As Pakistan is already undergoing a wave of multiple crisis, the announcement of the end of ceasefire by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan—also known as TTP—and besides this its leadership’s order to its fighters to launch terror attacks across the country make the already fragile nation further vulnerable to being annhilated.
Moreover, the militants’ backtracking on the ceasefire and a signal to attack aren’t surprising as the terrorists have already been rampaging across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for quite some time now despite having declared a ceasfire. They rather used the ceasefire as a consolidation tactic. We should have anticipated this move. However, we failed.
Nevertheless, the recent peace overtures made by Pakistan to the militants were very unwise as Pakistan is not ignorant of the past experiences with the militants that by engaging in peace talks with them, the militants only gain advantage by the time given to them.
If the TTP’s leadership order to carry out attacks indiscrimantely across the country is materialized, this could mean a revisit to the horrible past when the country was set ablaze by the terrorists and much destruction befell the nation. The memories of those past years’ horrors are still fresh in people’s minds.
Burdened by political and economic crisis, the nation couldn’t have afforded such an alarming development at such an inopportune time when there is nothing in its coffers to grapple with it. However, as all the problems are coming in its direction, Pakistan can have no other option than to get used to them.
Sadly, the country’s security infrastructure is so weak that non-state actors find it very easy to penetrate it deeply and carry out their activities. Moreover, the numerous loopholes in our security infrastructure expose the security-pundits who boast about the country’s security apparatus as an advanced one and highly impenetrable.
In addition to this, experiencing a terrorist insurgency for more than a decade and not learning any lessons from it and failing to repair the country’s security paradigm is quite unprofessional of the security agencies in the country. It doesn’t absolve the policymakers from the blame either who fail to formulate such security policies that could strengthen the country’s overall security system.
Ironically, the country’s police find itself at loss before gangs. On many occasions the law enforcement agencies have laid arms before armed robbers. This is the state of affairs in this country. Lawless bands roam streets and terrorize the citizens under the very nose of the security agencies in the country’s commercial capital.
If this is the prevailing security situation in the country, it would be extremely hard if not impossible for the security agencies to deal with the looming danger. Moreover, unlike the unruly gangs that concentrate in Sindh and southern Punjab, the TTP is a highly organized group and has a well connected network in the country. Therefore, the trouble would be greater in containing the insurgents if they poured out from their hilly hideouts and swarmed the length and breadth of the country. Moreover, the other less known militant groups that are at present dormant will be emboldened by this move and become active.
While the fire is returning to roast the citizens of this country, the politicians are busy fighting one another rather than attending to the matter of immediate concern, while the military is interfering in politics rather than coming to blows with the militants. Moreover, If this situation is maintained further, the security threats will mount and the situation will worsen. This development needs the immediate attention of the policymakers and the security agencies. The delay would be favourable for the militants and catastrophic for Pakistan. Moreover, a weakened economy and an unstable political system, aided by a creaky security system could prove detrimental to Pakistan.
Conclusively, the politicians should set aside their differences and attend to the matter at hand without any further delay. Their dirty politics can have another day. Moreover, the military should also chip in to play its due role. This doesn’t exclude the masses from throwing in their efforts as well. A collective approach would send a very strong message to militants and discourage them from returning to the warpath. Besides this, there should be no misunderstanding that the terrorist onslaught will be restricted only to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but it will extend to the other provinces as well.
Osama Ahmad is an Islamabad based researcher. He tweets at @OsamaAhmad432.