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Terrorism; the scourge and its aftermath

Pakistan and Taliban
Pakistan and Taliban
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More than 1,025 civilians and 475 security forces personnel were killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan last year, says a U.S. report released on Wednesday.

In its country reports on terrorism, the U.S. State Department warned that the presence of Al Qaeda, TTP, and other militant groups continued to threaten both U.S. and Pakistani interests. The TTP claimed responsibility for the majority of the frequent attacks that targeted civilians and security personnel. Terrorist incidents occurred in every province.

The report says that in 2013 Pakistan continued to confront terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, the Punjabi Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, all of whom mounted attacks against police, military and security forces, or engaged in sectarian violence and criminal activities against all sectors of society. But Pakistan did not confront Lashkar-e-Taiba, which continued to operate and raise funds with its front organizations.

Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network continued to plot against US interests in the region, including US diplomatic facilities. TTP posed a threat to both US and Pakistani interests, and carried out numerous attacks against Pakistani armed forces, civilians and government institutions.

The State Department noted that the PML-N government had pursued negotiations with TTP while also targeting the group militarily. Pakistan continued to support the Afghan peace process.

It also noted that Karachi continued to suffer from political and ethnic violence inflicted by different groups, including militant organizations, fundamentalist religious groups, and the militant wings of political parties.
Legislation: Pakistan’s government is in the process of implementing four significant laws passed in 2013: the National Counter-terrorism Authority Act, the Fair Trial Act, amendments to the Anti-terrorism Act of 1997, and the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance of 2013. The government continued to make use of the reinforced counter-terrorism legislation; however, the judiciary moved slowly in processing terrorism and other criminal cases in general.

UN-designated terrorist organizations in Pakistan continue to avoid sanctions by reconstituting themselves under different names, often with little effort to hide their connections to previously banned groups.

In 2013 Pakistan’s military worked with civil society to operate the Sabaoon Rehabilitation Centre, a de-radicalization program for youth in a military camp in Mingora, Swat.

Militancy-exposed youth are rehabilitated through a combination of education and counseling. Sabaoon Centers claim success in reintegrating militant youths into society and there are now nine such centers operating in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Fata.

The above is a report on the suffering of the innocent people, whose lives have been transformed with the growing insecurity in the cities. The terrorist organizations are bent on their evil ways, indulging in a massacre of civilians irrespective of their age or social status. Children as well as the elderly, poor and innocent folks have lost their lives in sporadic shootings and bombings. The agenda of the terrorists is obscure and their identities immersed into a myriad of deceptive cloaks. The government is trying its level best to negotiate a way out of this impasse and reach an agreement of peace with the Taliban and their surrogates. It seems peace and normalcy is not what the terrorists desire; they want to terrorize and rule with a law of their own choosing. At the end of the day, Pakistan will be left with no choice but to wipe these militant outfits through the use of military force. The armed forces have succeeded in wiping out their hideouts; soon there will be no place for the terrorists to hide.

Dawn News May 1, 2014

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