Role of Pakistan to counter global terrorism
A detained alleged teenage suicide
bomber in Mingora in Swat valley. AFP
The international community feels constantly threatened over growing
menace of terrorism, extremism and militancy. The community maintains
that the terrorists have openly declared war on the world and humanity
at large in the name of Islam. Given this distressing state of affairs,
peace continues to remain elusive. Without peace, security and
stability, no activity for socio-economic development is possible. The
world community is, therefore, pushing for making a concerted effort to
counter these evil forces. Pakistan strategic and geographic location in
the region, links interest of the whole world. This position thus carves
a role of front- line state of Pakistan.
Aftermath of 9/11
After September 11, 2001, when symbols of Americ economic might, the
Twin Towers in New York, the nerve-centre of its military, the Pentagon,
and the White House were simultaneously subjected to attack, America
held Al-Qaeda responsible for the same.
In order to rout the organization, it decided to assail Afghanistan.
Once again, America wooed Pakistan. This time it was support for the US
war on terror that topped the agenda and for this Islamabad succumbed to
Since March 2004, Pakistan is confronted with mounting threat of
Talibanization, which has spread from the autonomous Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border deeper into the
NWFP, with Swat becoming a major stronghold for Pakistani Taliban.
Foreign fighters (Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens) including Al-Qaeda militants
are also operating in tribal areas. The Kalashinkov culture following
the Afghan- Russia war was converted into terrorism and militancy. The
militants have gained strength with the help of local criminals, drug
mafia, arms dealers and foreign hands joining them on the way.
Pakistan lost its great leader Mohatarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed to
terrorists. Around 2,000 Pakistanis lost their lives in more than 600
terror related incidents last year alone. A direct and indirect loss of
more than $35 billion has been inflicted on Pakistan economy. Unless and
until the nation gets rid of terrorism, attention could not be paid to
other challenges like inflation, power generation and the economic
The situation became precarious as the militants descended from their
mountain hide-outs in Swat. They were in possession of many strategic
points and intended to take control of additional areas. They were out
to impose their lifestyle on civil society.
Taliban combatants terrified the people. They attacked the Security
Forces, kidnapped the people and beheaded them dubbing them as spies.
They desecrated mosques and funeral prayers and destroyed schools,
hospitals and killed innocent people including children. Their threats
to journalists, politicians and others reflected their intention to rule
by force and unleash their barbaric sway.
They had captured emerald mines. They seized houses and Government
buildings. They piled up money by collecting ransom. They also looted a
number of branches of the banks.
They resorted to destruction of girls schools. Restrictions were
placed on women from coming out of their homes. There was public
flogging of a young girl by militants in Swat. They attacked the saint
shrines and mausoleums of Sufis and religious figures. They destroyed
the shrine of Rehman Baba. These negated the basic teachings of Islam.
They in fact wanted to crumble the federation. They were widely
considered as the enemy of Islam, humanity, peace and stability and
future of the country.
Breach of agreement
Contrary to their commitment that after implementation of Nizam e-
Adl they would discontinue their activities, they continued to display
arms and carry out their activities, even after signing of the peace
agreement. Sufi Muhammad, the head of the Tanzim Nifaz Shariat- e-
Muhammadi (TNSM) declared that democracy was un-Islamic and that sharia
must be enforced across Pakistan. Taliban militants wanted to enforce
their own brand of laws in the region and started challenging writ of
the Government by attacking Government buildings, courts and security
forces in Buner, Dir and Shangla.
The militant tactics used off the war area included booby traps,
roadside bombs and other type of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
besides suicide bombers. The continued wave of bomb blasts against law-
enforcing agencies in NWEP and Punjab was intended to divert attention
of Pakistan Armed Forces from concentration of militants.
The blatant challenging of the writ of the Government constrained
Pakistan Armed Forces to launch a massive operation called operation
Rah-e- Raast since April, 2009, so as to flush out the anti-state
elements in the north-west of the country. The Army with the support of
Pakistan Air Force carried out operations in swat, Bajaur, lower Dir and
Buner against the militants and extremists.
Pakistan Armed Forces have indeed the support of all segments of
society against terrorism and militancy. The Taliban and other Jihadi
cohorts have lost their appeal. A recent survey showed 81 percent
Pakistanis think that the activities of the Taliban and other extremists
are a critical threat, up from last 34 percent in September 2007.
The Security Forces hunted down the Taliban militants. Pakistan Armed
Forces in operation Rah-e- Raast in Swat cleared the town of Mingora,
Charbagjh city overcoming stiff resistance. Militants strongholds in
Mingora, Peochar, Kabal, Khwazakhela, and Shangla had been attacked
successfully. Resultantly, Pakistan Armed Forces succeeded in defeating
the insurgents by ejecting them from Buner, Dir and other adjacent
areas. So far, over 3000 militants have been killed including high
profile commanders like Ibne Amin, Zainuddin and Taliban, Swat chapter.
Their command and control, logistics and training infrastructure has
been destroyed. Substantial number of middle and low level leadership
has been wiped out. According to Army sources, there was least
possibility of return of the leadership of the Taliban to regroup and
operate in the valley.
The operation conducted by the Armed Forces in Swat to flush out
around 5,000 militants and led 3.5 million people to shift to camps in
Peshawar, Charsada, Mardan and Swabi.
Operation Rah-e- Raast is advancing to its successful culmination
paving way for the safe return of IDPs of Malakand Division including
Swat. No-go areas like Peuchar, Skahra and Biha valleys have been
secured. The Security Forces cleared mines and defused Improvised
Explosive Devices (IEDs) and destroyed hide- outs of the terrorists.
Setting up a cantonment
A number of training centres having tunnels and bunkers have also
been destroyed. On completion of the Operation Rah-e- Raast, the Army
has now launched the Operation Subh-e- Nau for repatriation of IDPs. The
Emergency Responsive Unit (ERU) has been formed to deal with the issue
Chairman of Special Support Group (SSG) indicated that IDPs
repatriation would be completed in four phases. In the wake of evolving
security constraints, the Government has decided to establish a
cantonment in Swat.
An elite force is also being constituted for Malkand and services of
1,800 ex-army men have been hired.
With the approval of Chief of Army Staff. Besides, community policing
system is being introduced in the affected areas. Checkpoints are being
set up on entrance and exit points. Latest scanning equipment is also
being installed at each check point.
The Armed Forces are now engaged in the operation Rah-e- Nijat
against Baithullah Mashud and his network in south Waziristhan Agency.
He and his terrorists have wreaked havoc on Pakistan people’s lives and
properties and indeed are posing a civilization threat to the homeland.
He spearheads terrorist attacks in settled areas. There are reportedly
12000 Mehsud fighters. The Security Forces have also to confront three
other terrorist chiefs and their networks operating in Waziristhan,
namely Maulvi Nazir, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and the deadliest of them all,
Jalaluddin Haqqani, a national of Afghanistan.
The US has reportedly made 40 drone sorties inside the Pakistan
border in the last 10 months killing hundred of persons. The ever
increasing bitterness and resentment amongst the local population in
particular and public in general against the US drone attacks involving
extensive collateral damage is vitiating overall atmosphere. Thereby
impacting negatively on Armed Forces gains.
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserts that Pakistan efforts
to take on the Taliban on its side of the border are being hampered by
the failure of American and British troops in Afghanistan to monitor
their side. Two years ago we were being criticized by the West for our
ISI (Inter Services Intelligence agency) helping the Taliban cross into
The Minister maintained, we have stopped the border crossing. Now we
re finding the same situation. They’re coming from the other side,
bringing arms and fighters from Helmand into Baluchistan and into
Waziristhan. Should we say it Afghan or western intelligence helping
Pakistani family in Swat Valley. AFP
The Armed Forces are also closely safeguarding nuclear weapons as
western nations apprehend that Taliban sympathizers within Pakistan Army
could help the terrorist organizations acquire some of the country
Pakistan Armed Forces despite heavy odds are putting up a tenacious
fight against terrorism and militancy. The Taliban make use of the
battlefields of southern Afghanistan as a training ground. They have
turned into a disciplined fighting force and the terrain suits them
whereas the Pakistan Forces are mainly trained in conventional warfare.
Heavy death toll
In hilly terrain, the infantry has to make use of tracks made by
animals adding to its logistic problems. Moreover, so long Pakistan
military is preoccupied by any potential threat from India, it could not
appropriately concentrate on eliminating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda
In the war on terror, around 1500 Armed Forces personnel have
embraced martyrdom since September 2001. These sacrifices are being
commended by the international allies in war on terror.
Admiral Mike Mullen, US chairman Joint Chief of Staff said: A year
ago, not many people would have said that the Pakistan military could
pull that Swat off, and yet they have made an awful lot of progress.
The G-8 Summit held in Italy in July this year, said in a statement
that they stand with Pakistan in its fight against the recent surge in
Taliban activity in the northwest of country, where military is trying
to push back a growing insurgency. British Foreign Secretary David
Miliband recently announced that the UK fully recognized Pakistan
immense sacrifices in war against terrorism.
Pakistan Armed Forces’ operation against extremists and militants has
achieved a great success. As a matter of fact, the victory of the Armed
Forces over the perpetrators of violence and terrorism remains a major
determinant of a viable future of Pakistan and sustainable peace all the