Pakistan struggles to encounter December 16 Terrorism

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By Aisha Noor : – Pakistan witnessed one of the worst terrorist attacks on December 16, 2014 when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan gunmen stormed Army Public School and massacred 150 people, mostly school children in a revenge attack for ongoing military operation in North Waziristan. Violent extremism continues to plague Pakistan, as the government struggles to combat militant groups that contribute to political, economic, and social instability. The civil-military leadership, in shock after the massacre, vowed to take strict action against the militants. Leaders met on Dec 24, 2014 in Islamabad to discuss the progress made so far in chalking out the national action plan against terrorism. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar outlined some of the key points that would form the action plan against terrorism. All parties’ conference unanimously accepted the implementation of special trial courts. Quid pro quo response to militants has become unavoidable now. When the court awards punishment, quick action should be taken according to the trial.

COUNTERING terrorism refers not just to a forceful response to acts of terror but also a comprehensive combination of hard and soft power. Social, psychological, economic and political means, all are essential. Military forces have conducted large-scale operations against militant groups. To what extent can the military deal with the elements? Military measures include targeting militant and terrorist hideouts and sanctuaries, cutting off their command and controlling set-ups such as supplies. The defense forces especially the army and the internal security agencies especially the provincial police need to work together in order to counter this threat against humanity. Strong Police under the control of Judiciary should be ensured.

The police as a department do require to be trained in handling the problem .It should be the Police job to secure the scene of crime. Sufficient requisite staff must be on permanent duty in every police station, monitoring the movements of strangers. Training and filling vacancies in the Police department must be done on a war footing and the latest equipment must be provided to them. Moreover, retired armed forces personals should be inducted being trained soldiers within a minimum time frame of one year. Potent force will be made available.

Intelligence measures can help in countering the planning and operations of terrorist groups while judicial measures can ensure prompt hearings and the award of punishment to those found guilty of acts of terror. There is an urgent need for information sharing amongst various intelligence agencies and need to procure new technologies for forensic testing and other capabilities. All of this will require resource commitment. Technological advancement has given an edge to western nations who have achieved a great success in controlling terrorism after 9/11. Surveillance and monitoring system may be enhanced by using modern technology.

The proper protection of borders including communication jammers is extremely necessary now. The border if once completely sealed then we would not bear any more allegations of cross border support to terrorism. The passports and immigration system is to be strengthened and the validity and authenticity of passports issued to various individuals in Pakistan should be checked.

Violence has more space when there is poverty, unemployment, under-development and backwardness. Poverty, lack of education, unemployment, corruption and mainly injustice are major causes of terrorism.one way to deal with extremism and radicalization in society is to promote social harmony, mobility and interaction among different social groups. By promoting literacy and better education, one can defeat the elements that take advantage of ignorance and illiteracy and promote extremism, militancy and terrorism. Educational Institutions should become free from all kind of politics especially in FATA.

Disillusioned youth get attracted to the evil path when nothing is left and fall prey to evil people. Money has to be spent on education and jobs have to be generated. There is need to reduce the unemployment rate, and injustice and manage proper system of education. Industries should set up in these remote and backward areas to make them developed and prosperous. Young generation should give employment and opportunity to move forward despite to be used by the Militants as they are going to be trapped by them just for some money or in the name of religion. For this purpose corporate giants may be approached and may be asked to join hands to build and run these free educational institutions with strong management in FATA and other backward areas.

Tolerance for religious extremists has not just destroyed lives and alienated entire communities; it is destroying Pakistani society and the nation. Illegal mosques with their funding should be checked. Moreover, implication of Shariah is the foremost need of Pakistan. True implication of Islamic Laws can solve many problems internal and external.

Now political parties are serious about dealing with the threat and the challenge of terrorism and people of Pakistan are united in curbing terrorism completely. All decisions are taken in the national interest.

By Aisha Noor

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