LAHORE – The hearts of the families of the Army Public School victims are still heavy with sorrow but they are satisfied with the feeling that the sacrifice of their loved ones led to a nation-wide consensus for a massive operation to purge the country of terrorists for good, said Brigadier (Retd) Mehmood Shah former secretary security FATA while talking to The Nation today.

Talking on the first memorial day of APS martyrs, Mr Shah who had also served as Military Intelligence’s Balochistan sector commander said, “Though the threat of terror has been successfully curtailed to a larger scale and according to my experience being looking after the FATA security matters where Operation Zarb-e-Azb is underway, Pak Army will finish the anti-terror mission soon. But cleansing various cities and towns of the country of the sleeper cells, facilitators and financers could be a long process.”

“Cleansing of FATA has served a big help to the security issue but it would be a challenge for the political administration and the tribal system which had been eliminated by the TTP and Al-Qaeda elements to restore their grip when the military leave the area after completing its mission. There is a dire need of capacity building of the civilian authorities whether administrative or security to ensure safety to the FATA, PATA and Khyber Pukhtunkhawa areas,” observed FATA former secretary security.

There is a need for aggressive deradicalization programmes to involve the surrendered militants and their accomplices in an effort to make them useful citizens of the society as well as provide them an opportunity for bread and butter. But that is the case only for the militants who did not take part in acts of terror or facilitated something serious, proposed Mr Shah.

“We need to educate the nation overall through hectic media campaign, involving the true ulema to expose the real faces of the people who are exploiting religion to feed their mercenary actions,” he added.