"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Abubakr
Full Name: Abubakr Ayesh
User since: 4/Jun/2012
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Zarb-e-Azb-Combating the Menace with Success?


The military has always held a notorious reputation in the context of our country and it is known as the most influential when it comes to decision making regarding the affairs of the state. It has been actively involved in the political scenario of Pakistan: military takeover is a well known phenomenon in our society. Besides, it has been known for its role in the fall of Dhaka, in the creation of non-state actors, in the spread of terrorism and extremism in this region, in suppressing and curbing the voice of the “insurgents”, and in the manipulation of politicians for achieving its own aims and strengthening its position as an establishment. Therefore, one must not feel bewildered when some politicians, analysts, opinion makers and common citizens view the role of military with skepticism or even append to conspiracy theories regarding the role of military in current affairs.

            Nevertheless, the military has managed to garner support from the masses for the current military action that is taking place in the tribal areas while I write. The reasons for this are fairly simple and straight forward: the talks proved futile and fruitless, the role of the banned militant outfit(s) recently has ignited response from every nook and corner and terrorism had become a major dilemma of our society. Furthermore, nothing was considered safe and secure anymore; the general population, minorities, national infrastructure and cultural landmarks had become vulnerable and this became imminent in the recent attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. Hence, we can say that the military has-this time-taken an action which represents the demands of the masses. I hope and pray that they achieve what they have set out for but there are certain important facts which must be kept in mind.

            To begin with, it is crucial that the top leadership of the TTP is dealt with. Unless the top brass of the organization manages to flee or stay safe, it has the ability to rebuild and restructure the whole organization. In fact, this is the primary reason behind the fact that military had to conduct several operations in the affected regions up till now. One must not forget that the front line militants and suicide attackers are usually young, energetic, burly and brain-washed adolescents who are just used and exploited as tools. Therefore, it is essential that the top leadership of this outfit is taken care of.

            Besides, it must not be forgotten that TTP is not the only organization that spreads extremist phenomenon and accepts responsibility of anti-state activities-rather atrocities. Several other organizations- Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jamaat-ud-Dawaa to name a few-have an influence in the society because of their strong networking. It is imminent that these outfits follow more or less the same agenda that the TTP does. Thus, it is not possible to eradicate extremism until these groups meet the same fate and TTP is just one facet of the problem.

            The most important factor in eradicating terrorism is the spread of a counter terrorism ideology in terror hit areas in particular and all over the country in general. It is of immense importance that the youngsters are not tempted to do “Jihad” against the state and are not fed with the extremist ideology. In order to ensure this, the ideology of respecting and tolerating others, and developing a feeling of empathy must be socially rooted in our atmosphere and the general social capital. Perhaps, this can be done in pretty much similar way the extremist ideology was spread in North Western region of the country during the Cold War.

            Yet another thing which holds significant importance on humanitarian basis is the issue of loss of civilian life and property, and the loss of infrastructure and basic facilities in the affected region. Collateral damage has often been viewed as one of the factors that fuel terrorism in terrorism hit areas. The fact that military is relying on air strikes makes the local population and the local infrastructure susceptible to loss of life and property. Such careless and callous attitude must be strongly rejected and criticized on humanitarian grounds. Although, it is a bitter fact that the loss of civilian life is not completely preventable given the nature of the war but it can be minimized.

            Moreover, the IDPs must be given special importance. Both the provincial and federal governments should make fair treatment of IDPs their top priority. This will help convince the afflicted masses that government is interested in their well being and is not pursuing its own interests while condoning their own interests and their fundamental human rights. Just setting up a camp will not suffice. There must be proper arrangement regarding the hostile weather conditions, food provision and other basic facilities.

            The last-and one of the most important-factors regarding this issue is the vacuum created by the lack of active civil governance. Most of these areas lack basic facilities of water, roads, schools and hospitals. The terrain is still rugged and barren and developments have never taken place in this region. This creates vacuum for the non-state actors and they fulfill this vacuum since they succeed in mustering local support. Therefore, it is imperative that developmental projects and social welfare of the masses is ensured once the operation is done with and the rehabilitation process-along with developmental projects-is given the top priority. Education is perhaps the most important tool for fighting terrorism and providing a counter ideology to terrorism. Therefore, schools must be set up in these areas and everybody must have access to them. The NGOs also need to step in the contribute substantially in this regard.

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