Coping with the terrorist threat


Cooperation between government and military is the only way to go

The operation in North Waziristan Agency initiated on June 15 is now to be extended to more remote areas of the Agency. Expectations expressed at the start of the operation that it would end in a couple of months have turned out to be unrealistic. What one understands from the statement by the COAS is that the army is consolidating gains of the first phase of the operation and it would soon extend it to the remote areas of the agency to take out the terrorist’s sanctuaries. One hopes the operation would be concluded expeditiously to allow the IDPs who are waiting to return to NWA at the earliest.

The army chief had earlier announced that special intelligence-based operations would be conducted in other parts of the country to prevent terrorists from re-grouping and striking back. The recent spurt in the terrorist incidents outside NWA indicates that there is a need to pay more attention to these areas. After the initial shock of their defeat which also caused demoralisation and led to divisions in the terrorists’ ranks, they are on the offensive again. In July they launched several attacks in Bajaur from the Afghan side. Subsequently they concentrated on Mohmand. The sectarian wing of the terrorists has frequently struck in Karachi throughout the PML-N launched operation in the city. This week it targeted two high profile figures. The shooting down of a high ranking army officer in a sectarian attack in Sargodha indicates that the activities of the network are by no means confined to Karachi alone. The attack inside Navy Dockyard in Karachi should meanwhile act as a reminder that the radicalisation of certain military personnel is an issue yet to be seriously tackled.

There should be no ground for complacency. What is needed on of the part of the civilian and military security agencies is to fully focus on the issue of terrorism. Terrorists can be sorted out only through full cooperation between the government and the military.