In the aftermath of the death of Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, the Rangers have begun a covert operation against all banned terrorist organizations in Punjab. The Army chief informed the Prime Minister on Tuesday, in a meeting about the course of action they were proceeding to take in Punjab. They also agreed to continue the Karachi operation against corrupt criminals. Many see the security situation in Punjab as a relative state of calm in the past couple of years, but the Attock attack has been a reality check. It has re-awoken the civilian as well as the military leadership alike who were hoping the Zarb-e-Azb operation was nearing its end.

The banned outfits operating from Punjab have their own internal dynamics and have functioned in their own capacities without much fear of retribution as long as they did not upset the balance of peace in the province. It is sad that it took an attack on a Home Minister to prove that lines had been crossed and action was needed. The modus operandi of these sectarian outfits operating in Punjab is different from Taliban; hence the Punjab Rangers have started undercover operations to tackle with these terrorists accordingly.

Sources have also confirmed that Pakistan’s intelligence services have crushed a network of more than 12 RAW operatives in Punjab. Details are emerging of enemy agents gathering information on important politicians and official figures as well as monitoring day-to-day security arrangements of vital state buildings and installations. With the threat of a possible war with India, RAW operatives in hiding as well as rumors of sleeping terrorist and sectarian cells across Punjab it seems that the Rangers and the military leadership has its plate full.

Pakistan is going through a critical period where the Karachi operation is proving to be successful against crime. What remains to be seen is that how effectively will the operation be carried out in the Punjab and what effect, if any, will it have on status quo politics. The Rangers are essentially under the control of the Interior ministry of Pakistan, and their actions depict that the operation has the full support of the civilian leadership. There has been clamour from Karachi, that the politico’s of the Punjab have not come under scrutiny for their corrupt dealings, and with the Rangers operation in Punjab underway, it is likely that it will stay that way. The Rangers are already over extended, with half their forces being dedicated to Karachi. The PML-N best look internally and make sure links with terrorism do not exist, especially monetary. But for now, the meeting of the COAS and the PM to discuss these pertinent issues can be viewed as a united front against agents working against the state.