As part of its wider strategy to combat extremism and militancy the Nawaz government has reportedly planed a targeted operation against banned outfits in the country’s settled areas, including Punjab where the LeJ and SSP culprits and leaders have been allegedly enjoying shelter under the nose of the Punjab government. It was welcomed by the people from all walks of life and schools of thought. But now there is no indication whether it is going to start or not, nor is there any announcement by the government as to when an operation will be conducted. Ahmed Rashid, the author of “Descent to Chaos” fears that any such decision is not being taken because of its impact on the so far peaceful Punjab.

The government needs to adopt a strategy of preemption so that it can take prior measures to stop or handle the fallout in urban areas, especially Punjab. But with this pretext an operation cannot be stopped only to inflict casualties in other areas at the hands of terrorists and banned outfits. The fact remains that the members and leaders of these organizations are hiding in the urban areas; those who are in Waziristan or other areas, are for the purpose of training. There is no room left for patronizing them because they and their acts are anti state; they must be declared enemy of the country. Clearly this may not be the case, but delay strengthens the belief. Any indecision would let them flee either to Afghanistan or hide in Pakistan, ahead of the impending military operation.

FOZIA S NIAZI,

Mianwali, January 28.