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Pakistan: School Attack- Militants’ Response to Army Operation

Over 140 children were killed in an Army Public school in the capital city of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on December 16, 2014. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the responsibility for the school siege and attack and said the assault was a “response to military’s ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ offensive, the killing of Taliban fighters and the harassment of their families.”

Thousands of people have been killed in Pakistan due to terror attacks since the beginning of the war on terror. Pakistan’s role in the War against Terror was initiated by the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. These acts were a new manifestation of terrorism, which altogether changed the political psyche of the world. The problem of terrorism, which had been confined to small groups and few states, was changed to a global menace. In the backdrop of 9/11 incident, Pakistan becomes a front line state, immediately after the attacks on WTC, the US government approached Pakistan and after that a war against terrorism started in Pakistan. And in reaction Pakistan had to face uncountable problems with chaos and a threat to its stability. There is always blood shedding, even Pakistani major cities are not safe due to these militant group’s attacks and suicide bombings. Thousands of people and security forces have lost their lives due to this strategic depth policy.

Pakistan became victim of such terrorism and chaos after 9/11.But many consider that Pakistan has been playing on both sides in the war against terror. Worst part is that the Intelligence Agencies of USA, India and Afghanistan have been secretly meddling in internal affairs of Pakistan while pretending to be allies of Pakistan. India has been consistent in alleging that Pakistan was involved in training and arming underground militant groups to fight Indian forces in Kashmir. In connection to Peshawar attack, On December 17, 2014, an Indian Newspaper The Hindu Business Line writes, ‘In our public discourse on terrorism from territory under Pakistan’s control, there is a tendency to hold the military establishment solely responsible for the rise of terrorist outfits — as though that country’s political establishment and parties have nothing to do with the radical Islamic militant groups there.” Unluckily, Pakistan had long been accused by its neighbors and western nations of its

involvement in terrorist activities in India and Afghanistan. “The first positive thing that could come — and, again, it’s kind of hard to talk about anything positive when you’ve got 120 or so people killed, mainly children — would be that Pakistan would continue to see the threat to them from terrorism,” Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a BGOV breakfast yesterday in Washington. These are the sarcastic words by The Hindu and Senator Carl on the recent tragic incident and Pakistan policy.

Though this was the deadliest terrorist attack ever to occur in Pakistan, but Pakistan remained a victim of terrorism throughout for the last many years after 9/11.All the world condemned the incident including Afghanistan President by saying “The killing of innocent children is contrary to Islam.” Words are good and easy to say but actions are difficult. It is also a hard fact that successive Afghan governments joined hands with enemies of Pakistan. Relations between Afghanistan and India received a major boost in 2011 with the signing of a strategic partnership agreement. What is the impact of recent border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan and India’s involvement in Afghanistan? Pakistan sees India’s growing diplomatic initiatives in Afghanistan as a cover for RAW agents working to destabilize Pakistan. It accuses RAW of training and arming separatists in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province along the Afghan border. RAW also supports TTP. The CIA assisted in the creation of RAW, says South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen of the Brookings Institution. Wave of conspiracies, intrigues and terrorism ruined Pakistan’s peace. In the current scenario, Afghanistan should review its policies which will help in establishing a stable Afghanistan leading stability and peace in the region.

After Peshawar attack the TTP spokesperson has said, they wanted the military to feel their pain. The structure of the attack is very similar to previous high profile attacks by the TTP, most notably the attack on the Army’s general headquarters in 2009, where the TTP used army uniforms to infiltrate security. There is no doubt that the Army’s operation has weakened the capabilities of the TTP but it retains the ability to carry out attacks like this. Peshawar is very accessible from the Tribal Areas, so it is chosen for the target. No doubt military’s operation against the Taliban – known as Zarb-e-Azb – in the country’s northwestern areas had been extremely successful in destroying the militants’ sanctuaries. Now the extremists are fighting for their survival. Very soon Pak Army would be completely

successful in eliminating such elements. Last day’s school incident seems a part of the ending targets by the extremists. Moreover, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision Wednesday to lift a moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism is hopeful.

(BY Mrs Aisha Noor: Writer , researcher and columnist )

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