Categorized | South Asian Politics

How to Eradicate Terrorism in Pakistan?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari


  The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) projected themselves as friends of the Taliban during the election campaign. The Taliban did not attack their election campaigns. It was therefore expected that there would be peace in the post-election period because the PMLN formed the government at the federal level and in the Punjab and the PTI formed a coalition government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

  There was no peace in the first month of the new governments. The Taliban and their affiliates resorted to suicide bombings, roadside bombings and sectarian killings. Peshawar witnessed more violence than any single city. Two members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly were killed.

 The Taliban and their affiliates wanted to impress the new governments by showing their reach and capacity to engage in violence. These groups are not merely angry people but a determined group that is fighting in the name of Islam and wants to create a domain of authority for itself at the expense of Pakistani state system. They have become a major internal threat to Pakistan.

 The federal government and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government expressed their desire to start a dialogue with Pakistani Taliban. There was no enthusiastic response from the Taliban for the government’s talk offer. This idea was pushed to the background. The federal government floated the idea of an All Parties Conference (APC) for creating consensus among the political forces on terrorism and violence.

 This APC idea has now been postponed and the federal government is working on the outlines of Pakistan’s security policy. The APC is not likely to produce any workable and coherent policy because a number of political parties, especially the Islamic parties and the PTI, do not view the on-going war on terrorism as Pakistan’s war.

 No security policy will be workable unless the federal government and the Army top brass adopt a shared approach on countering terrorism. General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani described the current efforts to contain terrorism as “Pakistan’s war” but the PMLN federal government is not yet willing to support this statement publicly. The military needs civilian ownership of its security operations. If such a support is not forthcoming and the civilian leadership continued to waver this will have a negative impact on civil-military relations.

  Pakistan’s new counter-terrorism and internal security policy must reflect the following principles.

 First, no violence and terrorism should be tolerated on any count. The state agencies must tackle terrorist groups at the earliest. Do not give any space to violence on the pretext of reaction against drone attacks or any other excuse.

 Second, the primacy of Pakistani state must be asserted over all organizations, groups and individuals within Pakistan’s territorial limits. If drone aircraft violates Pakistan’s sovereignty, the violent activities of all kinds of militant groups is also a negation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

 Third, the military must assert its control over the tribal areas. The prolongation of the operations in five tribal agency has raised doubts if it is a problem of capacity of the military or a matter of policy that militants are given space to survive. If the military cannot assert its authority in the tribal areas against militant groups, it will be difficult to do so after the withdrawal of western troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

 Fourth, a dialogue with Pakistani Taliban or other militant groups must be held within the framework of Pakistan’s constitution and territorial integrity. The stoppage of violence by these groups would be a precondition for talks.

 Fifth, Pakistan faces different types of terrorism. This includes terrorism by the tribal areas based groups. They also fight with each other to expand their domain. The mainland based militant and sectarian groups, Baloch separatist groups, and the violence in Karachi that combines violence of various kinds: Taliban, political and ethnic, criminal activity, land grabbing and extortion. You will need firm but different strategies for dealing with different types of terrorism.

 Sixth, violence and terrorism in urban areas can be contained mainly by a professional, qualified and well paid police. The police should be strengthened by giving them special counter terrorism training and their salaries be enhanced. All appointment and postings on political considerations should be done away with. The Special Branch and the Intelligence Bureau should be upgraded and given the assignment of information collection about extremist and militant groups and others engaged in the cities.

 Seventh, a unified counter terrorism approach should be adopted by increasing coordination and cooperation among various intelligence and security agencies.

 Eighth, Pakistan’s criminal justice system should be improved so that those charged with terrorism do not get free because ill prepared prosecution case. An effective witness protection program is also a must for prosecuting terrorists.

 Ninth, attention should be given to economic development and employment generation to attract the youth for normal living. However, all this requires the control of terrorism. Otherwise the much needed economic development may not be possible.

 Tenth, rehabilitation and re-education programs need to be introduced to accommodate who give up terrorism and violence. They need to be retained to lead a normal life in the society and must be helped to adopt some professions leading to a financially stable life.

bDwse��؈�ic since the death of 22 children after consuming mid-day meals in Chappra district of Bihar. The party said he had not bothered to visit the families of the kids who died.

Terming as wrong perception that Sangh is ideological fountainhead of BJP, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said the essence of its activities is to build a strong India with Hindutva at its core. “Many misgivings about Sangh is prevailing in the society for different reasons and people talk about Sangh without knowing about it or essence of its activities,” Bhagwat said while addressing a gathering on the eve of Shravan Poornima.

Meanwhile, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is in favour of seeking people’s views in formulating the party’s manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha elections a move the BJP ridiculed saying the electorate want a Congress-free country. According to Indian media, in one of the closed-door meetings with party leaders recently, Gandhi said the party must incorporate what the people want in the manifesto and it should be finalised by seeking their views and not sitting in offices.

“It should have the involvement of people,” Gandhi is learnt to have said.

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