New wave of terrorism in Pakistan

Five suicide attacks in different parts of country in last three days is a clear indication of the fact that terrorist groups in Pakistan are regrouping to cause maximum damage. They struck in Lahore, Peshawar, Mohmand agency and in Sindh. They have targeted police, judges, security forces and ordinary people in the suicide bombing. This is a new wave of terrorism in the country. They are waging war against Pakistani state.  It is a clear sign that terrorist might be weakened and dispersed to a certain extend but they are not wiped out. The message is loud and clear that we will target everyone who will oppose us and dare to fight against us. On the other hand, state has failed to draw and chalk out a comprehensive strategy and a clear policy towards all the militant and extremist groups involved in terrorism and supporting it.

The main purpose of these bombings is to give the impression that Pakistan is not safe for investment. The terrorists are clearly trying to tarnish the image of the country. Almost all the major international financial institutions, rating agencies, leading newspapers and magazines started to declare Pakistan as a fastest growing economy. The Pakistani economy finally started to grow after many years of slow growth. The stock market index crossed 50,000 points and included in the top five best performing stock markets in the world. The Pakistan- China Economic corridor started to become reality. Massive inflow of foreign investment and fast paced infrastructure development projects gives new hope for the strong growth of the economy.

The terrorists are out to sabotage this growth, development and fast changing image of Pakistan. They are clearly targeting the progress in the country. They want to shatter the growing confidence of the people. They want to create fear and chaos to fulfill their agenda.   

There is no doubt that military operations and targeted actions against militant organisations and terrorist groups in last few years have significantly reduced their capacity to spread terrorism. Their network, organisational structures and infrastructure have been severely damaged.The military actions established the writ of the state in tribal areas. Lot of effort been made to wipe out terrorist militant organisations and groups. But little effort been made to control the spread of religious extremism in the country. It seems that the government is still differentiating between religious extremism and terrorism. It might true that every extremist is not involved in militancy and terrorism but it is equally true that extremism led to the militancy. Religious extremism played directly into the hands of terrorism. This confusion in the state apparatus helping the terrorist groups to do the fresh recruitment. Religious extremist forces works as a nurseries for the militant groups and organisations.

The government has failed to fully implement the National Action Plan (NAP). No serious effort been made to reform the police to enable it to fight against terrorists. Nothing been done to stop the hate speech. No solid steps have been taken to reform the religious seminaries and schools. The banned organisations involved in the sectarian killings are still working with different names. Nothing has been done to stop the use of religion for political or personal gains.

Pakistani state used the religion as a political instrument to promote Jihadi culture, militancy and religious extremism in the country for more than three decades. The Pakistani ruling class promoted the narrative of Islamic militancy and extremism in the country. Now it is time to completely abandon this policy and to build a new narrative against militancy and extremism. The terrorist groups are taking full advantage of the confusion that does exist in the government.

The terrorism is a political issue and can not be solved just through military means. The counter terrorism strategy should not just based only on military actions but must include a political strategy to solve this multi dimensional and complex issue. The current situation demands revolutionary changes in the political, administrative and economic policies. Serious reforms in the police, judiciary, bureaucracy, education system and state structure is needed to coop with the situation. Adhoc policies and half hearted efforts are not going to help in this battle.

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