The Decisive Phase (From Editor's Desk)

Pakistan is fighting the war against the menace of terrorism for the last over one decade. The Pakistani society has suffered hugely across all human spheres that include physical, psychological, social and economic, in addition to the loss of image of the nation across the globe. The kinetic prong of the war against terrorism, being led by the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), has gone through a number of phases, and witnessed several twists and turns. From 2004 to 2014, some 475 major and 133 minor operations have been launched to clear Bajaur Agency, Mohmand Agency, Malakand Division including Swat, and South Wazaristan, Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai agencies. North Waziristan Agency (NWA) awaited a major offensive operation. Though government gave peace and reconciliation a last chance, yet, 20 major acts of terror conducted from January 29 to June 8, 2014, in which 195 Pakistanis embraced shahadat, bears evidence to the fact that the terrorist organizations have never been sincere to a dialogued peace. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is a national effort to reinstate peace and order across the country. The political will as well as the level, magnitude and enormity of the effort speak of the significance of the operation and seriousness on part of the state to lead it to a logical end. It is of note that Operation Zarb-e-Azb is not an end in itself; it is a step towards restoring of the writ of government, destroying the sanctuaries of terrorists of all hue and colours, and shaping the environment for sustainable peace and development in the FATA and elsewhere in the country. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is progressing as planned. NWA was first surrounded and strangulated from all sides; the peace-loving people of the agency were facilitated to move out towards Bannu, and then the operation started both by the air and the ground forces. Miran Shah, the capital of NWA, has already been cleared while the ground operation in other parts of NWA including the town of Mir Ali goes on. Thus far, around 500 terrorists have been killed, 32 terrorists surrendered, 88 hideouts destroyed, 15 IED factories with over 2000 IEDs recovered, 23 tons explosive seized, and scores of weapons and ammunition have been confiscated. Some 30 security forces personnel have embraced shahadat since the commencement of the operation, while 88 have been injured. To guard against a blowback in other areas of Pakistan, an integrated security mechanism (ISM) has been put into execution, which is led by the civilian LEAs under the federal and provincial governments, and closely supported by Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies. Intelligence based operations (IBOs) in hundreds have been conducted as part of the ISM in which hundreds of terrorists have been apprehended from various parts of the country. On the whole, the operation continues on a high pace. The issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is the most significant of all, and indeed most sensitive towards the final stages of the war on terror. The mass of IDPs of NWA marks to be the second largest internal displacement during the recent years after Swat. It is a national responsibility warranting response from all individuals and institutions of the country. The safe return home of the IDPs is contingent upon the security situation and the comeback of normalcy to NWA. However, their safekeeping and human security as IDP is a function of national passion and the amount of support extended to them by each of us. This would greatly contribute towards driving the last nail in the coffin of terrorism with nationalistic passion and military precision, and thus the final outcome in the ongoing decisive phase of war on terror.

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