Operation Zarb-e-Azb two years on

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    A long road to travel

     

    Director General (DG) of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa while citing the success gained in the ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ said that 4,304 sq km area has been cleared in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North Waziristan. He claimed that as many as 3,500 terrorists were killed in last two years and 992 hideouts of terrorists have been destroyed in the Operation

     

     

    The much-awaited military operation to curb the terrorists was finally launched a week after the attack on Jinnah International Airport Karachi on June 15 two years ago and named ‘Zarb-e-Azb’. It is right to claim that the attacks of terrorists have decreased since the launch of the Operation but it is equally evident that militancy and terrorism have not been completely uprooted. Pakistan has witnessed some brutal terror activities in last two years. The deadly attack of December 2014 on Army Public School Peshawar, the brutal attack of January 2016 on Bacha Khan University Charsadda and the tragic incident of suicide blast in Lahore Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park of March 2016 are attacks in hundreds of innocent people were killed since the launch of ‘Zarb-e-Azb’.

    However, the Director General (DG) of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa while citing the success gained in the ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ said that 4,304 sq km area has been cleared in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North Waziristan. He claimed that as many as 3,500 terrorists were killed in last two years and 992 hideouts of terrorists have been destroyed in the Operation.

    “The law and order situation in Karachi has improved and life has returned to the city,” Bajwa said and added that 1,200 terrorists have been killed only in Karachi.

    Yet two high profile cases were witnessed in Karachi days after Bajwa’s claim that life had returned to the city; the kidnapping of the son of Sindh High Court’s Chief Justice and the killing of renowned qawwal Amjad Sabri in broad day light.

    When contacted the Chairperson of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence Shaikh Rohale Asghar told DNA that “We ourselves let this monster of terror nourish for long but the Pakistan army has defeated it successfully in the short time span of two years”.

    He was of the view that the support of civilian institutions is also required in such operations and the civil government stood firm with the army in this specific operation. When asked about the much-talked National Action Plan (NAP), he admitted that the progress of NAP was slow in the beginning but now it is being implemented in letter and spirit. We have been engulfed by international conspiracies as well in fighting terrorism as some foreign intelligence agencies are actively operating from across the border against Pakistan, the lawmaker from ruling party said and added that some more time is required to eradicate the monster completely.

    When our soldiers are fighting the war of survival for us, it is ridiculous that a provincial government is allocating Rs300 million to the notorious ‘Darul Uloom Haqqania’ — a seminary that is revered as a mother institution for thousands of Taliban leaders. It is equally shameful for Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK) government to allocate such a hefty amount to the seminary by keeping in view that KPK is the most affected province of terrorism. It is pertinent to mention here that late Afghan Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani was also a graduate of this seminary among others.

    Senator Shahi Syed of Awami National Party (ANP) criticised the allocation of Rs300 million to the religious seminary while talking to DNA.

    “The country is fighting a war on terror but the PTI-led government is awarding hefty amounts to a religious seminary which is considered as pro-Taliban,” he said. “Remember it was Imran Khan who demanded the opening of a Taliban office in Islamabad.”

    According to Syed, NAP was not implemented in its true spirit due to political weaknesses. Talking about the deteriorating law and order of Karachi, the provincial president of ANP from Sindh said that a war of interests is being fought in Karachi and dispelled the impression that there is any fight of religion, cast or creed in the city of lights.

    He said that the Superintendent of Police (SP) was transferred soon after the kidnapping of Chief Justice’s son but the same officer came back to his position within a few days just because of political pressure. The police and law enforcement agencies must be freed from political pressure to bring peace in the city, Syed said, who has been living in Karachi for long.

    The Director General of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute Dr Maria Sultan said that the most important feature of Zarb-e-Azb is that it has built a national narrative to fight the militants in any form. She told DNAthere is a need to expand the Operation to urban centres to bring this war to its logical end. She was of the view that we need to document all the people residing in Pakistan as it is necessary for our national security by keeping in view the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the conspiracies of foreign intelligence agencies.

    “Better border management with Afghanistan is also required to achieve peace in Pakistan and the government must urge the Afghan government to take actions against those who are taking part in nefarious activities against Pakistan while sitting in Afghanistan,” the defence analyst said. According to Dr Maria, administrative and governance issues also need to be addressed to maintain law and order in the country.

    The government introduced the National Action Plan soon after the attack on Army Public School Peshawar which paved the way for the 21stconstitutional amendment and the establishment of military courts. There were some 20 points of NAP to uproot extremism and militancy in Pakistan. It is evident that the air was leaked out from the balloon of NAP when the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri challenged the writ of state in Lahore’s Chairing Cross by chanting anti-government slogans and delivering hated speeches in the light of day but no action was taken against them.

    Whenever a terrorist attack takes place, statements of condemnation are floated by the political leadership but stern action against terrorists is still missing as evident by recent developments of Karachi. Our army has lost 490 soldiers in last two years and their sacrifice must not be wasted and time has come to get rid of the monster of terror.