BY MAHNOOR SHEIKH
How is it different?
The failure to completely implement the National Action Plan (NAP) – launched in an agony after the attack at Army Public School, Peshawar in 2014 – still remains unexplained. According to the press release issued by the ISPR, the pursuance of NAP will be the hallmark of this operation but something that needs to be asked is why the implementation of NAP itself is not ensured first
Following the recent wave of terrorism that has hit country in the past two weeks, Pakistan army on Wednesdaylaunched a country-wide counter-terrorism operation called Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad meaning ‘elimination of disorder or mischief’.
The ‘disorder or mischief’ here is of the terrorism which has existed since Pakistan allied itself with the United States in its old war against the Soviet Union. Assisting Afghanistan and providing its land to train jihadis or ‘freedom fighters’ for the US, Pakistan itself became a victim of this so-called jihad. Since then, the terrorist attacks in Pakistan have claimed thousands of lives while in this recent spate of terrorism, over 100 people have been killed and countless others have been injured.
The fresh wave of terrorism began with a suicide blast at Lahore’s Mall Road killing 13 people, including protesting chemists and police officials; followed by the attack outside a government office in Mohmand Agency killing five people, the attack at a judges’ vehicle in Peshawar killing one, the deadly attack at the shrine of Lal ShahbazQalandar in Sehwan killing over 85, the blast outside a local court in Charsadda killing five and the blast at Defence Z-Block market in Lahore killing 13 people (which is not claimed to be a terrorist attack).
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Islamic State and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar have separately claimed responsibility for these attacks, which shows how these networks continue to strengthen and carry out terror activities in the country raising eyebrows over the sustainability of the unqualified successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Also, the failure to completely implement the National Action Plan (NAP) – launched in an agony after the attack at Army Public School, Peshawar in 2014 – still remains unexplained. According to the press release issued by the ISPR, the pursuance of NAP will be the hallmark of this operation but something that needs to be asked is why the implementation of NAP itself is not ensured first. Only a new attack reminds the civilian and military government of the plan which goes down the priority list just as terror incidents subsides.
DNA talked to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi regarding the newly launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.
“Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad is launched to achieve the targets of NAP itself. It has the same objectives as NAP. Other than that, this operation will not only root out terrorism but will also help counter extremism,” Qureshi said.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb was only for counter-insurgency, for people coming from outside and operating in the country. Radd-ul-Fasaad will however be a wider and extensive operation targeting terrorists across the country, the PTI leader said, and added that Zarb-e-Azb was definitely a complete success as it cleared many areas of terrorist sanctuaries and the ratio of terrorist attacks reducing consequently.
As for the implementation of NAP, Qureshi said both civilian and military formations did their job. However, some points like madrassa reforms and registration and regulation of religious seminaries, etc, were neglected by the civilian government.
When DNA talked to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Mushahidullah Khan regarding the operation, he said there is nothing different about it. It is just an addition to NAP and if there is an addition that can help reduce terrorism, we should be happy about it.
This is a wrong impression that NAP has not been implemented. Some points of NAP were to be implemented by the centre while others by provincial governments, the centre has done its job, Mushahidullah added.
The government has some news from intelligence and other departments which suggests that there is foreign (Indian) involvement in these terrorist incidents as the enemies of Pakistan want to create hurdles in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan Super League (PSL). India is operating though Afghanistan. Although we had good relations with Afghanistan and we kept its refugees but one of its sections is in India’s influence,creating trouble for Pakistan, the PML-N senator further said.
“If the government has launched this operation, it means that there is credible intelligence. They are attacking soft targets now which means Operation Zarb-e-Azb was successful. It is reaching its logical conclusion as the terrorists are on the run and this operation, Radd-ul-Fasaad, would also succeed because evil can’t prevail. The terror incidents have still reduced to 75-80 per cent but this war will continue till the last terrorist exists,” Mushahidullah added.
Commenting on the newly launched operation, security analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said a new military operation is launched every two to three years. For now, we can’t say how different it would be from other operations but the only major difference is that this operation will be conducted across the country. However, she said, the question still exists if they will take action against their ‘friend militant organisations’.
Commenting on the newly launched operation, security analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said a new military operation is launched every two to three years. For now, we can’t say how different it would be from other operations but the only major difference is that this operation will be conducted across the country
After Operation Zarb-e-Azb, it was claimed everything has been cleared, it is in its last phase; but then there’s a new series of blasts. If Zarb-e-Azb was successful, such incidents wouldn’t be happening, Siddiqa said while talking to DNA.
When asked if Radd-ul-Fasaad would be any different from NAP, the analyst said, “The operation is related to arrests only while NAP caters to broader segments. It is yet to be seen how much this operation can restore peace in the country because extremism still exists. There is still no discussion and questions regarding interpretation of religion among the people to counter the problem of extremism. Army itself supports many militant groups, so what can the civilian setup do about the implementation of NAP. If you touch only some madrassahs of the militant organisations and leave others, you can’t claim transparency.”
“There is a narrative that only the army is good, people can’t see anything other than that and media also helps present only one side of this picture. The policy is made by someone else and the responsibility is claimed by someone else. There are two governments at the moment and things can’t get better in such a situation,” Siddiqa added.
The Pakistan army has already launched and completed at least ten counter-terrorism operations in the past decade, most of which are claimed to be successful. It remains to be seen how Radd-ul-Fasaad will finally eliminate this menace of terrorism from the country, with additional objectives of carrying out operations in Punjab, border management, de-weaponisation and explosive control besides indiscriminate elimination of residual terrorist threats, as enough innocent blood has spilled over the years in this so-called war, which is not a war of arms but of mindsets.
Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk