Pakistan’s Resilience and Strengths Against Radical Terrorism
By Iftikhar Hussain Butt
The Pakistan Day Parade, march past of soldiers, aerobatics of modern aircrafts, display of sophisticated weapons and zeal and zest of people have cast fear in the hearts of enemy states and their sponsored terrorists. Pakistan’s main strength lays in its peoples’ sentimental attachment with their national armed forces. Pakistanis are very proud of their troops who have sacrificed 6 thousand lives in the war against terrorism. Pakistan Army consists of six hundred thousands professional troops who are highly committed and motivated to root out terrorism from the Country. It has been real game changer; as it has been successfully countering the militancy in Swat and FATA. Its role in dismantling terrorist networks in urban centres is also highly commendable. In the latest phase of military operations, Pakistan Army has successfully conducted ‘Operation Zarb-E-Azb’ to eliminate the last pockets of militants’ resistance along the Pak-Afghan border. Therefore, the victory of people of Pakistan in war against terrorism is inevitable.
Religiously motivated terrorism of Al-Qaeda and DAISH and their affiliates and franchises has been a big challenge internationally. United States of America and its European allies put all their military power and resources against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq 17 years ago but still they are struggling for its complete elimination. Based on religious extremism, Al-Qaeda and DAISH are hard and sensitive threats for Muslim states as their ideology is appealing for a segment of their population. For same reason, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are in complete chaos while other Muslim states of Middle East and North Africa are also having difficulties in overcoming Al-Qaeda and DAISH. Pakistan, despite having limited resources and technology, has been successful against terrorists militarily and ideologically. The resilience of its people, their political awareness and professionalism of its army and security forces has been a hallmark against terrorism.
Pakistan has been facing a transnational terrorist threat; as Al-Qaeda, DAISH, TTP and other militant outfits have global links and networks. Hostile elements and international propaganda always projected Pakistan as a state which is crumbling due to the onslaught of terrorism. The takeover of its nuclear weapons by the religious extremists and failure of Pakistan state apparatus remain popular notions in the international media. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s media was also under this influence and it was often involved in threat exaggeration. The resolve of Pakistanis to defeat terrorists and commitment of their security forces to this cause is often underestimated by the electronic and print media.
Terrorists have primarily waged a war against the citizens of Pakistan, their values, beliefs and their national assets. Therefore, general public is united and defiant against them. 200 million people of Pakistan are facing terrorists bravely for the last two decades and all types of violent tactics employed by the militant organization could not shake their resolve to defeat them. Suicide bombings and attacks on schools, markets, transportation facilities, mosques, shrines and Imambargahs have caused large number of casualties and huge losses to the economy.
It has been observed that the trends and patterns of terrorism in the Muslim states, the democratic societies were less susceptible to religious extremism and terrorism while Al-Qaeda and DAISH’s ideologies made devastating impact on authoritarian regimes. The 60 % turnout in general elections of 2013 and recently held elections of local governments have once again proved that terrorists can never intimidate Pakistanis and the victory of people of Pakistan is inevitable in the war against terrorism. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia are democratic Muslim countries where people have rejected Al-Qaeda, its franchises and affiliates. The strength of these countries lies in openness for diversified political and religious ideologies. On the other hand, countries like Iraq and Libya were easily run over by Al-Qaeda and DAISH because people have a sense of depravation due to the authoritarian mode of government.
Despite deadly terrorists’ attacks, Pakistan’s state apparatus is also fully functional. Every settled district has operational policing system. Punjab and Sindh Rangers, Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary and Levies are available to backup Army and Police. Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan are working round the clock to foil the nefarious designs of militants and their masters in hostile agencies.
Security personnel are facing the brunt of terrorist attacks as they have stood up as saviors of the citizens, and their values, beliefs and assets. Therefore, general public and government are always willing to strengthen their hands against terrorists. In January 2015 government announced a consensus National Action Plan (NAP) to make sure that no terrorist can escape law of the land, while recently launched Radd-ul-Fasaad, a nationwide counter terrorism operation is a final blow to the extremist elements in Pakistan. In light of these facts and ground realities, Pakistanis will never tolerate extremist takeover of their country and its security institutions are fully capable and committed to defeat Al-Qaeda, DAISH, TTP and other militants.