A clarion call

By Shanzeh Iqbal

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How far lifting the moratorium on death penalty would be effective in curtailing terrorism is a matter of debate now. The executions seen as an antidote to terrorism are discussed by some analysts as a feeble method. They argue that the real terrorist has a genuine faith and is not afraid of death; rather he or she is willing to embrace it. So the death penalty may not act as a strong deterrent. In such a scenario, the need for taking concrete steps for eliminating this hazard of terrorism becomes more important especially when the country is in the grip of an existential threat.

16 December would always remain a day of protest in the history of Pakistan. However owing to the fear of a possible blow back from militants, confusion prevailed in the past regarding how to fight them. Army leadership also remained indecisive as strong opposition was offered not to fight our own men from many quarters especially by ANP and PTI.  General Pervez Musharraf was the main culprit who pushed Pakistan in this swamp.

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Whether it was wrong analysis or a misunderstanding, the fact cannot be denied that many people from media, bureaucracy and some politicians suffered from this miscalculation at one juncture or the other and showed a soft corner to Taliban.  There were some media anchors too who encouraged the terrorists and supported the jihadi organizations in the past. Likewise there were some religious scholars who used to say that whoever acts on the dictates of America is a culprit and cannot be declared as a martyr. Munawar Hasan, Ameer Jamat i Islami had branded Hakim ullah Mehsood as a martyr who was the leader of Taliban. Mullah Abdul Aziz was sticking to his point and showing sympathy to Taliban even after the heinous Peshawar tragedy. In this connection the notion is even propounded that most of the decisions army must take in isolation. Even it is suggested by some expert that the tactical and operational facts must be hidden and only their accomplishments must be made known at the end for ensuring the security. He reiterated his opinion by quoting the atomic program which has so far acted as the best deterrence for Pakistan simply because due secrecy was observed.

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Talibanaization started in 1994-195. General Zia ul Haq fought America’s war in Afghanistan. But the consequence Pakistan had to face in serious terms in the form of a blow to economy and Afghan refugees. Abdul Qadir Baloch, Federal Minister for states and Frontier regions has said we accommodated 3 million Afghan refugees for 35 years which were earlier 5 million in the beginning and it remains the greatest refuges exodus in the world history. The loss in economic terms is 200 billion dollars. The international community forgot to address this very grave issue altogether. But the existential threat to Pakistan has now forced us to take drastic decisions and now it would be seen that no unregistered refugee remains here by 31st December 2015. That leaves the debate open ended and poses a serious question what is our real status in the eyes of world community despite rendering so much sacrifice in war against terror.

General Musharraf engaged America to ask for aid and thus dragged Pakistan into a senseless war. However now General Raheel is trying to discontinue this pro Taliban battle. The preference should be solidifying trust between army and the political parties.

A brief glance at the NACTA performance would reveal that in nine months the final proposals of a draft of National Security Council could not be chalked out. The work had started in March of 2014 but mostly it remained limited to the level of drafts only. Now political leadership and military ship are unanimous on one agenda, i.e. curbing terrorism. Some of the proposals of National Action Plan include improvisation of the criminal justice system and increasing the law and order in the provinces, appointing Colonel level officers as heads of military courts in FATA, and so on and so forth.

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There is a need of judicial reforms. There is a need to awake, organize and mobilize people in a national movement to fight against insurgency. We must know the real face of Talibans now. The discrimination between good and bad Taliban is over now. They are uncivilized people. General Hameed Gul even revealed that nine eleven incidence was nothing but a pack of lies to oblige the nefarious agenda of America for a safe passage in Afghanistan. Even CIA people went to USA President and said we will produce our own Taliban now. There is also an indication that some Afghan refugees are able to take Pakistani identity by giving Rs 100000 to NADRA officials. So due transparency needs to be assured during registration. Imran Khan has demanded from center that more funds for IDPs must be released. Army is now defending the frontiers, fighting the terrorists and also looking after IDPS. Their ole must be streamlined. His demands must be considered by the sitting government.

The government must take steps to strengthen its writ in the remote areas where the hold of mullahs is great and the religious people have connections with the non state actors. In this way they play an important role in disrupting the peace and disgorging the jihadi spirit in the mind of vulnerable madrassa kids. The Peshawar Tragedy is a clarion call for everyone and demands all of us to contribute our due role in eradication of terrorism in all forms. A greater focus on military operations with a strong political backing will ensure the success of such operations to a great deal.