Making Pakistan a normal and safe country

The normalcy returned to Pakistan. The terrorist attacks and religiously motivated violence has dropped significantly in last couple of years (a drop of 58 percent). Pakistani state regains its full writ and control over its tribal areas. A serious effort been made to root out the militancy from Pakistan. The sacrifices of armed forces, police, paramilitary forces and people of Pakistan must be recognised and appreciated.

Every country needs political stability, peace, harmony and personal security for the growth of its economy and income. Nobody will like to invest in a country which is not safe and stable. The trade, industry, commercial activities, human resource and social development and infrastructure development hinders in the countries rife with violence, militancy, terrorism and political instability. The working class and poor people suffer because of non-availability of jobs and economic opportunities.   

Pakistan suffered a lot because of terrorism and violence. Pakistan bears economic loss of nearly $ 120billion and thousands of jobs. More than 65000 (sixty five thousand) precious and innocent lives have so far been lost. Nearly 3,500 brave and courageous sons of this country belonging to armed forces, paramilitaries and police sacrificed their lives.

But the battle is not over yet. Lot more needs to be done. This report indicates some aspects of NAP which are not properly addressed and concentrated. Pakistan lacks a political strategy and counter narrative to politically and ideologically counter the extremist narrative. Military actions alone cannot solve this problem. In the absence of a counter political narrative, the political parties and leadership bow down to the pressure from extreme right wing religious forces. Pakistan needs a progressive, democratic, secular and pro people narrative to counter the extremist right wing ideology and narrative.

Bilawal Bhutto is the only mainstream political leader who took a clear and bold stance on the use of religion as a political tool. He is advocating a secular and progressive narrative. He needs to stand firmly on the ground with this narrative. It is welcoming development and must be supported.

It will be wrong to castigate the military or establishment for not doing enough to root out the militancy and violence. But the matter of fact is that both the military and political leadership has so far failed to tackle the use of religion to make political gains and to spread the hate and extremist ideology. Our policy makers are still confused about the direct link between the extremist ideas and militancy. Very little has so far been done to stop the spread of extremist ideology.

The rise of new Bralevi  religious political movements and groups around the issue of Khatam-e- Nabuwat is a clear manifestation of this trend. The state allowed certain religious groups and religious leaders to exploit a very sensitive religious issue. They are still using this issue to spread hatred against certain political leaders and to gain politically.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority ( NACTA) prepared a 40-page report, a compendium of the context of National Action Plan (NAP) and actions implemented under its auspices over the past three years, provides a detailed analysis of the way forward for Pakistani policymakers. From a high of 2,060 terrorist attacks in 2010 and 681 attacks in 2017 were witnessed in the country, revealed the report which covers all the 20 salient points of the NAP.

This report gives details of measures taken against militant organisations and groups operating in the country. The details were also provided regarding the actions taken against hate materials and online extremism. But this report is silent on some issues. Specially, nothing has been said or suggested to stop the use of religion for political purposes. Pakistan needs to take brave and bold decisions on this issue.   

Since March 2015, Pakistan executed 483 persons under the ATA 1997 and PPC and 382 cases were sent to 11 military courts during this period, stated the report which offers a foundation to international counter-terrorism officers and operators in the form of an inimitable study of policy and implementation to deal specifically with the root causes of terrorism, militancy, extremism and intolerance in their own circumstances.

It says that more than 0.2 million combing operations were conducted, around 4 million persons stopped and questioned, 6,998 terrorists arrested and around 2,500 terrorists were killed across the country during this period. In a serious crackdown on hate material and speeches, security forces arrested 19,530 persons across the country, according to the report which told a little about future security policy of Pakistan.

More than 18,790 cases were registered regarding misuse of loudspeakers and 7,479 pieces of equipment seized, stated the report which showed very little progress of NAP in the troubled province of Baluchistan. Around Rs1.5 billion were recovered under anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing campaign, the report pointed out many issues linked to hate material and de-radicalisation which were not addressed by the authorities seriously.

Around 1,209 persons were arrested, 919 cases were registered under ‘hawala hundi’, 426 cases were registered against 574 persons under the anti-money laundering laws and 207 suspicious transactions reported from Financial Monitoring Unit, 207 cases registered, 48 cases closed while 110 cases are under process, it stated.

Pakistan issued a list of 65 proscribed organisations by keeping four of them under observations while 8, 374 individuals were placed under schedule IV, 5, 089 bank accounts were frozen through State Bank of Pakistan where an amount of over Rs157 million was frozen. Over 2,052 individuals face restrictions on movement. More than 6,027 special security personnel were trained for the new counterterrorism force.

According to the report geo-mapping of around 22,000 religious seminaries but said told a little about any productive achievement to regulate the seminaries’ system in Pakistan. In order to filter social media sites and enable vigilance against cybercrime, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked 1,447 URLs which were being hosted by extremists. Under the NAP, Punjab took the lead as its counterterrorism force entered 68,957 terrorists into digital databank of police, arrested leaders of various proscribed organisations, arrested 897 terrorists and executed 400 condemned prisoners.

About the worst law and order situation in Karachi, the report revealed that more than 9,322 people were killed in Karachi from 2008 to 2013 and traders were forced to pay Rs80 million to Rs100 million a day to the extortionists. Due to the operation, the port city witnessed 97 percent decrease in target killings, 87 percent in murder rate, 52 percent decrease in robberies, 62 percent in kidnappings for ransom and 82 percent in extortion. About Baluchistan, the report stated that more than 2,000 suspected separatists have surrendered to the security forces.

Khalid Bhatti - editor N&A news.

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