Nation's support vital to win war against terrorism: DGISPR

RAWALPINDI, Feb 22 (APP): Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar Monday said nation’s support to the country’s armed forces was imperative to win the war against terrorism.

The ISRPR DG on completing four years of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which was launched back in February 22, 2017 to dismantle and exterminate terrorist sleeper cells said the Operation had not been area specific rather was launched across the country with a broader domain and implications.

Major General Babar said the timing of the Operation was significant as terrorists had faced a crushing defeat in the tribal areas and were resorted to permeate into all walks of life from religion to business to create chaos and anarchy in the country through hostile activities.

“The operation has been initiated with a strategy based on four pillars namely clear, hold, build and transfer.”

He added that during 2017 under clear and hold major areas were cleansed from the terrorists in the tribal districts and state’s writ was established.

The Operation had two core domains of Counter Terrorism Domain and Counter Violence Domain. Under the former, use of power was only the state’s prerogative and complete safety of western zone was necessary to ensure peace and stability in the region, he said.

The ISPR DG said in Counter Violence Domain it was worth mentioning that an ideology could only be countered through superior argument and ideology and under this domain mainstreaming of tribal areas to the national setup, police and madrassa reforms were assisted through the government’s interventions.

He said in the second part of the Operation numerous kinetic operations were being carried out that proved to be the correct step to maintain peace.

In this regard, he said around 375,000 counter terrorism or intelligence based operations (IBOs) were conducted with the assistance of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelligence (MI), Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Police departments who had played a pivotal role in its successful execution.

The ISPR DG said over 24,000 IBOs were conducted in Punjab, over 80,000 in Sindh and many in other parts of the country.

The IBOs also included foiling of major terror activities, including attack on the PC Hotel Gwadar in Balochistan, KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Arid University suicide attack, and also attacks on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and the Chinese Embassy in Karachi, he added.

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The ISPR DG said the whole country was focused where the intelligence agencies had made huge efforts to dismantle terrorist activities. Around 5,000 threat alerts were issued whereas many of terror acts were circumvented at initial stages.

The Operation Khyber-4, he said, was been launched to cleanse the Rajgal Valley from terrorists. It was a painstaking task as over 750 square kilometers more area was cleared.

Major General Babar Iftikhar said under the Radd-ul-Fasaad Operation, deweaponization was also carried out. Over 73,000 illegal weapons and more than five million ammunition were recovered during IBOs conducted across the country.

During 2017-2021, he said, a total of 1,850 terror acts events had occurred, with 1,684 cross-border firing incidents recorded along the western border. About 353 terrorists were killed and many detained in various IBOs, he added.

He said the Operation had also helped in capacity enhancement of various law enforcement agencies (LEAs) since 2017 where 58 new FC wings were set up.

He said about 84 percent fencing of the Pak-Afghan border and over 45 percent of the Pak-Iran border had been completed. Some 497 border forts, check posts and terminals were also set up along the western border to ensure effective border management and security.

He said over 72 kilometer area in the tribal districts was cleansed from the mines planted by the terrorists during the demining process under the Operation-Radd-ul-Fasaad, which was meticulously and minutely carried out. Many security personnel were martyred and 119 got injured.

Now they were heading towards the Operation’s remaining principles of build and transfer whereas the number of security posts in the tribal districts had reduced to 250 from 450, which were established for the security of locals, he added.

He said the security forces had trained 37,428 police officials and 4,000 more were under training who would be deputed in the tribal districts. Normal policing would help further improve the security situation there, he added.

As regards the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs), the ISPR DG said during the Operation, a large number of tribal people had displaced and 96 percent of them had been safely repatriated.

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Military courts, he said, were also established across the country under the Operation and some 717 cases were referred to them.

“About 344 terrorists have been sentenced to capital punishment, 106 life imprisonment, 196 different punishments, and five acquitted in these cases.”

The ISPR DG said,“The Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad has improved economic and security situation across the country. The terrorist organizations’ assets were frozen, and extortion, target killings and other extreme terrorist activities have been controlled.”

Since the start of Operation, over 1,200 separatist nationalists had surrendered and entered the national mainstream, who were neutralized after a proper mechanism to rejoin the social fabric in a reputable manner.

The ISPR DG said for the first time a unanimous narrative of over 1,800 religious clerics from all schools of thought was rolled out to counter sectarian violence and hate speech that helped defeat the misleading terrorists’ narrative.

He said during the period, 6th National Census was carried out across the country and seven soldiers embraced martyrdom while performing security duties.

He said the Operation had also helped reveal irrefutable evidence that India was perpetrating violence in the country.

Karachi’s peace had been revived due to Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, with improvement in its ranking in global crime index to 103 from 6 in 2014.

He said the journey “from terrorism to tourism” was arduous, nerve challenging and painstaking whereas the country had rendered huge sacrifices during the the last two decades in the fight against the menace.

“The message for this year’s Pakistan Day is ‘One Nation One Destination’ keeping in view the sacrifices, resilience and unflinching resolve of the armed forces and the nation, which are united in the fight against terrorism,” he added.

The armed forces could do anything with the support of its nation and had proved their mettle during all crises with unity and unaltered determination, the ISPR DG remarked.

He said the security environment was improving.

“We are also adapting to it whereas the critical component is that we have to stay the course and we will at all costs. We are alive to the developing challenges with every passing day.”