Pursuing a strong national committment, Pakistan in the past few years has taken a series of counter-terrorism measures to effectively fight and defeat terrorists of all shades and ensure peace and stability in the region.
Under a well thought out strategy to curtail the scourge in which thousands of precious lives were lost, Pakistan defeated terrorism, killing 353 terrorists and conducted 375,000 intelligence based operations, since 2017.
Pakistan paid a heavy price due to the terrorist activities and lost 83,000 precious lives with economic losses up to the tune of US 126 billion dollars.
In a meeting on August 5, Prime Minister Imran Khan reviewed the law and order situation in the country and implementation status of National Action Plan 2014.
The meeting attended by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Information Minister Ch. Fawad Ahmed, Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, DG MO Maj Gen Nauman Zakria, DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar and senior civil and military officers.
The meeting decided to establish Inter-Provincial Border Committee to address boundary issues and further strengthen civil and police administration in the area.
The meeting also approved, in principle, a 5-year comprehensive socio-economic development plan for the less-developed areas of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur to bring them at par with other parts of province especially in the area of infrastructure development, provision of water, health and education.
The key decision was to update the NAP to make it more effective and to meet challenges related to espionage, subversion and cyber security.
The original plan came in the wake of the horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on Dec 16, 2014, for countering terrorism and extremism was chalked out by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and the Ministry of Interior. The strategy gave the specifics for the counter-terrorism drive in the country.
The counter terrorism operations strategy not only focussed on implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and inclusion of tribal areas in national mainstream,but also worked on controlling extremism through government’s reforms pertaining to police, education and madrassahs.
According to a senior security official Pakistan’s Pakistan’s military fought the war on the four principles of “clear, hold, build and transfer”. The “clear and hold” phase was implemented from 2010-2017. Different areas were cleared of terrorists and state’s writ was restored in tribal areas. Currently the “build and transfer phase” was in progress. Under this phase, the objective of military was to make “hard-earned gains irreversible”.
The Pakistan army, the para military forces along with the Counter Terrorsim Department conducted more than 375,000 intelligence based operations from 2017 to 2020. Out of these, over 34,000 operations were conducted in Punjab, over 150,000 in Sindh, over 80,000 in Balochistan and more than 72,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
By the end of 2020 under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, action had been taken against 78 terrorist organizations. Their assets have been frozen and their movement was being monitored by the security forces.
According to NACTA 85 organisations have been placed on the Proscribed Organisations list. Of these 79 have been proscribed by the Ministry of Interior, four were under the watch list of Ministry of Interior, while two are under the UNSC Resolutions.
During this period 353 terrorists were killed in the operations and the success of Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts can be gauged by the fall in Karachi’s crime index ranking from number 6 to 106.
Under the multi pronged over 1800 religious leaders united to present an effective narrative (Paigham-i-Pakistan) against extremism.
The recent spike in acts of terrorism in various parts of the country have been linked to the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the senior security official said and pointed that the activation of the sleeper cells by the Indian intelligence RAW and the Afghan NDS were the key factors. This was also highlighted by Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in his press conference on Monday.