Terrorism has become a problem for every nation in the world. Pakistan is one of the worst sufferers. There is a long history that our cities have been attacked by blood-thirsty terrorists. The recent wave of terror including the Lahore blast then suicide attack in Sehwan at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine, the Charsadda attack which was foiled by our brave policemen and other events in other parts of the country have sent a chilling message that no one is safe, neither civilians, nor law enforcement agencies. These terrorist activities have many objectives such as spreading threat of violence in society and damaging the country’s economic progress. The two militant groups, Jamaatul Ahrar and the militant Islamic State group active in Pakistan, are believed to be responsible for these attacks.

The suicide blast in Sehwan was the deadliest as it devoured 88 precious lives and crippled lot of others for the rest of their lives. The attack sent a wave of anger not only in common masses but also in political and military leaderships. Two prompt actions were taken in this regard. First, our army did a military action along the Pak-Afghan border where the mastermind and other terrorists were hiding. In these strikes many terrorists killed including some of their top leaderships. Secondly, new military operation ‘Raddul Fasaad’ was launched against terrorists and subversive elements in the country. After a high-level security meeting the civil and military leadership decided this operation to continue and maintain successes achieved from Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The PM said while talking to media persons in Ankara that decision to launch ‘Operation Raddul Fasaad’ was taken in PM house. This military operation has been launched across the country with the stated objectives of eradicating residual terrorist threats, consolidating the gains made in counterterrorism operations thus far and tightening security along the borders. The operation entails coordinated action by all wings of the armed forces as well as paramilitary organisations, civilian law-enforcement agencies and intelligence outfits. Even though the offensive has a countrywide canvas but Punjab is the main focus and has long been a hotbed of violent extremist groups.

This operation has started getting results as the Pakistan Army along with paramilitary forces are doing raids after getting intelligence reports. A large number of people have been arrested and many terrorists killed in different activities across the country. According to recent reports six terrorists were killed in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab, a suicide bomber was captured from Shikarpur in Sindh, a special team of Counter-Terrorism Department gunned down six suspected terrorists in river belt across Chenab between Multan and Muzaffargarh. The dead belonged to Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, according to CTD officials.

Similarly, the police and law-enforcement agencies have conducted a search operation in Pir Mehal area and arrested an activist of a banned outfit and one Afghan national. The Afghan national was identified as Abdullah and police recovered hate literature and prohibited material from his possession. A terrorist bid was foiled as the police and security forces recovered improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hand-grenades and ammunition in the limits of Chamkani Police Station. Chamkani police, during another action in New City, recovered 24 rifles, 21 pistols, 7,100 rounds and 76 magazines from a house. Eight suspects including snatchers, gamblers and an Afghan national were arrested in different areas of Rawaplindi during operation. House to house search is also conducted where it is necessary and the local people are identified through biometric system. The arrested people are shifted to police station and cases are lodged against them.

In this new wave of terror the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan should make new strategies to fight the common enemy, i.e. terrorists of all hue and colour. Border cooperation and coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essential. Both the countries have fought against terrorism and shall continue this effort together. Clearly, a bilateral framework of cooperation must accommodate exigencies and there is an urgent need to address the current spate of violence inside Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has always extended a helping hand to the neighbouring country and in this critical time we want a reciprocal response from Afghanistan. The ebb and flow of militancy in the two countries requires flexible priorities and Pakistan is right in insisting that the anti-Pakistan militants who have found sanctuary in Afghanistan be targeted urgently. If Afghan security forces or the US-led foreign military contingents are unable to act decisively against them, then Kabul should consider allowing Pakistani forces to operate in the border regions where those militants are believed to have found sanctuary.

The whole nation supports operation ‘Raddul Fasad’ as terrorism and extremism would be defeated at all costs. Every citizen of Pakistan is ready to offer any sacrifice in eliminating terrorism from the country. Even China has extended its support for this military operation to eliminate the threat of terrorism and extremism across the country besides ensuring the security of borders.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has always extended a helping hand to the neighbouring country and in this critical time we want a reciprocal response from Afghanistan.