The dangers of corruption around the world and what that does to fuel extremism and to increase economic instability and negative impact on societies need to be taken very seriously. Pressing for the Prime Minister’s resignation, however, will not be justified without the judicial inquiry having endorsed the Panama leaks. The case of crime and terrorist gangs in Southern Punjab and the need for the Army to come to the support of the police administration in tackling the most wanted criminal gang leader Ghulam Rasool Chotu in Rajanpur District shows the presence and support of a net-work of terrorists and criminals belonging to banned outfits. The US State Department spokesperson John Kirby, referring to Pakistan’s stance on the war against terror and doubts about ‘Pakistan’s biases’ towards certain terrorist groups, has stressed the need for the government of Pakistan to target all militant groups without exception. Some of the support to criminal gangs has been undoubtedly coming from opposition politicians and groups in support of a so called movement for the rights of the people of South Punjab. There has been a move even to separate the south from the rest of the province of Punjab. Crime and politics mix at times and it is no secret and no surprise. Pakistan needs crime free politics and a resolve to serve the people.

The Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has assured elimination of Chotu Gang within 48 hours, while the opposition prorogued the provincial assembly session and chanted slogans against the Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani, alleging him for having links with the criminal gang. Criminals and gangsters deserve to be punished as per law of the land. The ‘Zarb-e-Ahan’ operation is the fifth attempt by the provincial police to clear the river island from gang leaders in the last 10 years, it has been reported. The region which is spread over fifty kilometers area on the edge of the Punjab province was a “no-go-area” for the police for many years. In the wake of the ongoing operation by the security agencies certain facts or vital information has been secured to help cleanse South Punjab of criminals and terrorists. A major offensive is underway against the Chotu Gang in Kacha Jamal area of Rajanpur District in Dera Ghazi Khan.

It has been proved that lawlessness emanates from South Punjab where terror outfits-backed gangs have been operating for the last over twenty years. The operation reflects on the failure of Punjab government in building a strong civilian law enforcement system in the province. The hardened criminals are much better prepared in equipment, training, readiness and resources as compared to the police establishment. Hence the failure to firmly handle the scenario regarding crime and terrorism. Failure to safeguard against attacks by terrorists and gangsters have resulted in deaths and casualties and police personnel having been held hostage by gangsters and criminals. Law agencies are now performing a joint operation, ‘Zarb-e-Ahan’, in the riparian area of Rajanpur where members of the Chotu Gang have taken Shelter in a ten kilometers-long piece of land which is surrounded by water. This was a long awaited operation.

There is, however, need to take measures against those elements who facilitate terrorists and gangsters to help them become a serious threat to national stability and the writ of the state. Why was this scenario ignored for such a long duration is a big question mark what we see is not a creation of a few days or weeks. It is a criminal neglect on the part of politicians who have been denying the reality. They must be held accountable for their lies and falsehood and neglect of duty. They have disappointed the people. If such elements let down the people how can we win any war against terrorism? Sincerity and courage of civilian leadership is a question mark.

The strong resistance offered by the criminals against a heavy contingent of the entire Punjab police, shows that these gangsters and terrorists are fully abetted by hardcore terrorists and being fully equipped and facilitated in multiple context to work against Pakistan’s national interests and integrity of the country and the writ of the state. We need to resolve, as a nation, to put an end to terrorism and the extremist agenda and narrative. The agenda of exploitation by certain banned outfits drifts our youth from right path. Brainwashing by these banned outfits and their agents mislead our youth. The militancy is a major factor in creating and spreading wrongs which need to be corrected with missionary zeal and the spirit to make Pakistan a true democratic, welfare state with strong defence and national identity. Pakistan needs to rethink and reinvent a course of action for the youth to follow in their own interest and the larger interests of the state and its institutions. Strengthening institutions and developing a sense of loyalty to the state is first and most vital message for all of us Pakistanis.

Why should we be viewed as uncivilized and whimsical? Why should we be considered a threat to the ‘civilized’ society? The reasons behind the accusations are necessary to understand for realizing a more tolerant and peaceful world. Positive attitudes that Pakistan wishes to promote can give us a sense of satisfaction and security as well as the security of Muslims the world over. We need to develop a culture that enables the world to live with us peacefully without any biases, prejudices and stereotypes. Change in the environment of tensions can help us and others to cope with stress and consequent problems and issues.We need to enlighten the spirit to demonstrate action to bring about a real change in our society. March in the nationalistic spirit is the need of the day. Corruption and extremism must be rooted out. Our people need peace and progress and better life chances.