By Syed Saqib Ali Shah
The Pakistan Armed Forces had mounted serious pressure on Taliban groups after the series of terrorist attacks in February 2017 under Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. Nearly 100 people were killed only in five days that led to shelling on the hideouts of terrorists in Afghan border regions, mostly believed to be based in eastern Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan province. Pak-Army is committed to eliminate all terrorists and their facilitators across the borders. The TTP has also been under pressure in recent months as the movement has bitter internal competition for power after emerging failures and losses. A series of internal splits has seen major factions peel off. Some terrorists have rejected the brutal violence that has long been a hallmark of the movement. One of the famous faces in the Taliban hierarchy, Ehsanullah Ehsan’s surrender in front of Pak-Army is a serious blow to the militants in this regard. It is the result of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which is not the work of one institution; rather every Pakistani is a soldier of it.
The leader of TTP, Fazlullah made the statements in a video released in April to synergize the discouraged groups. He reiterated same deceptive statement that his group’s ultimate goal is to implement the law of Allah on the Earth and he called for unity to wage Jihad. Fazlullah, one of the most extreme commanders in a group filled with terrorists, also said that his group has been reorganized following a tumultuous period of assault by Pakistan Army. Throughout the speech, Fazlullah quoted concocted interpretations of verses from the Quran to provide false religious justification for the TTP’s war against the Pakistani military and government. Fazlullah also said that the cracks which were developed by the ISI and MI in TTP have almost been overcome by him.
The backbone of TTP and other terrorist groups has seemingly been broken by Operation Zarb-e-Azb and following Radd-ul-Fasaad. Now, these terrorists are trying every option in attempt to regain the lost relevance. Both the Pakistan government and the military are unanimous in their belief that many terrorist groups had been weakened by the counter-terrorism operations inside and across the border of Pakistan. In these operations their bases as well as command and control structures were destroyed. However, the hostile RAW and NDS are trying to revitalize their terrorist assets against Pakistan because they cannot digest the improving situation in Pakistan. In Pakistan, the Economic Cooperation Organization summit has been held and cricket matches have been planned successfully. Enemies want to disturb this situation once again and they can easily orchestrate this with the help of these terrorists; however, in this game plan, their front face Fazlullahonce again called to regain lost strength for reunification.
In his statement, Fazlullah is referring to the attempts of TTP’s reorganization following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, and his appointment in 2013. Several powerful branches of the TTP chafed at the appointment of Fazlullah and broke away. TTP finally brought one of the last major factions, the Khalid Mehsud Group, back into the fold earlier this year. At the time of the split, the spokesman for Mehsud group accused its parent organization of being “un-Islamic”. But Mehsud group realized that only the main faction of TTP is getting full support, the money and weapons (from NDS and RAW) and they are getting comparatively low, so their stance changed suddenly. They decided to reunite with main TTP which was once un-Islamic during their defection from it. Another important aspect is that Mehsud group was badly disgruntled by Pak-Army. They didn’t have any resources left, so either they would have to surrender or make up with the main faction.
Additionally, Fazlullah also tried to mislead people in his video, appealing for Jihad against blasphemers. He wants to play with emotions of Muslims to use them to take laws in their hands for propagation of terrorism. There is considerable public denunciation of TTP’s so-called Jihad mantra and they are trying to make themselves relevant. However, to get attention he is now trying to deceive people in the name of blasphemy. Fazlullah, who is also known as Mullah Radio for his radical sermons was one of the first terrorist leaders to have opposed polio vaccinations. In 2012, he ordered the assassination of Malala Yousufzai, the young schoolgirl who has spoken out passionately against the terrorism of Taliban in Swat. In the past, the TTP has launched numerous attacks against Pakistani schools, including the deadly assault in APS Peshawar in December 2014 which resulted in the deaths of at least 148 students. Most of those killed were innocent children. Nevertheless, TTP and other related terrorist groups, having connections in Afghanistan are following the agenda of enemies against Islam and Pakistan. Their aim is to create fear and panic in the society to weaken the whole country. Therefore, all eminent religious scholars have already rejected the deviant ideology of terrorists for so-called Jihad. Now, as a tactical move terrorists want to capitalize the hyphened concerns of Muslims regarding blasphemy.
Perhaps, it is because of Pak-Army’s counter terrorism operations which hit terrorists so effectively that they need to band together to survive. Even when separate, they were trying their level best to expand terrorism. Nothing changes by them being separate and nothing will change as they will still be trying the same. When Pakistan is emerging from the dark clouds of terrorism, here they are regrouping for terrorism. All these terrorist groups have escaped from Pakistan and are regrouping in Afghanistan, funded by RAW and NDS which is even worse. If NDS has paid an ounce of work on internal security rather than doing anti-Pakistan activities, things would have been hundred times better in Afghanistan. Indian NSA Ajit Doval had openly admitted that they are funding TTP. All TTP leaders that are caught yet including Ehsanullah Ehsan have confessed to Indian funding. They are not religious groups; they are mercenaries hired by Indians through Afghans but they will not be able to pursue this any longer. Those few terrorist that are left and trying for reunification would be eliminated along with their launch-pads.