last two decades, Pakistan has been in the eyes of storm due to the rampant
rise of terrorism. This created continuous political turbulence, social
fragmentation, and internal security disorder in society. 9/11 attacks, the
fatal and most terrible event of the 21st century, shifted the paradigm of the
global security system. It’s extremely baffling that despite having the world’s
most advanced defence technology and intelligence sharing network, the US
administration was unable to follow some pre-emptive measures to stop the 9/11
consequences were unmanageable, detrimental due to thousands of causalities of
civilians and security forces, security threats and large-scale infrastructure
destruction. The new wave of terrorism has jeopardized the credibility of
national and international security, to curb the brutality of terror acts every
country participated to eliminate the menace of terrorism.
incidents of such a brutish terror act occurred worldwide, but the South Asian
region has suffered the most, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan. The
invincible wave of terrorism affected more than 70 countries and thousands of
people lost their lives on the name of extremist ethos, sectarianism, violence,
xenophobia, and discrimination across the globe. The security challenges of
Pakistan are multidimensional with diverse internal and external threats, which
need a cohesive strategic framework to counter these existential threats.
is now becoming a global threat in the current international political arena,
which is intimidating the global security order. Whenever such terror acts
happened anywhere in the world; Violence and political motives remain
substantive ingredients of terrorism. There are enormous examples of such
attacks, 9/11 attacks were deadliest event ever happened in US history, which
caused approximately 3,000 casualties and Al-Qaeda were associated to carry out
these attacks. These terrorist attacks triggered the Bush administration to
take initiative to combat terrorism and declared “war on terror” to eradicate
terrorism. This event was the pivotal point of emergence of terror activities,
the USA started to wipe off Al-Qaeda and its network through hard power, but
gradually these militant groups moved to tribal areas of Pakistan because there
were no proper reconnaissance and surveillance to keep check on militant
groups. Stepping in of these targeted militant groups to tribal areas enforced
our military, security forces and law enforcement agencies to launch operations
against these extremist and militant groups.
opaque fact must be required to clear and understandable that the participation
of Pakistan in the war on terror was inevitable due to multiple reasons like;
the presence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Geographic proximity, security and
intelligence sharing network with the USA, the influx of Afghan refugees,
supply route of NATO through Southern distribution Network. So, Pakistan has
decided to participate in the war on terror to abstain from any serious
uncertainty and start conducting a series of operations against these terrorist
groups to eliminate them.
After the 9/11
incident, Pakistan has remained at the frontline to lead the fight against
terrorism. Unfortunately, this country suffered numerous terrorist attacks. In
response, Pakistan military along with civilian leadership has followed various
counter-terrorism strategies against the militant groups like; Al Qaeda, TTP,
ISIS, Haqqani Network and many other terrorist groups.
meticulous efforts of Pakistan have been acknowledged by the whole world. This
fact must be focused that Pakistan remains a victim of terrorism losses more
than 80,000 human lives included Pakistan military persons and civilians, the
financial loss of $126 billion, two million displaced people, destruction of
country’s infrastructure and damaging the national sovereignty in the war on
numerous sacrifices, implementation of counterterrorism strategies in the form
of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and National Action plan (NAP),
there is a hallmark decline in terrorist-based activities and violence, which
help Pakistan’s government and security institutions to eliminate the scourge
of militancy. The moto behind these strategic plans is to integrate all
national efforts against terrorism to contain and dismantle terrorist networks.
The war on terror drastically affected the economy of the country,
socio-political conditions and has an adverse psychological impact on ordinary
to Combat Terrorism and Military Operations
strategy to counter terrorism was the use of “hard power” by Pakistan military
and it includes several operations which have been conducted to combat
terrorism; Battles of Swat also known as Operation Rah-e-Haq (2007) and
Operation Rah-e-Rast (2009) these two battles of Swat were initiated by
Pakistan Armed Forces to destroy the network of terrorist groups. Fazlullah the
head of a militant group with the support of external actors have occupied
about 70% of Swat Valley to suppress people and disrupt the law and order
situation. These terrorists were formulating and implementing their own rigid
justice and governance system, they have also adversely damaged the
Infrastructure, regional administration, industries, education institutions,
and socio-economic activities.
political turmoil and chaos were caused by anti-Pakistan elements to
destabilize the internal security of the state. Swat is strategically a very
important region for Pakistan, to curtail the viciousness and growing influence
of militant groups Pakistan army launched a successful operation to crackdown
the Talibanization of Swat.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb (2014) and Operation Raad-ul-fasad (2017) initiated across
the country to dismantle the menace of terrorism. Currently, a series of
Operation Khyber is still going on to get rid of terrorist entities. The main
areas of operation were Swat Valley, FATA, North & South Waziristan Agency,
Orakzai Agency. As a result, Pakistan armed forces with the help of civilian
leadership targeted and eliminated head figures of militant groups and
destroyed their affiliated networks. The results were quite successive by
exterminating thousands of militants and restoring peace in these areas.
operations, terrorists start targeting soft areas like schools, mosques, and
hospitals, etc. The government of Pakistan couldn’t stop closing these
institutions and our military again started offensive strategy using hard power
to pull down and annihilate them. The government have also resettled the
displaced peoples and brings political stability in the region. Due to these
sacrifices, now common lives are again flourishing and people are free for
their movement to educational institutions and worships. A state also needs
some comprehensive and soft power instruments to tackle the menace of
militancy. Similarly, another strategy was establishing the National Internal
Security policy, a chain of Soft power which has three prominent strategic
objectives: Negotiations with all contracting parties, Separation of terrorist
groups, dismantling their funding systems, and Deactivation of existential
another deadliest terrorist attack happened at Army Public School, Peshawar
which killed 156 peoples, 132 victims were children, and this event pressurized
the government, civil-military leadership and law enforcing agencies to take
decisive action. This was the first time in the history of Pakistan that all
national institutions were on a single platform and they have a common
narrative to get retribution against these militant groups. Another concrete
and comprehensive strategy which helps to overcome the terror acts was
“National Action Plan” (2014) which consist main points like; execution of
terrorists, establishment of Special trial courts under military supervision,
dismantling the financing networks, ensure to avoid the participating of any
foreign organization in operations, fortification of anti-terrorism
institutions, ensure the smooth functioning of National Counter Terrorism
Authority, settlement of IDPs, halting extremist activities, banning religious
exploitation, working against sectarianism, an inclusive plan to manage Afghan
refugees, immediate action against social media exploitation etc. These
strategies work out very impressively to obliterate the extremist and terrorist
comprehensive plan assists law enforcement institutions to counter terrorism in
the most feasible way. Over a period of years, Pakistan has made institutions
like Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and National Counter Terrorism
Authority (NACTA) to tackle terrorism. Primarily, these institutions worked
with the collaboration of armed forces but with due time handed over to
civilian leadership. These organizations mainly focus on combating terrorism,
militancy, addressing endemic insecurity and radicalization.
operations brought successful results which include; elimination of training
centres of militant organizations, destroying IEDs factories and warehouses,
halting financial support by foreign actors, breaking down militant’s media
cell, killing more than 5,000 militants to curb terrorism. The outcomes of
counter-terrorism efforts are explicitly vivid and glaring which includes;
Economic Stability, reviving foreign investment, effective security framework,
maintaining the writ of the state, strategic ties with other countries, strengthening
civil-military relations and restoring the positive image of Pakistan. The
incumbent government of Pakistan has proposed a 10-year of sustainable
development plan to renovate and develop the tribal districts. The above whole
discourse proved that despite having internal political chaos and conflict,
Pakistan rigorously worked out to wipe off terrorism, militancy and extremist
groups from society.
The Government of Pakistan and armed forces have striven to curb war on
terror but there is a need for the formulation of effective policies to
regulate law enforcing agencies in a better way for a long-term solution.
The reconstruction and development of tribal areas, resettlement and
rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) must be focused to
normalize their daily routine.
The mainstreaming of the religious institutions and transforming their
curriculum compatible with advanced academic courses will help students to
compete in field jobs.
An effective criminal justice system is essential to combat terrorism.
Another most crucial factor is the educational reforms in schools,
colleges, and universities because numerous educated people have also joined
these terrorist organizations in previous years. So, it is extremely imperative
to bring educational reforms to improve the quality of education.
The recent merger of tribal areas will consolidate the governance system
and will maintain the constitutional order.
Similarly, the political representation of tribal areas will provide a
platform to address the socioeconomic and political problems of citizens.
Improvement and training of security forces in tribal areas will pave
way for better administration of society.
The constructive role of Islamic scholars also could play a pertinent
and significant role to overcome extremist ideas and militancy.
terrorism-efforts of Pakistan improved the overall security situation of the
country, which was considered as a battle zone in previous years but now the
situation had been transformed into a peaceful environment. Though the war
against terror is still not over yet, but such endeavours would help to
eliminate the menace of terrorism.
comprehensive and cohesive strategies will also facilitate to achieve the objectives
of national interest. Pakistan played a proactive role in the war on terror,
which should be appreciated by the international community. The constant use of
hard power is not a long-term solution of any conflict and only mutual
coordination, negotiation and mediation could pave way for a general peace,
political stability, and economic boom. It must always be remembered that
victory in the war didn’t lead to peace; it leads to societal fragmentation,
sectarian conflict, and political instability. To counter effectively internal
militancy and external terrorism, Pakistan policymakers must need to strengthen
both civilian and military institutions.
All of us
suffered very terribly from terrorism but now it’s time to move forward for
peace and stability. There’s a requirement of a multifaceted cohesive strategy
to combat terrorism and it’s extremely important to peacefully resolve any
conflict. In the end, there is no way to peace but only peace.
Headline: Strategies To Combat Terrorism: A Case Study Of Pakistan
Source: Eurasia Review