By Tahira Irfa
“115 killed in a suicide attack inside mosque.. Thousands wounded due to a blast in hospital… Numerous lost their lives in suicide attack at school.” These are the news flashing frequently in our news feed from past a decade. In fact terrorists’ acts like suicide bombing have come norm of the day. Terrorism surely has no religion and boundary as it is not only the problem of Pakistan but a global phenomenon which has cost lives of millions till date, around the globe. Terrorism which is the use of violence in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim is an international phenomenon. The command and control of terrorist groups, the recruitment, training, active operations and the target audience can all be located in different countries and so counter-terrorist measures will not be effective unless all nations cooperate in agreeing to the characteristics of terrorist groups and their activities. According to data from the Global Terrorism Database, the largest ever year-on-year increase in deaths from terrorism was recorded in 2014, rising from 18,111 in 2013 to 32,685 in 2014. The number of people who have died from terrorist activity has increased nine-fold since the year 2000. More than 61,000 incidents of non-state terrorism claiming over 140,000 lives have been recorded from 2000 to 2014. Terrorism not only costs lives but economy, development, peace, sovereignty, foreign investment and much more. A handful of people who have their vicious interests to fulfill have not only taken countless innocent lives but also distorted the real image of Islam before the world through their heinous acts.
Though it is a global issue but Pakistan has to bear the burnt of it the most. At present, the gravest problem of Pakistan is terrorism which has become a headache for federation and a nightmare for public. We are facing war like situation against terrorists mostly due to internal insurgencies, external hands and international conspiracies. People have become numerical figures, blown up in numbers every now and then. Terrorists have not spared any place like bazars, mosques, educational institutes, offices, hotels, no place is safe anymore. Since September 11, 2001, 21.672 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives and Pakistan army has lost 2795 soldiers. The damage of Pakistan economy is estimated at $68 billion over last ten years. For Pakistan the consequences of being the epicenters of the war on terror have been disastrous physically, psychologically and economically.
However, Pakistan is playing its key role in the war on terror and using all its means to combat menace of terrorism. Fortunately our politicians, general masses and security forces are now showing a strong sense of unity to fight terrorism. Along with Federal initiatives, province especially Punjab province seems vigilant to nip this evil in the bud. After the practical implementation of National Internal Security Policy at Federal level, Punjab government had derived a comprehensive policy to save people from internal as well as external dangers. It has sufficed the powers of law enforcing agencies to bring National Action Plan into letter and spirit. Punjab Government in context with the National Action Plan (NAP) has established Counter Terrorism department which is the first ever force of its kind in Pakistan’s history. It has fifteen hundred corporals who meet all the necessary criteria being set and are selected under strict merit. This force was surely the need of hour to help country survive in this war. The force efficiently deals with intelligence agencies to get sensitive information and perform special operation and investigation. It would be unfair not to appreciate Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif’s stalwart passion that turned this plan of anti-terrorism force into reality and made their first passing out possible in a very short amount of time. Formally Crime Investigation Department after its restructure now is working as Counter Terrorism Department. This department is working against all shapes of terrorism including extremism and sectarianism. The hired corporals are trained with the special assistance of Turk National Police who sent its 45 officers to provide standard training and capacity building of these corporals. They trained them for intelligence operations and investigations. This well trained force is now performing various functions including collection, collation and dissemination of sensitive information; dealing with Sectarian activists, Militants, Terrorists & Deeni Madaris, Afghan Trained Boys (ATBs), Returned Afghan Prisoners (RAPs)/Activists on 4th Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), Sectarian & Terrorism suspects and Future trends on Terrorism.
Nevertheless, Pakistan especially Punjab is a peace loving place whose efforts to fight menace of terrorism and sacrifices rendered thereof are testimony to the commitment and resolve to bring peace in region need recognition. As mistrust can lead to diversion of efforts which will not be beneficial to common objective so criticism for the sake of criticism must be avoided. We have sacrificed the most in the ongoing war on terror. So the need of hour is that all citizens of Pakistan must propagate moderate vibrant culture of Pakistan to promote good will of world community and shun misconstrued belief. Anti-state elements must be singled out and brought to lime light to defeat evil agendas of enemies. And most important we need to stand with the government agencies, appreciate their rightful acts and play our needful part to bring that peace and glory back to our land.