IT took yet another militant attack across the border and increasing pressure from outside powers for us to finally act against Masood Azhar and his militant network — although one is not sure how serious we are in cleaning out the stables this time. Although proscribed some 14 years ago, his organisation continued to operate freely despite the evidence of its being involved in militant activities at home and outside.
How come a banned militant outfit was allowed to operate its offices across Punjab, that the security agencies now claimed to have closed down? Has the province been in a state of denial, or is there something more sinister? The Punjab government had firmly dismissed the reports of expanding activities of groups earlier associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad. Masood Azhar lived in a well-protected compound in his hometown Bahawalpur.
Many believe that the Pathankot raid and the alleged involvement of JeM in the incident may constitute a tipping point in the battle against militancy in Punjab. But it remains to be seen whether the government sticks to its promise. Such tipping points remained illusory in the past. Surely, it will not be so easy to wrap up the witches’ brew of militants that this country has been turned into. But it is our own survival that is now at stake because of these very same rogues.
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