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Military Operation – A Solution to Terrorism?

Why is it so difficult for Pakistani leadership to understand that menace of terrorism cannot be cleaned up just by military operations? In Pakistan, there is a democratic government, elected by its people therefore the primary responsibility to provide security and protection to the lives and properties remains with the democratic government. Unfortunately, the civil governments find it comfortable to give away this responsibility to military leadership and that is why being a front line ally in war against terror, Pakistan is yet to have its National Counter Terror Policy. This shows the seriousness of so-called elected representative of public in Pakistan.

To end terrorism in Pakistan, the civil leadership will have to take lead and responsibility in finding a long term solution of terrorism. Military leadership can lead military operations against terrorists but this is not an ultimate solution to a much complicated problem. Charles V. Pena writes regarding a military action as:

“To be sure, military action is the appropriate response to the heinous terrorist acts committed ….. But a larger military would not have prevented that devastating tragedy. And it won’t prevent future terrorist actions.”

Military operation should be use as a part of comprehensive strategy to eliminate terrorists. To develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with terrorism in Pakistan, the political and military leadership needs to have a same definition of terrorism. The definition agreed by the political and military leadership should be used to develop  general public narrative against terrorism. The fundamental to win a war against terrorism is to have public opinion supporting that war.

Military operation can not be carried out in cities or populated areas. Therefore there is an urgent need to develop Counter Terrorism Force. To make police an effective and competent force, it is utmost important to depoliticize the police throughout Pakistan. To counter terrorist threats and networks, Pakistani intelligence cooperation needs enhancement on basis of urgency. NACTA – a joint body of Pakistani intelligence agencies – needs to function according to its mandate. Financial sources of terror groups need to be detected and cut off. Religious schools and madrasas need to be monitored. There is a common knowing that some religious schools and madrasas have been used to provide so-called holy warriors to terrorist groups and has also provided financial support. For a long term solution to counter terrorism, it is most important that such religious schools and madrasas should be identified and closed down.

To win war against terrorism, society needs to be deradicalized, hate speech and publications need to be identified and banned. Schools curriculum needs to be reassessed to take out the content which may be supporting radicalization in any form. Young students should be introduced and provided with internet facilities to connect them to modern world and that will help bring young population in mainstream.Other than that equal opportunities of education, health and employment should be provided in all parts of Pakistan especially FATA and other tribal areas.

Patronage of religious groups by political parties to gain electoral support needs to exposed and be discouraged.All mentioned above can only be achieved if an incumbent government set its priorities right. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif needs to prioritize the lives of people of Pakistan instead of building motorways and metro bus projects. Mr. Prime Minister should give out few billions for the neglected children of Thar who are dying due to hunger and disease. Mr. Prime Minister must understand that turning his eyes away from problem does not solve problem but the problem becomes even bigger.

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