Once more, the valiant armed forces of Pakistan have demonstrated unwavering resolve, unyielding commitment, and unflinching determination to eradicate every manifestation of terrorism and extremism from our homeland. In the pursuit of this noble mission, our fourteen courageous and highly skilled soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in Pasni. Their convoy fell victim to a treacherous ambush by those cowardly and heartless terrorists and extremists who, despite their Pakistani origins, are manipulated and puppeteered by sinister masterminds based not within our borders, but in India, Afghanistan, and possibly beyond. Yet in another unyielding display of courage and professionalism, our soldiers thwarted a meticulously coordinated terrorist assault, including a suicide attack on the Air Force base in Mianwali. The Pakistan Air Force, with remarkable operational readiness, bravery, skill, and expertise, not only repelled the attackers but also safeguarded our invaluable air force assets. In a resolute response to this heinous act, all nine terrorists behind the attack met their deserved fate. Our valiant armed forces have been proving their mettle since the inception of Pakistan. They liberated a significant portion of Jammu and Kashmir from the oppressive grip of India. Today, the liberated Kashmiris lead lives free from fear, intimidation, abductions, and extrajudicial killings, a stark contrast to the hardships endured by their counterparts in the illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The mettle and unwavering professional competence of our armed forces faced yet another formidable test when the Soviet Union, having conquered Afghanistan, loomed on Pakistan’s borders, endangering our safety and security in pursuit of warm waters. The USSR was not only defeated but was shattered to pieces. Our armed forces stood resolute once more as the region transformed into a focal point of international security dynamics, particularly in the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11. Just as the USSR had previously occupied Afghanistan, this superpower, too, threatened the very essence of our country’s safety and security. Within this intricate web of political and security dynamics, other powers, unfriendly to Pakistan, especially India, seized the opportunity to consolidate their presence in Afghanistan and extend their influence far and wide within Pakistan, employing a combination of kinetic and soft power tactics. The ensuing acts of terrorism martyred our over 70,000 civilians and security personnel and inflicted material losses of over US$ 50 billion. India, using Afghanistan as a base, especially penetrated deep into Balochistan. It employed an insidious propaganda machine to cultivate toxicity in the minds of the Baloch people, propagating a distorted narrative that falsely portrayed the Pakistani government as an exploitative force and sowed seeds of discord and disillusionment among the Baloch population, instilling the misguided belief that the federal government was plundering the wealth of Balochistan while deliberately stunting the province’s development, leaving its people impoverished. It also lured the disgruntled elements in Balochistan to seek false refuge in Afghanistan by concocting unfounded allegations of persecution and aggression by Pakistan’s security forces. Inside Afghanistan, they underwent a process of militarization and indoctrination and were trained with modern and lethal weaponry. Consequently, these individuals were reintroduced into Pakistan with clear-cut objectives, which include thwarting and sabotaging Pakistan’s endeavours to develop Gwadar as a global maritime trade hub. They aim to impede the construction of an extensive network of educational institutions across the province and hinder the creation of an extensive road and highway infrastructure. Their agenda was to disrupt the provision of affordable electricity, gas, and other utilities, while also working to impede efforts to bolster the agriculture and horticulture sectors in Balochistan. Above all, they sought to obstruct the unlocking of the hidden treasures of Balochistan, with the ultimate goal of undermining the prosperity and affluence of its people. Simultaneously, this elaborate strategy sought to thwart the armed forces’ endeavours to integrate Baloch youth into their ranks. As the adversaries of our beloved nation had been plotting against the very core of our existence, our resolute security apparatus had been quietly pursuing its well-considered strategy. Operating in a realm of discreet and prudent actions, they were able to turn the tide which finally compelled the coalition members of the foreign forces, one by one, to commence their exit from Afghanistan. They witnessed the Afghan government allies flee the country in haste, followed by a humiliating evacuation by the USA in 2021 and its forces along with all Indian agents who hastily retreated from Afghanistan, leaving behind their physical and human assets. This staggering humiliation and resounding defeat dealt a severe blow to India’s pride, resulting not only in the loss of a haven for insurgents targeting Pakistan but also in the depletion of its human assets within our borders. Despite being deeply wounded and weakened, our adversary persists in its malevolent strategy. It continues to seek means of engaging our armed forces, masterminding, financing, and arming criminal gangs and enlisting paid agents to orchestrate attacks against our security forces. Its focal point remains Balochistan, with calculated attempts to threaten our military installations across the army, air force, and navy. The recent surge in terrorist incidents has an undeniable connection to the multiple decisive actions taken by the government of Pakistan supported by its armed forces to safeguard the economic, financial and security interests of the country. It could be the decision to rid the country of the menace of illegal aliens, irrespective of their origins, most of them hailing from Afghanistan. These aliens, in a heartless and unscrupulous manner, have been siphoning off our precious foreign exchange by smuggling it into Afghanistan. This illegal activity has had the deleterious effect of bolstering the Afghan Afghani and simultaneously weakening the Pakistani Rupee to the point of imminent economic distress. This course of action also prompted the UK and USA to finally evacuate the Afghans they had promised to repatriate but had conveniently delayed. Secondly, our sworn enemies in a last-ditch effort to put to use their fast-depleting assets inside Pakistan, before their relocation to Afghanistan are deploying their agents and hardcore criminals to carry out saboteur activities by utilizing the refuge, weapons reconnaissance and critical intelligence enabling them to launch lethal terrorist attacks on innocent civilians and security agencies, resulting in the loss of lives and property. The current spike in terrorist attacks was also supported by the highly influential and well-connected smugglers and drug dealers whose operations were severely impeded by the coordinated anti-smuggling and anti-drug campaigns, largely spearheaded by the army, both within the country and along the 2,500-kilometer border inflicting losses which run into billions of dollars. This could also be an attempt to divert the national focus from Indian atrocities perpetrated by Indian Occupied forces in IIOJ&K and on the grilling issue of Palestine where brutal Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and West Bank have killed over 9000 civilians mostly women and children with total impunity. But perhaps in the pursuit of their nefarious attempts to divert our focus, the hostile elements operating against Pakistan may have failed to recognize the indomitable spirit, unwavering resolve, and unparalleled capabilities of our armed forces. These forces have acquired the mastery of performing with equal excellence on multiple frontiers, demonstrating the ability to launch precision counter-offensives that yield the desired outcomes. They have honed the skill to protect and fortify our borders against adversaries, whether the challenges came from the likes of the USSR, USA, India, or Afghanistan. The armed forces have exhibited their mettle in quelling the menace of terrorism, a testament to their unwavering commitment to purging the scourge from regions like Swat Valley and other parts of our beloved nation. They have proven their prowess in aiding economic and financial battles, steering the ship of our nation towards stability in the realms of finance and economics. In the past, they were prepared and resilient, emerging victorious against forces that sought to dismantle Pakistan, regardless of their size and resourcefulness. Today, they remain undaunted, meticulously countering every act of terrorism with unparalleled precision. And they will continue to do so in the future, undeterred by threats to their own lives and the pain and agony borne by their grieving yet proud families. Their resolute resolve remains unwavering, their determination unshakeable, as they stand united to defeat all forms and manifestations of terrorism, whether emerging from within our own borders, originating in Afghanistan, or even instigated by India or other external sources. This indomitable spirit serves as a testament to our armed forces’ dedication to the defence of our nation and the protection of our people. This unwavering commitment to our nation’s security and well-being stands as an indomitable force in the face of adversity. The writer is former Press Secretary to the President and former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France.