Towards Extirpating Violent Extremism

On February 22, Pakistan Army launched yet another operation all over Pakistan after a series of deadly attacks that exacted tremendous civilian toll; a move of hostile elements against the strategic shift of the country towards peace and prosperity. The returning normalcy and sustained peace wasn’t seen as favourable by the terrorists who are on the run and exploiting the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan to regroup and mount attacks inside Pakistan.

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad with coordinated and clear lines of engagement will focus and advance efforts for zeroing in on terrorist infrastructure and network of terrorists throughout Pakistan. It is continuity of previous operations especially Operation Zarb-e-Azb to indiscriminately eliminate residual/latent threat of terrorism consolidating gains of operations made thus far. In the previous operations terrorist sanctuaries in FATA were destroyed and multiple successes in Balochistan and Karachi were also achieved during the same time frame. However, it seems to be an unending battle because of the enemy sympathizers within Pakistan and a confluence of external destabilizing factors that put Pakistan in a place of strategic vulnerability and disadvantage.

Although attacks are planned and the attackers are provided training in Afghanistan their sympathizers, abettors and facilitators inside Pakistan give undoubted impetus to their plans. Pakistan is making efforts to get hold of these abettors and facilitators and ensure effective prosecution of those engaged in preparing terrorists for the attacks, their training and recruitment. Pakistan is also welcoming recent proposal from Afghan authorities to take forward the mutual coordination and exchange of information for a result oriented effort against terrorism.

During Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Corps, Police and intelligence agencies will work together in the light of National Action Plan to eliminate violence. The operation will provide the much necessary cleansing in populated areas where the terrorists had relocated during the previous operations. The nature of this operation is more sophisticated and complex as avoiding collateral damage would pose a big challenge to our LEAs. The operation envisages steps and measures that go beyond mere kinetics and will involve a sustained country-wide surge against terrorist facilitation networks.

In the meantime, denouncing the radical preachers of hate for the due course correction in order to prevent young people from embracing violent extremism and de-escalate the crises they feed off in the nearest possible term must take a stronger position in the national fabric. Terrorists, regardless of their origin, must be held accountable for destroying our social structure, killing innocent children and elders and disturbing civic infrastructure on the whole.

The ongoing operation is a reflection of Pakistan Army’s commitment to control borders and the key desideratum to bringing peace within the country and ensuring long-term stability. In the words of COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, "Each drop of nation's blood shall be avenged and avenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone”. We will never let the nefarious designs of our enemies to undermine our resolve to fight back and to negatively project Pakistan as an unstable country succeed at any cost!

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