Pakistan continues to bleed at the hands of terrorists — strategically aided by hostile foreign conspirators. The agenda is to push the country — already reeling from a serious economic crisis — further down the morass of terrorism, extremism and lawlessness. The latest — in the nefarious plan to cripple the country in multiple ways — has come in the form of a suicide blast inside a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines neighbourhood. The terrorist attack — claimed by the outlawed TTP — has rendered at least 32 people, including security personnel, dead and nearly 157 injured. Since many of the injured are in a critical condition, the death toll is feared to rise.
The recent terror timeline suggests that the TTP insurgents have been on a rampage, especially after November last year when they announced the end of the ceasefire they had agreed with the government in June last year. The months of December and January have seen around a dozen serious terrorist attacks, causing the deaths of at least 27 security personnel alone. These attacks are apart from a number of those that resulted in lesser consequences.
These back-to-back terror attacks on armed forces as well as civilian targets across the country are quite unnerving — especially in view of the fact that the terrorist elements had been nearly wiped out from their safe havens through military operations, including Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. But a lack of follow-up, coupled with the rise of a Taliban regime in Afghanistan, has seen the terrorists elements re-emerge. And now they are operating with impunity in the northwest and southwest of the country, in particular.
The state has tried its best to tame the terrorists through talks under the aegis of the Afghan Taliban. It about time to bury the policy of appeasement for good, and take action. There is need to first build a consensus against the terrorists — like the one we had in the wake of the APS attack — and then operate against them with full force of the state until the dismantling of the terror infrastructure from the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2023.
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