Tag Archives: Religious extrimism

The demon we created

BY ZAHID HUSSAIN

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.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1234101/the-demon-we-created

The False Savior of Pakistan

Pakistanis hope that the army’s new chief of staff, Raheel Sharif, will crack down on militants and boost security. But can one man change a corrupt legal system and prejudiced security infrastructure?

BY SUALIHA NAZAR

Pakistan has finally found a hero in General Raheel Sharif, the army’s chief of staff since November 2013. In a short time, he has become one of the most powerful and beloved men in the country. From Peshewar to Karachi, billboards and banners thank him for curbing terrorism. This adoration stems, in part, from his warnings that regional rival India will suffer “unbearable costs” if it causes mischief.

What truly catapulted General Sharif to stardom was Operation Zarb-e-Azb, an operation launched in June 2014 to eradicate militants from every corner of North Waziristan. The operation was to serve as an aggressive response to the deadly attack on Jinnah International Airport that occurred earlier that month, and gave new hope to a nation that had lost over 3,000 lives to terrorist attacks in 2013 alone.

Zarb-e-Azb signaled a strategic shift for Pakistan’s internal terrorism policies. The international community had long charged Pakistan with providing safe haven to select militants — those fighting in Afghanistan and who do not pose a direct threat to, and perhaps even support, the interests of Pakistan’s government– and Zarb-e-Azb attempted to prove that Pakistan was, in fact, targeting all militants equally. There would be no more turning a blind eye to the terrorist activities of “good” militants.

General Sharif does deserve a certain level of praise for increasing security. Not only have terrorist attacks in Pakistan dropped by 70 percent since 2012, but  Zarb-e-Azb made a significant impact on the terrorist groups Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi through military operations to weaken safe havens and confiscate weapons — progress all of the general’s predecessors failed to achieve.

Yet, this success is tempered by accusations that the crackdown against these groups has ulterior motives. The most-targeted groups are ones known to oppose the Pakistani state. The international community has demanded a stricter crackdown on other groups, too, ones like the Haqqani network and the India-focused Lashkar-e-Taiba – neither of which Islamabad considers to be an anti-state actor in addition to a terrorist organization. Rather than tackling all of the militants in the area simultaneously, Pakistan is first eliminating anti-Pakistan groups before setting its sights on anti-U.S. or anti-India groups.

Read more » FP
See more » http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/18/the-false-savior-of-pakistan/

At least 29 killed, including army captain, as militants attack PAF base in Peshawar

At least 29 people, including an army captain, were killed as militants attacked a heavily-guarded Pakistan Air Force base in Badhaber area on the outskirts of Peshawar early Friday morning, senior security officials said.

Confirming the attack, ISPR said 13 militants had been killed so far and a clearance operation was underway.

Of the 29 dead, 16 PAF soldiers were killed in a mosque as they offered morning prayers. Seven other PAF soldiers were killed in a barrack near the mosque. “A captain died leading the counter-attack against raiders and two soldiers were also killed,” DG ISPR said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/959024/militants-attack-pakistan-air-force-base-in-peshawar/