With Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad hitting the headlines and Pakistan fighting back against the new spate of terror, it is urgently felt that the new narrative against the scourge of ‘fasaadi’ elements in Pakistan should run parallel to the operation. Inability of the state to develop a strong and lasting counter narrative and procrastination on the National Action Plan affected by vested interests and political expediency are some of the reasons for the resurgence of terror in Pakistan.

Taking the Syrian example; the society was quite moderate – with inter-sect and even inter-faith marriages quite a common phenomenon. Syria failed because its political elite, clergy, intellectuals, academia, civil society and hyper-media kept the people divided and bewildered

A cursory look at Pakistani society would reveal many similarities with pre-civil war Syria. Quoting Waqar Kauravi from his article on ‘Reconciliation Strategy’ published in 2016, “The Pakistani people seem to be cocooning themselves into their comfort groups with no effort to reach out to the other group or side. Even our social media displays this cocooning of groups. One interesting but unfortunate example is the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and how the Pakistani public has responded. Irrespective of whether you are an intellectual, a media person, a political leader or a common Pakistani, an alarming trend of supporting your own sect (with disregard to what is in Pakistan’s interest) has been seen in mainstream and social media when it comes to debate on the Iran-KSA contest. The other major degenerating trend is the increasing gulf between the moderate (liberal) and conservative class, also represented by the rich and the poor class in the same order. The worst is the inability of these classes to talk to each other and develop some format of reconciliation”.

I have jotted down some lose thoughts on shaping the national narrative and would like to share with people and the powerful.

While countering the narrative of terrorists, we must sensitise the public on Islam’s humanitarian ethos, especially with quoting the Conquest of Mecca. When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forgave all his enemies during the Conquest of Mecca, and there was no blood shed, why are terrorists shedding the blood of the innocent people of Pakistan? The Conquest of Mecca is a shining example of conduct during war in Islam. The humanitarian aspect of Islam is its greatest strength. ISIS and TPP have nothing to do with Islam, they are a blood-thirsty scourge from hell dancing to the tunes of the enemies of Islam and enemies of Pakistan.

If ISIS was the flag bearer of Islam, why has it never attacked the state of Israel? Instead they are hell bent on dividing and destroying Islamic civilisation. If in doubt, look at Syria and Iraq. Are ISIS and TPP the surrogates of Israel and India?

Where are the stories of 85,000 Pakistanis who perished in the terrorist rampage in last decade or so? Those who oppose military operations and courts and defend the rights of terrorists under trial, should answer a few questions. Are terrorists following Pakistan’s law when they kill and destroy the innocent Pakistanis without an iota of remorse? If not, why should they enjoy any protection under Pakistani Law? What is the punishment of fasaadis in Islam, how do other states like Iran, China, US and KSA deal with fasaadis? Some religious, political and liberals groups within Pakistan are creating hurdles through legal technicalities to dent the objectives of National Action Plan.

There is also a need for a National Debate on Hybrid War. The non-kinetic part of this war is played through information operations, employment of economic hit men and criminalisation of polity. This results into chaos and bewilderment of the masses, especially the youth. A sustained campaign would sap the energy and stamina of pillars of national will or totally dismantle the governing structures. Terrorist organisations and sub-nationalist militias, acting like proxies, play the kinetic part of this hybrid war paving way for interventions by hegemonic. Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen and Iraq are recent examples.

This Hybrid War has also been imposed on Pakistan, especially after US intervention in Afghanistan. Pakistan has fought this war with perseverance and dexterity, through phased operations and campaigns. Radd-ul Fasaad is a continuum of Zarb-e-Azb and mopping up phase of this national effort and should not be seen in isolation.

While reemphasising the implementation of NAP, I would remind the leadership to implement it in true spirit. Is our collective conscience dead, or, have we accepted the fait accompli, due to political expediency and selfishness? What about shared responsibility of our legal fraternity to implement this plan?

Pakistan’s police has borne the brunt of terror in last decade and a half; however its capacity and capability has been undermined due to political interference, promotion of loyalists, lack of merit, VIP duties, lack of proper funding and a demoralisation campaign launched by enemies of the state disguised as fifth columnists. We can also learn from the KPK police, who has shown dramatic and positive improvements through de-politicisation and proper funding.

On Indian involvement there are a few questions. Why was the Indian base of Chennai used by Jamaat ul Ahrar in accepting the terror attack in Lahore and what’s the sinister design of India? Kulbhushan Yadav is a living testament to the fact that India has left no stone unturned in fomenting terror and chaos in Pakistan. Pakistan needs to come out openly and expose Indian involvement in fomenting terror in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s destabilisation and isolation has become a favorite mantra of the Doval-Modi cabal. These sentiments were recently echoes by the ex-Indian Army Chief, Gen Bikram Singh in the following words, “If we promote the resurrection movements within Pakistan and add fuel to this fire, Pakistan army will try to look inwards and will be distracted from Kashmir and India.” He added that the objective of this strategy is to keep the Pakistan Army busy battling against its internal enemy. “This will happen when we will shed their blood,” said the ex-Indian COAS.

Has Pakistan weighed the cost of appeasement of India? Pakistan has to present the case of Indian state-sponsored terrorism within Pakistan to the international community.

UK is the thriving hub of some organisations like Hizbul Tahrir. Similarly ISIS and Daish supported websites like Dabiq, Aymak,and now Rumiya, cannot operate from the internet without a nod from their western masters. Pakistan needs to expose western backed media outlets, who have been supporting the ISIS agenda. If Hizbul Tahrir, MQM London and even some Baloch dissident organisations can operate from London and Brussels, why is Pakistan’s Foreign Office is so quiet?

We also need to apprise China about the security and strategic cost of CPEC, especially of the threat emanating from Afghanistan, backed by India and western powers. China and her strategic ally Russia will have to come out in the open to defend their interests within Pakistan and beyond.