By S. M. Hali
The evil spirit of terrorism is trying to engulf Pakistan in its deadly jaws and gnaw and maul it beyond recognition. Successive governments have tried to slay the demon of terrorism but the wily miscreants, who hide their identity behind the garb of Islam, have managed to evade the most efficient sleuths. Internationally renowned intelligence agencies have also failed to eradicate the menace of terrorism from its roots because the terror mongers find willing sympathizers amidst local populace, who are duped by the false promises of the pseudo intellectuals. They pledge the imposition of Sharia law, speedy justice and to the really gullible, a place in heaven if they blow themselves up to destroy the infidels or their supporters.
The self-proclaimed champions of Islam do not refrain from misusing the name of religion in projecting their nefarious agenda by propagating Jihad against non-Muslims, snapping diplomatic ties with the US and the Western World Top of Formandandrejecting all dissenting views and divergences on explicit explanations of Islamic jurisprudence.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) have set their goals at rejecting the constitution, the national anthem and the very raison d’être of Pakistan. Their design is to establish an Islamic Emirate and to achieve it, they want to remove the staunch impediment of the state of Pakistan and its Armed Forces, both of whom are deemed as allies and agents of the west, thus liable to attack, slaughter and destruction.
The entire scheme of things revolves around a strategy of creating chaos and mayhem. Damage to private property, carnage and slaughter of innocent lives and attacks on schools, colleges, hospitals, places of worship and shrines is justified by rationalizing that it is essential to destabilize the law enforcing agencies and all emblems of authority by portraying them as forces of “evil”. The attacks serve a dual purpose. Whereas, they rock the security forces, they also enable the harbingers of doom and gloom to impress the naive and susceptible people that the terrorists have the upper hand and are calling the shots. Through promotion of violence, they aim at striking terror in the hearts of the innocent by demonstrating their might and capacity to cause devastation and annihilation.
Despite a decade of punitive action against the terrorists, there has been little or no let up in the assailants’ use of brute force to target the law enforcing agencies and their establishments on one hand and a pattern of suicide attacks against market places, funerals, weddings and religious congregations thronged by women and children. The society has been traumatized to such an extent that it is willing to accept the rule of the terrorists if only it will mean a cessation of the attacks and assaults which have disrupted their lives.
Under these very trying circumstances, the government has but only one option. There is a dire need to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with the terrorists with an iron fist. The terrorists are sanguine that a battered and bruised government will be forced to bend on its knees begging for dialogue, which will be agreed to on terms which will be tantamount to surrender and compromise of the sovereignty of the state. This would be capitulation and cannot be tolerated.
Attacks on security forces, including Police and LEAs must be condemned in the strongest terms. We need to denounce the assailants, who target places of worship or social and religious congregations as well houses of learning. The true visage and duplicity of the terrorists must be exposed. Simultaneously, we must pay homage to those brave sons and daughters, who make the supreme sacrifice of their lives while attempting to act as impediments in the path of the terrorists. People like Malala Yousafzai or Police officials like Chaudhary Aslam Shaheed or the young, innocent but valiant Aitzaz Hassan Shaheed merit special mention. The courage and valour depicted by them is not only a beacon of light for the rest of the nation but also goes a long way in demonstrating the will of the nation that it will not be subdued without resistance.
The recent terrorist attack on the seminary at Peshawar, where the tableeghi markaz was wilfully targeted, demonstrates the cruel streak amongst the terrorist that do not refrain from attacking the places of learning and spread of religion. All such attacks should be thoroughly investigated and no stone must be left unturned to apprehend the real perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to justice.
It is essential that religious clerics take the initiative in condemning the dastardly attacks. While the terror mongers twist and distort Qurànic verses to promote their heinous agenda, it is the real scholars, who can expose the nefarious practice of misusing and misquoting the verses of the holy book out of context. One of the most odious actions of the terrorists is to target people of different faiths, sects and beliefs. It is important to bring about religious and inter-faith harmony so that the despicable aim of the enemy can be countered.
Terrorism is a phenomenon which needs to be fought collectively and the entire nation has to put up a collective effort. A meaningful message must immediately be sent to the terrorists that the Government has the will and power to eliminate them. In this regard, the Government has to take the lead and responsibility to fight the threat posed by terrorists. The frequent bloodletting by terrorists has caused the people to believe in the banality of terror attacks. This must stop through a comprehensive strategy, which must be launched to crush the criminal elements.
There is a dire need to develop political will to fight the terrorists through a well devised strategy and firm resolve. The writ of the Government must be established at all costs. Political leadership must take tough but rationale decisions without any further delay. It must also be realized that time is running out while terrorists are getting stronger with every passing day. Only a timely action to counter the terror attacks will bear fruit.