Pakistan has been bleeding again. Is terrorism going to stay because of its bedrock of sectarianism? Unfortunately, the great ideals of the Pakistan Movement were altered within thirty years. Military and political intervention in the name of religion became the hallmark of state craft.

Today, the political stability of Pakistan put aside every other thing. Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at Washington-based Wilson Centre, rightly commented that “Pakistan’s war on terror has essentially been an effort to go after terrorists and not to go after the ideologies that drive terrorism and terrorists.” Sectarian schools run extreme ideologues and during the Holy War (Jihad) in the 1980s they were inculcated. Now they spread out, targeting every one. They represent a strong culture.

After the recent spate terrorism over hundred terrorists were apprehended or killed. A terrorist facilitator linked with the Lahore bombing was arrested by the Punjab law enforcement authorities. He confessed that he had come from the Kunar Province in Afghanistan. In the aftermath Pakistan closed down the border with Afghanistan. Terrorists activities went across all the four provinces and FATA except Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Public protests and Sufi shrines were most hit. The Punjab Government also sought the help the Rangers to clean up the province. Decision about the military court’s revival is yet to be made.

Many had criticised the Punjab Government for not bringing the Rangers earlier on many occasions. Police in the Punjab has been cooperating with the military-led forces for quite some time but invitation to the Rangers is something unique, bringing the Punjab at par with other troubled areas such as with Karachi and FATA where the military is already taking action against terrorists. Time and again, critics blamed the Punjab Government for its inefficiency, leniency or sympathy toward the outfits organisations. The military action had been long demanded.

Pakistan, which has made more sacrifices against terrorism since 9/11 and cooperated with a large number of countries, says that equating terrorism with any religion would not work out and terrorism should be dealt as such without bringing religion in it. Such remarks were made by Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif at a conference on security held in Germany recently. ‘’Terrorists are not Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, or Hindus,’’ he mentioned. The United States, Europe, and many other countries, however, differed with the Pakistani definition of terrorism.

President Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims from seven Islamic countries illustrates this phenomenon, that terrorism has an Islamic nexus and value. It is Western Islamphobia and it is not going away, putting Islam and the West on different point of views on their fight against terrorism. Without an agreed definition of terrorism, the global fight against terrorism suffers.

Terrorism was not purged altogether after the military operation Zarb-e-Azb taken in 2014. Terrorists narrowly escaped from the FATA and regrouped inside Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan, the areas that were not targeted by the Americans. The Afghan Government hosts a number of Pakistan-wanted terrorists and repeatedly denies access to Pakistani authorities and to extricate them including Mullah Fazlullah, elements of the Tehreek-e-Tablian Pakistan, its splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar and number of others. The Afghan Government has not taken any action against the Jamaatul Ahrar. Now IS in the shape of Daesh Khorasan has been deepening its footprint in Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan, and the region from China to Central Asia.

Afghanistan is a now a hub for terrorism against Pakistan. The inability of the American military presence to control the situation is now confirmed. The manipulation of the Indian authorities is undoubtedly clear. These inabilities and the Indo-Afghan nexus against Pakistan are quite active in border areas of Afghanistan with Pakistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan do not share any sort of joint anti-terrorism mechanism or strategy. They differed on all aspects of terrorism. Their unilateral actions promote terrorism. The Afghan Government thinks that Pakistan does not take action against terrorists who threaten Afghan security such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Pakistan thinks otherwise. There is no joint and transparent move against terrorism. In an unusual move, the Afghan embassy officials were summoned by the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on 17 February and were given a list of 76 terrorists living inside of Afghanistan.

The external dimension of terrorism cannot be mitigated against. There is no doubt that the hostile powers are often involved in terrorist activities inside Pakistan, mostly by Afghanistan and India, and to some extent, by Iran. During the 1980s, CIA trained many Jihadi groups to fight against the Soviets using Pakistan’s soil by converting it into a “Frontline State’’. The blame of terrorism must not be thrown on Pakistan alone. The blame must be shared by a number of countries that had used Pakistan for sake of their regional and global agendas. Over 80,000 Pakistani lost their lives just after 9/11 - not to speak of the beginning of the Afghan war. Today Pakistan, the United States, and Afghanistan demand the elimination of Jihadi culture but it is not so simply going to go away.