Pakistan’s war on terror; violence down by three quarters in last two years: British Journal

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): With Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif calling an end to Pakistan’s culture of violence in 2013, it (violence) has come down by three quarters in the last two years.
“Violence has not just dropped a bit. It is down by three quarters in the last two years. The country is safer than at any point since George W. Bush launched his war on terror 15 years ago,” said a report carried by The Spectator, a British weekly magazine.
“Until a few years ago, Pakistan was one of the most dangerous countries on earth…..,It would be foolish to claim that Pakistan’s security problems are over. But something extraordinary and unexpected has certainly happened. Since it fails to fit the established narrative of Pakistan as a dangerous nation, it’s gone unacknowledged in the West,” the report observed.
According to the report, “the change can be dated to a special cabinet meeting called by prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Karachi in September 2013. At this meeting Sharif called an end to Pakistan’s culture of violence….”
The Spectator quoting Major-General Bilal Akbar, former director-general of Sindh Rangers said, “In 2013 there were 2,789 killings in Karachi. In the first 11 months of 2016 there were 592. In 2013 there were 51 terrorist bomb blasts. Up to late November this year, there were two.”
“Three years ago, Karachi suffered from an orgy of kidnapping for ransom. There were 78 cases in 2013, rising to 110 the following year. This year, there have been 19.”
“Some 533 extortion cases were reported in 2013; in 2016, only 133. Sectarian killing is sharply down: while 38 members of the Shia minority…..were killed in 2013, that figure was down by two thirds in 2016.”
Major-General Bilal told Spectator: ‘We have apprehended 919 target killers from the militant wings of political parties since September 2013. They confessed to over 7,300 killings. The daily homicide rate in the city is less than two now. It used to be ten or 15, and during ethnic clashes we could lose 100 lives a day.’
“Just three years ago, according to the Numbeo international crime index, Karachi was the sixth most dangerous city in the world. Today it stands at number 31 – and falling,” the report noted.
“Six months after he ordered the Rangers into Karachi, Nawaz Sharif took an even more momentous decision,” the report said, adding, “…He sent the army into North Waziristan, the Taleban stronghold on the Afghan border.”
In June 2014, General Raheel Sharif took charge of a massive military offensive, Zarb-e-Azb. “Taleban groups responded with a series of atrocities of which the most grotesque was the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, in which a reported 140 children were killed,” the report said.
“That stimulated the National Action Plan in January 2015, hailed by prime minister Sharif as the defining moment in the fight against terrorism. It established special military courts and outlawed terror groups…..”
“At the same time, the army stepped up its operations. According to official figures, it has killed about 3,500 Taleban fighters, destroyed 992 hideouts and cleared 3,600 square kilometers of territory. Nearly 500 soldiers have died,” the Spectator report added.
The Taleban has been gravely weakened. The Spectator quoted Bakhtiar Mohamed, director of the National Counter Terrorism Authority as saying, ‘The army has gone very deeply into every nook and corner of the tribal areas. There is no possibility of any revival of extremism.’
The report also noted as a “cheering development” the recent passage of a bill by the Sindh Assembly to prevent forced conversions of Pakistan’s Hindus.