Shuja Khanzada, a staunch advocate for the anti-terrorism movement, was recently assassinated when a suicide bomber blew himself up at his house in Attock. The minister and a DSP were among the 12 people killed. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was not kidding when it said that they would strike back. They will not stop, until the message that they want to portray is loud and clear. Information gathered through communication intercepts and intelligence suggests that the life of many a high-ranking political figure is in danger. Heads of seven parties and a dozen senior politicians are under threat of attack by the TTP. The TTP is up to its old tricks and the threats will mount pressure on the government to abort the ongoing operation against terrorism across the country. However, the TTP should have realised by now that there is going to be no backing down now by the army or the civilian government. We are too far in. Additionally, TTP apologists and sympathisers have drastically decreased in the general population after the December massacre in Peshawar and the success of Zarb-e-Azb. Either the TTP will either die a slow death, choked by military operations and a lack of civilian support, or it will morph into something even more monstrous like ISIS.

The TTP is insistent on creating a sectarian strife in Punjab, as many members of the possible targets belonged to two specific sects. They have threatened to attack shines for this purpose. This group also has Red Mosque sympathisers, who want revenge from some high-ranking political figures, ones that were part of the Musharraf government.

We made real headway as late as 2009, with ‘Operation Rah-e-Rast’, when the Pakistan Army reclaimed the area of Swat. On a larger scale, Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 destroyed the communication lines of terrorists. It has been claimed that for the first time in over a decade, relative peace prevails in the country. Maybe, this is not enough to tackle the problem. Lives are still being lost as the TTP eliminating everyone who tries to fight with them. The list of suspected targets include Imran Khan, Pervez Musharraf, Asfandyar Wali, Sheikh Rashid, Fazlur Rehman, Aftab Sherpao and Sahibzada Hamid Raz. Moreover, noted figures including Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Abdul Rehman Kanju have also been warned. Today, Pakistan is fighting a war for its very survival against this faceless enemy. With politicians the new target, maybe a different strategy to tackle terrorism is necessary.