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Posts Tagged TTP

TTP Connections By Sajjad Shaukat

TTP Connections

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

In the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan’s province of Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits such as the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan have its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements and is promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities to destabilize Pakistan. These terror outfits are misguiding the general masses by misusing the concept of Jihad and provoking them for suicide assaults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides other similar terror attacks, at least 15 innocent men, women and children were killed in and around 80 people were injured on February 13, 2016 when a suicide bomber struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road (Charing Cross) in the eastern city of Lahore during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.

 

The affiliated faction of the TTP, the TTP-JA or JuA took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.

 

In this respect, the rebuttal of the Shuhada Foundation of Lal Masjid to the claim of TTP-JuA that Lahore Charing Cross attack was perpetrated to revenge the killing of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi is surprising; however, it depicts growing abhorrence for terrorists in our society. Every religious scholar of Pakistan condemned the TTP for this attack by the Shuhada Foundation, which also manages media campaign of Maulana Abdul Aziz, is a major upset for TTP. TTP attributes its genesis of Lal Masjid Operation and it often publishes articles and statements on this issue in its magazines to provoke general public. The outrage of people associated with Lal Masjid against TTP is, therefore, a major defeat of faulty narratives of terrorists in Pakistan.

 

Maulana Abdul Aziz is a person of dubious character and people under his influence are also not constant in their thinking. In the past, they have been supporting TTP’s terrorism in Pakistan and they allegedly expressed allegiance of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and DAISH. We hope they will adhere to their statement that leaders of TTP-JuA are agents of Indian RAW and they are killing innocent Muslims in their anti-Islam activities in Pakistan. Reportedly, the son of late Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, Haroon Rasheed Ghazi has also condemned TTP’s terrorism and has asked for a political settlement of issues in Pakistan. Such statements are positive omens and reflect that the space for violent extremist Jihadi narratives is even shrinking in religious groups.

 

The nexus of Al-Qaeda, DAISH, and TTP has killed 55 thousand innocent Muslims in their terrorist attacks in Pakistan so far in the name of Jihad. Militant leaders like Fazullah, Mohammad Khorasani and Ahsanullah Ahsan with their unholy hearts and evil minds defend their attacks like that of Army Public School of Peshawar and that of Bacha Khan University in which only little children and students were brutally massacred. Pakistan’s military and civil high officials strongly condemned the attack and recent terror attacks by pointing out their connections in Afghanistan.

It is notable that as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW, and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With the latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is behind the fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has also become the center of the Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan. These intelligence agencies, especially Indian RAW is trying to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

 

After the recent terror assaults in Pakistan, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that senior Afghan diplomats were summoned to the General Headquarters (Of army) over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and asked to ensure that immediate action was taken against the Pakistani terrorists living in safe havens in their country.

 

The army, which took the lead in dealing with Afghanistan over the terrorist sanctuaries there, had announced the closure of the border crossings with Afghanistan citing security reasons.

 

According to the statement of the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, on February 17, 2017, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm by saying, “our security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed…each drop of nation’s blood shall be avenged and avenged immediately…no more restraint for anyone.”

 

Gen. Javed Bajwa had called Gen John Nicholson, commander of the US’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan to protest continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan perpetrated from Afghanistan, saying that they were testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.

 

Gen. Bajwa told Gen. Nicholson that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan had been claimed by terrorist organizations whose leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, and asked him to play his role in “disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support”.

 

In a terse message, during the conversation with Nicholson, Gen. Bajwa also informed him of the list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities earlier—operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism.

 

Taking cognizance of the terror assaults, Pakistan Army targeted a training camp of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and militant hideouts located close to the Pak-Afghan border in areas adjacent to Mohmand and Khyber agencies.

 

In a similar message to Kabul, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to call for strong action against JuA and terrorist’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that Afghanistan had been asked to address concerns about the presence of terrorist groups on its soil, which are behind the latest wave of terrorism in the country.

 

It is notable that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference on February 17, this year claimed that the suspects involved in planning an

 

 

d carrying out the Feb 13 suicide bombing on a protest at Lahore’s Charing Cross belonged to Afghanistan. Sharif also announced the arrest of the facilitator of the attacker, Anwar-ul-Haq who he said belonged to Fata’s Bajaur Agency which neighbours Afghanistan. The suspect’s confessional statement was aired during the briefing. The suspect stated: “I was associated with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and they trained me”, adding that he has visited Afghanistan around 15 to 20 times.

 

Nevertheless, TTP related terrorist groups and extremist religious leaders, having connections in Afghanistan are following the agenda of enemies against Islam and Pakistan with the aim to create fear and panic in the society to weaken the whole country. Therefore, all eminent religious scholars and Grand Muftis have already rejected the deviant ideology of terrorists and declared that unjustified killing of innocent people is entirely prohibited in Islam. All brutal acts of terrorists are aimed at discouraging general masses from challenging their existence and their radical religious views. Unity of whole Ulema (Religious scholars) of Pakistan has proved that people of Pakistan will never bow down in front of heinous crimes of terrorists and will win the war against terror.

 

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The Evil School of Thought! By Mehwish Zia

The Evil School of Thought!

The start of military operation ZarbEAzb, June 2014 against the terrorists in North Waziristan took Pakistan into the last round against the terrorism. The Pakistan Army is steadily clearing all the areas where terrorists have established major footholds. It has been months; since operation has started Pakistan Army has achieved massive success, by destroying many weapon factories killing more than 1000 terrorists and destroying many weapon factories. Zarb-e-Azb is progressing successfully, and it has been expected that operation will end up in rooting up terrorism from Pakistan.

images-4But.. But the question is that How eliminating TTP, or killing all the terrorists would eliminate terrorism from Pakistan? The answer might be No. because crushing Taliban’s is not the only solution. The need of hour is to eliminate the mindset that has been working behind TTP, it’s not just about Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, it’s about “what” is behind Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which theory or which perspective has driven Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to such violence that they started using religion for their activities. It’s not about TTP, it’s about extremism, in our society. Now, the question is who is promoting that extremism? What comes to your mind? Mullah! Yes. Mullah and their Madrissa’s are the extremist factories in Pakistan. Clearly, Mullahs have hijacked our religion. They have made a wretched rendition of Islam that fits neither in the past nor in the present. They modified religion for their own purposes. Mullahs assumed control, politicized and adulterated religion, and brought it to this peculiar stage that it is in now. The presence of a Mullah relies on upon weak debates like how covered/veiled a lady ought to be, how long Muslims must have beard, ladies should not drive, girls should not be educated and others of same sort. These Mullahs sold out their God and headed his followers off track.

TTP is a Tehreek, pounding Tehreek won’t have any effect, unless what that is behind TTP is smashed. Terrorism will be disposed of, if that school of thought is dispensed with that is raising those brains. Unlawful groups, Madrissa’s, jamats, still get awards underneath money related help. To kill the bases of terrorism, these groups ought to be banned from promoting feeling of violence and roughness against state. There ought to be some check about these Deeni Madrissa’s, and they ought to be observed in order to recognize their fund and to verify that they’re not promoting terrorism.

So for making Pakistan a terror free country, we must take a step to eradicate the actual cause of terrorism and that means to check around, in our surroundings, about the extremist Mullah’s and madrissa’s. Zarb-e-Azb is a fight, and we have to stand with our military.

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INDIA SPONSORED TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons by Sajjad Shaukat

                                               TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons

                                                            By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

More than 65 people were killed in a suicide attack on November 2, this year near a paramilitary soldiers’ checkpoint at Wagah in Lahore when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) again targeted the innocent persons through its affiliated militant outfits, Jundullah and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar which claimed responsibility for the incident. The victims also include several women and children, while more than 120 people have been injured. The bombing took place on at least 500 meters from the Pak-Indian border.

 

A regards the bombing, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, based in Afghanistan, said that it was carried out by one of their men—some other groups’ claims are baseless. We will soon release the video of this attack.” He elaborated, “This attack was revenge against the military operation in North Waziristan.

 

While, spokesman of Jundullah Ahmed Marwat also pointed out that the attack was a reaction to military operation Zarb-i-Azb.

 

B1if-8FCYAAoT_RIn fact, like other linked militant outfits such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Janghvi including other Taliban organistaions, Jundullah and TTP share common tactics and agendas. They often claim responsibility for the terror-assaults separately to divert attention and to deceive the security forces and law-enforcing agencies. For example, on September 22, 2013, a twin suicide bomb attack had killed 127 people at a Peshawar church. Jundallah accepted responsibility of that attack too. But, TTP had condemned that brutal assault. Afterwards, its spokesman had remarked that it was in accordance with Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) which indicated that TTP was behind that ruthless incident. So, ambivalent statements of the TTP-led Taliban have endorsed that it has been playing double game.

 

However, in the recent years, militants of the TTP and its affiliated outfits have been using suicide bombing as their main weapon by targeting innocent civilians, women and children, Armed Forces and government functionaries, anti-polio workers, airports, markets, schools, parks, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples, shrines, bus stops, railway stations, passengers’ trains and so on. They conducted various terror-activities like ruthless beheadings of tribesmen. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, and even did not spare burial places of the Sufi Saints, and disgraced dead bodies. Their nefarious acts resulted into killings of several innocent persons in Pakistan.

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Their families mourn and raise a question asking for what crime their loved ones were punished in a way. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

 

In this context, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict) asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (Haram).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go to Hell…they represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims, especially the innocent youth.”

 

From time to time, while condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They elaborated that Islam does not forbid women’s education.

 

While, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.

 

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

 

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

 

As a matter of fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

 

Here, it is mentionable that within four months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists of the TTP by clearing more than 80 percent of the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against foreign and local terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

 

Regarding terror-attack at Wagah border, Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa stated on November 3 that the massive attendance with fervor during the flag ceremony at Wagah border has proved that nation was not afraid of these terrorists and it was united in its fight against terrorism.

 

Nonetheless, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam, and are weakening our country by targeting the innocent persons like those of the Wagah border incident.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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Do not Discourage the Security Forces

                     

Do not Discourage the Security Forces

 

By

 

Sajjad Shaukat

             

          

 

Photo Courtesy:lubpak.com

 

 

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After accepting the demands of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the present government has decided to release some prisoners of the militant outfit in exchange of those Individuals who were kidnapped by the Taliban. But as part of its double game, the TTP has been employing shrewd tactics in order to distort the image of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and the security forces through false propaganda. 

 

In this regard, the TTP claims that their families including women and children have been kept hostage by the Armed Forces are not only fake, misleading and baseless, but are also tarnishing the image of these forces.

 

Such propaganda gimmick tends to make an emotional appeal to the people to feel sympathetic and develop a sense of compassion for the TTP. On the other hand, thoughtless statements by political leaders, especially Professor Ibrahim of Jamat-e-Islami (JI), repeating TTP demands regarding women and children create false perceptions.

 

Unfortunately, print media including a report published by the daily, “Nawa-i-Waqt” on March 7, 2014, quoting Information Minister Pervez Rasheed said that Army will have to be included in dialogue process as some important matters, referring to women and children are known only to Army—are totally misleading and confusing. The very idea that Army is holding families of militants as hostages is negative and injurious for Army’s prestige. In fact, militants’ families (women and children) are not with Army.

 

Ignoring the moral codes of journalism, most of the media reporters, analysts and anchors have adopted negative techniques and unscrupulous practices in their coverage and reporting because they have developed the habit of challenging the prestige of sensitive institutions of the state such as Army, ISI and other law-enforcing agencies.

 

Since the Supreme Court of Pakistan took notice of various cases, without grasping realities, some politicians and media persons have manipulated every issue and case like the Memogate case, Mehrangate verdict, NRO case, missing persons’ case, law and order situation in Karachi and Balochistan, undecided military operation in North Waziristan, incident of Malala Yousafzai etc., to malign country’s key security intuitions, and to create a rift between Pak Army and general masses. In this context, the leaders of Jamat-i-Islami and PTI have perennially been criticising the Pak Army and ISI in one way or the other, so as to increase their vote bank by misguiding the common men. While our media anchors and so-called human rights groups also disrepute country’s security agencies by exploit one or the other issue. In these terms, political leaders become unintentional victim—benefiting the external plotters, while some of our media commentators are on the payroll of anti-Pakistan powers.

 

Let us take the example of the missing persons. While anti-Pakistan foreign elements have accelerated their conspiracy against Pakistan to complete their hidden agenda by supporting subversive attacks inside the country through their affiliated militant groups, especially the TTP, but by showing unrealistic approach, Pakistan’s NGOs, human rights organisations and media started a deliberate campaign against country’s law-enforcing agencies, ISI and Pak Army about the disappeared persons.

 

But, fact of the matter is that majority of the missing persons have been killed in bomb blasts, target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in various places of Pakistan, arranged by the foreign-assisted militant outfits, particularly TTP. In case of Balochistan, everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support anti-Pakistan secret agencies.  These terrorists abducted and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province, while claiming responsibility in this respect. And since 2001, a majority of Pakistanis also left for Afghanistan for Jehad purposes, without informing their families, while many people joined the Jahadi groups.

 

On the one side, Pakistan’s Armed Forces are engaged in tribal areas, and the Rangers in Karachi. These security forces are coping with the external-backed terrorists, on the other, due to the pre-information of the ISI; Pakistan’s law-enforcing agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the insurgents through pre-arrests, discovery of weapons and huge explosive material, suicide jackets etc.

 

It is owing to a wave of ‘pessimistic emotionalism’ instigated by the negative media criticism, pseudo-intellectuals and political activists—stereotypes and prejudices have been created by them against the Armed Forces in such a way that the people should set aside innumerable services and sacrifices of the armed forces, as noted in relation to the Swat and Malakand military operations—resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), floods, desilting of canals (Bhal Safai)—particularly during the Earthquake of 2005, entailing restoration of law and order on many occasions. In the recent past, armed forces were in the frontline for people-salvage from areas of earthquake which hit Balochistan. Since the independence of Pakistan, military personnel saved the countless helpless people by sacrificing their own lives.

 

It is mentionable that during the previous regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, when WAPDA was going to be bankrupted, he had invited the army to manage its affairs. By collecting the electricity bills impartially, even from the influential persons, army’s personnel had saved WAPDA from bankruptcy.

 

It is notable that during the recent flood in Balochistan, the emotional episodes and heart-shaking stories, covering tragic scenes of rescue missions undertaken by troops of Pak Army are still haunting us all.

 

Similarly, everyone knows that drought in Tharparkar in Sindh, which was going on for the last three years, has been worsened recently to a dangerous level, raising the death toll of starving children. It has adequately exposed the real worth of the rulers, uncovering their verbal assertions to reach the poor masses in order to save their lives. But Pak Army quickly reached out to victims of the famine with rations, medicines and clothes. Teams of dedicated doctors and specialists established camped in the deserts and offered quality services to save lives.

 

Besides, army is called in aid of civil power to conduct counter-insurgency operations and maintain order. And countless nation-building projects undertaken by the armed forces speak of their commitment and devotion towards national cause and sense of duty. Soldiers have done great service in the uplift of people of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Balochistan, Gigit-Baltistan, and other far-flung areas of Pakistan by completing development works well in time. They deserve appreciation for all these good deeds.

 

As regards deliberate criticism, it is easier to engage in a censure and a disparaging discussion, while sitting in a cool-air-conditioned environment away from operational areas where bullet, bombs, rockets, suicidal attacks and terrorists dictate the rules of business. But actual participation in such operations demands strong mettle. Our soldiers can face the enemy under adverse environment, but they cannot digest the comments directed against them by their own media anchors, writers and politicians.

 

However, TTP’s emotional appeal about their women and children is, in fact, part of propaganda techniques, designed to gain sympathies and develop a sense of compassion for the militants by damaging the prestige of Armed Forces.

 

Print media must maintain a positive approach in defending own Armed Forces. Their media reports must not dispute the reputation of Pak Army.

 

Media must realize that quoting Information Minister in publishing incorrect and skewed reports may create sensation, but it will be at the cost prestige and image of Pak Army. At the same time, it also glorifies the cause of the militants, particular of the TTP, who are involved in criminal acts of violence under the pretext of peace dialogue.

 

To counter such propaganda, one needs additional media efforts with supporting themes that there is no truth in such propaganda, particularly in wake of peace talks between the government and the TTP.

 

So, instead of discouraging our security forces like Armed Forces, ISI and law-enforcing agencies through false propaganda, our media and other similar entities must encourage these soldiers including security personnel who are actively engaged in fighting the war against terrorism. Media must itself realize and also provide true information to the general masses. Their anchors and commentators must indicate that while facing the enemy along borders, our soldiers are committed in counter-insurgency operations, fighting the menace of terrorism—and engaged in rescue missions like flood relief and earthquake-salvage duties. Thus, they are doing a great service to the nation. They deserve admiration and the nation must not hesitate in boosting their morale by encouraging them. In this respect, positive media projections will enable the armed forces to maintain their real potential and deliver at an opportune time. Otherwise, negative criticism will help the enemy to achieve its goals of demoralizing our armed forces and reducing the combat efficiency of the soldiers.

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Implications of War on Terror

Implications of War on Terror

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Unlike late Hakimullah Mehsud who disfavored talks, his deputy Waliur Rahman favored dialogue and had convinced sizeable number of TTP Shura members to make an offer of dialogue to the government.  His group suggested Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Munawar Hassan, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan to act as guarantors to preclude possibility of backtracking from the agreement. The offer was not taken seriously by the PPP led regime and it made it conditional to renunciation of violence.

 

 

 

 

Talks offer was renewed once rightist PML-N and PTI were voted to power after May 11 elections. Offer of talks created division in TTP as well as in the society. A stage was set for a big breakthrough when Waliur Rahman who was the moving force behind peace talks was killed by a drone on May 29, 2013. Jundul Hafsa took revenge by killing ten foreigners at base camp of Nanga Parbat on June 23, 2013.

 

It was generally expected that the TTP leading militancy in the northwest and in Punjab would tone down its acts of terror particularly against civilian targets once PML-N and PTI formed governments in the centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) respectively. As a result of their soft approach the TTP had spared these two parties and targeted liberal political parties during election campaign. ANP suffered the most in terms of human losses and in elections.

 

Contrary to high expectations, the Taliban accelerated their terror strikes after the new government took over in early June 2013. Bulk of attacks took place in KP and PTI lost three sitting MPAs. This surge occurred in spite of APC called by the government on September 9, 2013 in which it was agreed by all the participants belonging to different parties and religious groups as well as the Army to enter into dialogue with the militants without pre-conditions and give peace a chance.

The government stuck to its standpoint despite lot of noise made by the liberals. Anti-peace talks lobbies supported by foreign powers and backed by liberals and segment of media launched a concerted campaign to sabotage proposed peace talks and kept picking fault lines in the resolution passed by the APC. Drone strikes also continued.

 

When the TTP offered to talk and welcomed the initiative taken by the APC, it was taken as a sign that the road had been cleared for negotiations. KP government felt so confident that it announced phased withdrawal of troops from Buner, Shangla, Dir, Chitral and Malakand districts starting mid October 2013 and handing over responsibility to civil administration. While the ground was being smoothened for the meeting, an unexpected incident took place. On September 15, Maj Gen Sanaullah Niazi and two were martyred at Upper Dir on account of IED planted by Fazlullah’s militants.

 

We’ve been talking about the financial cost of the War on Terror, and this graphic from our colleague Molly Zisk draws from different studies and sums up the toll in blood and treasure rather concisely, if rather grimly:

 

 

    • 225,000 people dead,

 

    • and $3.7 trillion dollars spent.

 

Peace process got a big jolt when TTP claimed responsibility and vowed to continue hitting military targets. This hostile act in response to Government’s policy of appeasement was regrettable. It angered the rank and file of the Army and put the Federal and KP governments in awkward position but gave a strong handle to the anti-peace lobbies to beat the peace makers with and make fun of them. As the debate between pro-peace and anti-peace lobbies intensified, another gruesome act of terror took place on September 22 in Peshawar where a church was struck by two suicide bombers soon after Sunday prayers killing 84 people and injuring 175.

 

While TTP denied involvement, Jundullah Hafsa, a faction of TTP comprising Punjabi Taliban and led by Asmatullah Muawia claimed responsibility of church attack. In the wake of widespread denunciation inside and outside the country over the dastardly attack on church and condemnation by Ulemas of all schools of thoughts terming the act against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, TTP Shura urged Muawia to disown the act. Soon after his disownment, another group Jundullah led by Ahmed Marwat based in NW claimed responsibility. In reaction to series of terrorist attacks, precision guided air attacks were carried out on militant’s hideouts in FATA which caused casualties and compelled the militants to declare unilateral ceasefire on March 1 for one month.  

 

As against high expectations of military action, PM Nawaz Sharif disappointed pro-war lobbies by giving peace yet another chance and formed a government committee. TTP responded by giving names of their representatives. After the initial breakthrough, government committee was rehashed. Seven hours long meeting of TTP nominated committee with members of TTP Shura at Bilandkhel village in Orakzai Agency on 26 March under cordial atmosphere has raised hopes and light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Ceasefire which expired on 31 March is likely to be extended. As a confidence building measure the government released some prisoners and TTP is likely to reciprocate to generate goodwill. Decade old antagonism will take time to tone down and transform into conciliation and brotherhood.

Some of the implications of war are listed here-under:-

The war has halted investments and economic activity has almost come to a grinding halt due to energy crisis and disturbed law and order situation.

Human losses have risen several times higher than the collective losses suffered by coalition forces in Afghanistan while social traumas are incalculable.

War has made Pakistan more dependent upon USA, forcing our rulers to continue clinging to the aprons of USA despite its biased behavior.

Infighting among the Muslims suits the US designs; hence it would like the war to continue.

While the US caught up in a blind alley in Afghanistan is clueless how to exit safely, Pakistan too had no strategy to end the futile war till the start of talks with TTP.

Paradoxically, the key to peace is with hardnosed Taliban.   

Eleven-year war has not only given tremendous experience of fighting guerrilla war to both Pak Army and militants but also has removed inhibitions and fears of each other. Militants fear air power and drones only.

The militants could not have continued fighting for so long without external support and safe sanctuaries across the border. They are more dangerous in cities where they operate as faceless enemies.

Once NATO exits from Afghanistan, TTP will be left with no justifiable cause to continue spilling blood of Muslim brethren.  Once external support dries up, their vigor will wane rapidly and sooner than later they may give up fighting.

The other view is that TTP may become stronger if Taliban government get re-installed in Kabul after 2014 and may then disagree to ceasefire unless all their demands are accepted unconditionally.

The low intensity conflict has caused substantial wear and tear to military’s weapons & equipment.

War has also fatigued the troops living in combat zone amid hazardous environment where life is cheap.

Situation will further worsen in coming months since militancy has spread to every nook and corner of the country.

Civil administration and law courts have not established rule of law in any of the areas recaptured by the Army thereby putting added burden on the Army to hold ground, provide security and carryout rehabilitation/development works. 

Opinions on war on terror whether it is our war or someone else’s war, and whether talks should be held with militants or not are sharply divided. This division in perceptions is to the advantage of militants and disfavors security forces.

With so many grave internal and external threats, most of which were invented and thrust upon Pakistan by foreign powers and duly exacerbated by meek and self-serving political leadership, Army’s plate remain full.

War on terror poses a three dimensional threat when viewed in context with twin threat posed by India and Afghanistan.

In case of an Indo-Pakistan war, our current force structure is insufficient and ill-suited to confront three dimensional threats.

Peace is a key to Pakistan’s economic takeoff.   

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst and columnist. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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