By Iftikhar Hussain Jazib
Addressing the participants of national security workshop recently, the COAS General Asim Munir said that the armed forces of Pakistan and its security and intelligence setups have fought the menace of terrorism in an exemplary manner despite sustained and varied support of inimical forces. As matter of fact, religiously motivated terrorism of Al-Qaeda and DAISH, affiliates and franchises has been a big challenge internationally. United States of America and its European allies put all their military power and resources against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq two decades ago but still they are struggling for its complete elimination. Based on religious extremism, Al-Qaeda and DAISH are hard and sensitive threats for Muslim states as its ideology is appealing for a segment of their population. For same reason, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are in complete chaos while other Muslim states of Middle East and North Africa are also having difficulties in overcoming Salafi Jihadi terrorists. Pakistan, despite being an economically weak state with limited resources and technology, has been successful against terrorists militarily and ideologically. The resilience of its people, their political awareness and professionalism of its army and security forces proved to be the best bulwark against terrorism.
COAS General Asim Munir further emphasised that intelligentsia and civil society has greater responsibility to ensure that our people, especially youth stay aware and steadfast against hostile propaganda onslaught being launched through soft offensive against the state institutions of Pakistan. Pakistan has been facing a transnational terrorist threat as Al-Qaeda, DAISH, TTP, ISKP and other militant outfits have global links and networks. Hostile elements and international propaganda always projected Pakistan as a state which is crumbling due to the onslaught of terrorists. Unfortunately, some segments in Pakistan’s media are also under the influence of hostile elements and they are often involved in threat exaggeration. The resolve of Pakistanis to defeat terrorists and commitment of their security forces to this cause is underestimated by these anti-social element.
Terrorists have primarily waged a war against the citizens of Pakistan, their values, beliefs and their national assets. Therefore, general public is united and defiant against them. 250 million people of Pakistan are facing terrorists bravely for the last two decades and all types of violent tactics employed by the militant organizations could not shake their resolve to defeat them. Suicide bombings and attacks on schools, markets, transportation facilities, mosques, shrines and imambargahs have killed 84 thousand Pakistanis while the economic losses were also huge. But the deadly campaign of terror failed in inflicting irrevocable losses to the state of Pakistan. In fact, a few thousand fugitive militants hiding in Afghanistan can neither capture whole Pakistan nor subjugate its 250 million resolute people.
The people of Pakistan have the longest experience of self-government in the Muslim World and violent extremist forces can never enforced themselves upon them. Since the first elections of British India in 1920, general masses of subcontinent have strongly adhered to the principal of government by consent. In fact, so great is the attachment of Pakistanis to democratic values that the martial laws were essentially democratic and elections and local self-government institutions were their prominent features. Therefore, politically aware and socially mobilized Pakistanis will never allow extremist takeover of their country.
If we observe the trends and patterns of terrorism in the Muslim states, we find out that democratic societies were less susceptible to religious extremism and terrorism while Al-Qaeda’s ideology made devastating impact on authoritarian regimes. Besides Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia are democratic Muslim countries where people have rejected Al-Qaeda, its franchises and affiliates. The strength of these countries lays in their openness for diversified political and religious ideologies as their citizens have no grievances against the state. On the other hand, countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya were easily run over by the Al-Qaeda and DAISH because people have a sense of depravation due to the authoritarian mode of government. As it has been emphasized before that Pakistanis have the longest experience of democratic values in Muslim World therefore, public support for violent extremist ideologies is out of question. If we go by famous Maxim of Western political thought, ‘democracy always wins’, there should be no doubt that Pakistan will soon overcome terrorists completely.
Pakistan’s main strength lays in its peoples’ sentimental attachment with their national armed forces. Pakistanis are very proud of their troops who have sacrificed more than 6 thousand lives in the war against terrorism. Pakistan Army consists of 6 lack professional troops who are highly committed and motivated to root out terrorism from the country. It has been real game changer as it has successfully counter the militant insurgencies in Swat and tribal districts of KP. While its roll in dismantling terrorist networks in urban centres is also highly commendable. In the latest phase of military operations, Pakistan Army is successfully eliminating the last pockets of militant’s resistance along the Pak-Afghan border. Despite deadly terrorists’ attacks, Pakistan’s state apparatus is also fully functional. Every settled district has operational policing system. Punjab and Sindh Rangers, Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary and Levies are available to backup Army and Police. Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan are working round the clock to foil the nefarious designs of militants and their masters in hostile agencies.
Security personnel are facing the brunt of terrorist attacks as they have stood up as the saviours of the citizens, and their values, beliefs and assets. Therefore, general public and government are always willing to strengthen their hands against terrorists. In the light of these facts and ground realities, we can conclude that Pakistanis will never tolerate extremist takeover of their country and its security institutions are fully capable and committed to defeat Al-Qaeda, DAISH, TTP, ISKP and other militants. While the state of Pakistan can sustain counter terrorism operations robustly, the militant organizations are already in shambles.
In COAS General Asim Munir’s words, “Success will be ours, God willing, with the continued support of the people of Pakistan.”
M.Phil international Relations from Quaid-e-Azam University, the writer is a freelance contributor on the issues of violent extremism and militancy. He could be approached on X @radiant_j_007
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.