A new spate of terrorist violence is emerging in the country. Barely two days after the Taliban-claimed suicide bomb in Lahore which killed more than a dozen people, more suicide attacks took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In separate incidents, at least eight people, including three Levies personnel and three civilians, lost their lives as suicide bombers struck two targets in Peshawar. The first target was the offices of Mohmand Agency’s political agent and the second was a van carrying judges in Peshawar. The latest of these attacks claimed lives of nearly fifty at Lal Shabaz shrine on Thursday evening. After these incidents, a civil-military huddle was convened wherein the leadership reiterated the commitment to purge the country of militancy.
The latest surge in terror activities has renewed concerns for the security of citizens. It is an unending phenomenon in many troubled areas across the globe, and there is no single formula that can be applied to completely eliminate the scourge of terrorism once and for all. Every time evil mongers let loose hell on innocent citizens, the atmosphere becomes somber and the list of aggrieved families becomes longer. Nobody can imagine the level of agony of terror victims. Though Operation Zarb-e-Azb has caused a considerable reduction in terrorist activities and controlled militancy to some extent, yet it does not mean that all terrorists have been wiped out and militancy has been completely eliminated. Rather, they have started carrying out scattered but deadlier attacks. It is a pattern of militancy all over the world that militants remain hidden and strike whenever they find an opportunity. This new developing trend of terror has put a question mark on the working of security agencies. Security agencies need not be complacent as Pakistan is still facing a war-like situation because of terrorism.
Although it is not possible to guard every place, yet forces need to be extra vigilant to thwart any act of terror. In order to pre-empt terrorist activities, coordinated efforts are needed among all concerned departments and ministries to develop a centralised system to coordinate and implement plans to curb militancy. The federal and provincial governments are working autonomously to deter terrorist activities, but a forum must be established at the centre to supervise and monitor all operations against terrorists. Unless there are coordinated efforts and data sharing, the war against terrorism cannot succeed. Though the prime minister has reiterated his resolve to wipe out terrorism at all costs, yet only making resolves and condemnation will not work unless some critical practical steps are taken.
After every terror attack, one or the other known militant organisation claims responsibility, national outrage takes place, and beyond governmental condemnation, reiteration of avowal to keep fighting terror and formation of committees, nothing seems to happen. The one tangible methodology to nip terror in the bud is pre-emptive strikes as well as tackling of terrorism as a criminal activity. Every incident of terrorism should be dealt on modern forensic scientific lines. After every terror attack, a thorough probe must be held focusing on the following: the identity of the suicide bomber; his background; the identity of his handler/boss; if he operated in his individual capacity or as part of a bigger group; where he was indoctrinated or trained; the place from where the bomb/material was bought/assembled in; funding of the attack; how the organisation, if any, is funded; the ideology of the organisation; the modus operandi; and the short and long-term strategy of the group.
An airtight case must be made, and once the perpetrators are in custody a proper judicial process must be in operation. Protection of witnesses, lawyers and judges must be ensured, and once the culprits are behind bars, it is imperative to take proper measures that there is no bail, and no chance of a jailbreak. Undoubtedly, the use of force has become necessary to root out the malaise of militancy that has long gripped the country. *