminal justices system, as the NAP called for, the government recently got extension in the life of military courts to try terrorism suspects. Choking financing of terrorists and terrorist organisations remains a mere talking point.
Instead of ensuring against re-emergence of proscribed organisations under new names and dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has not only been hobnobbing with leaders of proscribed and renamed sectarian outfits, as pointed out by Justice Qazi Faez Isa inquiry report on the Quetta massacre, but also insisting that banned sectarian groups should not be equated with ‘purely’ terrorist organisations. The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) was to be strengthened, but it remains grossly underfunded and hence semi-functional. No wonder a dedicated counter-terrorism force that was to be established under the Authority stays a mere proposal.
At this rate, the success of the ongoing security operations cannot be expected to have lasting effect. What is needed is a real resolve to translate words into action. The government has to get its act together and take the necessary measures to root out violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations. The roadmap is there in the form of NAP, and rejuvenating of NACTA. -Business Recorder