Pakistan is against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Well, this has been our official policy line for very many years, but unfortunately, we have failed to prove it to the world, and not too many in the comity of nations are ready to acknowledge the countless sacrifices — loss of 70,000 precious lives of civilians and security personnel and more than hundred billion dollars in terms of squandered economic opportunities and damaged infrastructure — that Pakistan rendered in the US-led war on terror.
The FATF review is now coming up — in roughly two months from now — and the task is to avoid the black list by proving that Pakistan is truly against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Even if Pulwama is another factor in Pakistan moving to act against terrorism and extremism on its soil, it’s indeed a blessing in disguise: the state is serious in putting its house in order.
Days after announcing a three-phase policy — featuring political, economic and administrative measures — to curb the menace of terrorism, a number of steps have been taken against terrorists and terror outfits in the country in line with the decisions taken at a recent meeting of the National Security Committee.
As many as 44 members affiliated with proscribed organisations — including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdul Rauf and son Hammad Azhar — into ‘preventive custody’ under the National Action Plan. Besides, two seminaries and property belonging to proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat have been taken over by the government.
While the commitment and resolve on the part of the state is there, fighting gun-wielding terrorists as well as extremists, many of whom are educated too, is a complex task that is unlikely to finish any time soon. The challenging battle requires coordinated action across all levels of state institutions.
The 20-point National Action Plan — that was devised with national consensus in the wake of the December 2014 Army Public School massacre — provides a comprehensive strategy to deal with the long-haunting menace. The plan needs to be implemented in letter and spirit, and this war on terror must continue till achievement of its objectives.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2019.