In the wake of the US war on terror which commenced after 9/11, Pakistan became the frontline state to combat terrorism, and since then has borne the brunt of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 70,000 people. Pakistan has also sustained huge economic losses in its fight against terrorism, which are estimated to be around $126 billion till 2017-18, more than the cost of all our wars with India combined. No other country, not even the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, can claim to have suffered such tremendous loss, both in terms of lives and money. When Fazlullah made Swat-Malakand region into a state within a state in 2008/09, it led to Operation Rah-e- Rast on April 2009. A terrorist attack on GHQ on October 10 that year led to Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. 17 out of 18 administrative units in the control of TTP were retaken after launching series of operations in six tribal agencies. A terrorist attack on Jinnah terminal at Karachi on June 9, 2014 led to launching of Operation Zarb on June 15 in North Waziristan which had become the safe haven and strongest base of operation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) affiliated with 66 proscribed militant groups. Following the vicious terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) in December 16, 2014 which resulted in the death of 149 people including 132 school children, Pakistan clamped down hard on the terrorist networks in the country through sustained counterterrorism operations, as part of the National Action Plan (NAP). These military operations have substantially improved the overall security situation in the country. All bases of operations and safe havens of militant organizations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) called PATA (provincially administered) have been dismantled and flushed out. The handlers, facilitators, financiers of terrorists spread in all parts of Pakistan are being systematically dealt with by the military through countrywide intelligence based Operation Raddul Fasad. Another tangible step is the fencing of the western border to prevent cross border infiltration. Border management is also being improved. Continuous intelligence based operations and the stringent measures introduced under NAP including the re-institution of the death penalty, new cybercrime laws, the renewal of the Afghan Refugee Registration, the revival of the Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS), and the establishment of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS). In order to strengthen the judicial system, a holistic approach was taken towards legislation for strengthening Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts. Eleven Special military courts were established through the 21st amendment in the Constitution, that have sentenced 186 terrorists to death and issued verdicts for more than 300 other cases. Another milestone achieved by NAP was strengthening of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) – an anti-terrorism institution established by the parliament in 2013 with sole mandate of countering extremism in the country. Regrettably, it remained un-effective until it was made part of NAP. NAP which has a 20-point agenda has also taken a rigorous stance in dealing with the matter of sectarian violence, religious intolerance and extremism. As a result, 1373 cases were registered after 2014 regarding hate speech and publication of literature inciting religious sentiments. Around 2,566 persons were arrested against 1373 cases and 70 shops were sealed. Sectarian violence surged in the country in the last two decades, and it was because of NAP that while 185 sectarian attacks were recorded in 2012, only two attacks were witnessed by 2018. Steps have also been taken to check terror financing. Before the inception of NAP, there was no robust mechanism available to monitor terrorist funding activities. They could receive huge sums of money through charities, NGOs, and international fund transfers, narcotics trade, and extortion. NACTA took the initiative to establish a Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in every province. Furthermore, HUNDI/HUWALA transactions were also monitored and 919 cases were registered, 1209 persons were arrested and Rs. 1489.918 million was recovered. Another 426 cases were registered and 574 were arrested under money laundering charges. Hundi or huwala transactions were monitored and 919 cases were registered, 1209 people were arrested and Rs 1489.918 million were recovered. Another 426 cases were registered and 574 were arrested under money laundering charges. NAP took effective measures to counter the re-emergence of proscribed organizations. Until now, 66 organizations have been declared as illegal and 4 are under observation, while 7,966 individuals have been placed under section IV of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The government has so far frozen 4,962 accounts with over Rs. 93,980 million. Over 2,052 persons are also facing travel restrictions. Approximately 32,272 religious seminaries were functional all around the country. To address the issue of illegal seminaries, NACTA in collaboration with Ittehad-e-Tanzim-e-Madaris Pakistan has streamlined the Madaris. The registration and data forms have been generated to keep record of Madaris, and geo-mapping (special software technology that records data with visuals) has been introduced. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to eliminate terrorism and bring reforms in FATA. Army played a key role in managing internally displaced persons lodged in makeshift camps and in resettlement of over 1.5 million displaced people and in reconstruction of destroyed property. Cellular technology was also exploited by the criminals, terrorists and affiliated organizations. A colossal exercise was conducted and 98.3 million unregistered and illegal Sim cards were blocked. A new system was introduced by the authorities to streamline the Sim card registration process by working closely with NADRA and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. NACTA has also been granted special permission to block mobile services on special occasions. NAP has also successfully addressed the growing issues of social media and electronic crime. In order to filter the social media and enable a strong vigilance, a special act of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crime’ was passed in 2016. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NACTA are now working closely to monitor the internet traffic, monitoring electronic crimes, and trace and shutdown the sites that advocates extremism. Till March 2018, approximately 1447 websites have been blocked which promote extremism and hate speech. The presence of Punjabi militias, with deep connections to Al-Qaeda and TTP, required special attention. NAP has shown zero tolerance to these groups and a total of 91,666 combing operations were conducted between 2014 and 2018. 400 terrorists were hanged, 275 killed in encounters, 897 arrested, and 68,957 terrorists were entered in Digital Databank of Police/CTDs. Baluchistan also witnessed a policy shift, since the province was lagging behind in literacy, health and other basic facilities. Terrorists, extremists, separatists and other militants filled this developmental vacuum and started exploiting Baluchistan and curbing the state’s writ. In 2009, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan package was launched by the government to ensure Baluchistan’s representation in public institutions. For this purpose, scholarships have been allocated to Baluch students, 13,200 Baloch youth have been inducted in the army and many others were inducted in FIA, Utility Store Corporations, Civil Defence Department, Planning and Development Department, Anti-Narcotics Force and Ministry of Defence. In November 2017, a ‘Khushal Baluchistan’ initiative was launched to improve socio-economic as well as security conditions in the province. Government of Baluchistan has also initiated a dialogue with the exiled Baloch separatist leaders. A large number of separatists have given up their weapons, while their reconciliation and rehabilitation is still in process. Repatriation of Afghan refugees was also a major challenge for NAP to address. The last federal government approved the Repatriation and Management Policy in February 2017 and NADRA was assigned to identify the illegal Afghan refugees and register accurate number of refugees present in country. A tripartite agreement for voluntary repatriation program (the largest program ever recorded by the UNHCR) was also initiated. Till March 2018, 176,000 cases of illegal immigrants were identified and 1.38 million Afghan refugees were recorded and under Tripartite Agreement around 4.3 million have returned to their homes since 2002. NAP is being implemented with full commitment and vigour in coordination with all provinces, security agencies and other stakeholders. The effective implementation of NAP has registered significant improvements in overall law and order and internal security situation in the country, including a nose dive decline in terrorist incidents from a high of 2060 terrorist attacks in 2010 to around 370 attacks in 2017. While Pakistan Army and ISI fought the war on terror singlehanded under extremely adverse conditions and achieved laudable results in spite of insurmountable odds, the US led ISAF in Afghanistan that contained military contingents from 48 countries of the world including, 28 countries of NATO and had resources in abundance, failed to deliver. Pakistan military helped the ISAF in incapacitating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by handing over more than 600 leaders and operatives to USA. Today, the US and its puppet regime in Kabul are in dire strait and unable to confront the onslaught of spring offensive launched by the Afghan Taliban. Their policy of achieving objectives through use of excessive force has boomeranged. To cover up their embarrassment and hide their ineptness, fiascos and botches, Pakistan has been made into a convenient scapegoat and is held responsible for all their failures. Continued instability in Afghanistan is attributed to so-called safe havens of Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. So far not a single hideout has been pointed out since there is none. To maximize pressure, India has kept the Line of Control in Kashmir hot, is breaking all records of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and has resorted to water terrorism. Kabul has been poised aggressively toward Pakistan. ‘Do more’ mantra was sung by USA for years and Pakistani leaders did its bidding obediently, naively thinking that by doing so it will make Pakistan safe. Gen Bajwa put an end to it by refusing to play their dirty game aimed at bleeding Pakistan and making it a failed state. He said that Pakistan has done enough and will not do any more and its now the turn of others to do more. His defiance is being described as ‘Bajwa doctrine’. Finding themselves in a big dilemma, Pakistan was constantly threatened by Indo-US-Afghan nexus of dire consequences if it didn’t change its defiant stance. India and USA have been making efforts to place Pakistan on black list by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month so that the US and UN could impose sanctions. And when Pakistan didn’t budge, the belligerent regimes in Washington and Kabul descended from their high horses and entreated Pakistan to help in achieving temporary peace in Afghanistan. They even killed Fazlullah on June 14 in his safe haven of Kunar to appease Pakistan, even though he had been enjoying the hospitality and patronage of the CIA, NDS and RAW since 2009. However, His death will make little difference since another monster Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud has replaced him and safe havens at Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar are still intact, while Khalid Khurasani heading Jamaatul Ahrar, Faqir Muhammad heading TTP Bajaur chapter and Mangal Bagh heading Lashkar-e-Islam are under their good care. Intolerance levels have peaked, while polarisation among the mainstream parties has climaxed. Despite the sustained bashing of PML-N and the dice being heavily loaded in favour of PTI, the former bereft of its leader is still intact and ready to contest the elections. What makes things ominous for Pakistan is the dangerous agenda of its enemies. They will not let this nuclear nation, which has been improving its relationship with both China and Russia; achieve political stability and economic prosperity. Under the circumstances, it is vital for the interim government to hold timely, transparent, fair and free elections and for the Army to ensure law and order and smooth political transition. The writer is a retired Brigadier, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of five books. He is Vice Chairman Pakistan Thinkers Forum, Director Measac Research Centre and member of Executive Committee Tehrik Jawanan Pakistan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, July 2nd 2018.