ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistani army has carried out 9,000 intelligence based operations (IBOs) throughout the country since launching military Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in February 2017, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) reported.
The IBOs paved the way for army to carry out 46 major operations against terrorists across the country in collaboration with police and other security organisations, ISSI said in its August 18 report titled "Gains of Radd-ul-Fasaad".
The aim of the operation is to eliminate the residual threat of terrorism, consolidate the gains of the previous Operation Zarb-e-Azb and de-weaponise society, the ISSI report said.
The operation is unique because it marks the first time the government has allowed the army to deal with militants and sleeper cells in Punjab Province.
"The gains made under Operation [Radd-ul-Fasaad] since February have been tremendous," the report said.
The Frontier Constabulary in Balochistan foiled major terrorist activity and recovered 2,000kg of explosives from a vehicle through a special IBO in Spin Tezha, Qilla Abdullah.
Pakistan Rangers in Punjab along with the provincial Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), police and intelligence agencies carried out joint search operations in Mandi Bahudin and Nilore, resulting in the arrest of seven terrorist suspects and the seizure of arms, explosives and ammunition.
"One of the major strengths of this operation is that besides military, the local law enforcement agencies are now equally taking part in the process of hunting down the terrorists," the report said.
The decline in civilian casualties in terrorist attacks after the launch of the new military operation is an indicator of the operation's success in all parts of the country, it said.
"After launching the new operation, the Pakistani army and Frontier Constabulary tightened security on the border and launched action against sleeper cells of militants across the country," Peshawar-based senior security analyst Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah told Pakistan Forward.
The army and other security organisations conducted thousands of IBOs that led to the arrest of hundreds of militants and recovery of explosives and illegal weapons from members of banned militant outfits, he said.
"The counter terrorism departments of the police have been equipped with modern technology to trace the calls of militants that enabled CTD officials to arrest militants in intelligence based operations," he said.
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad has revived peace in the country and eliminated the might of the terrorists, Shah said.
This is evident from the massive public participation in Pakistan's 70th Independence Day celebrations on August 14 throughout the country, he said.
"Millions of people came out ... to celebrate Independence Day with traditional fervour, setting aside the fear of any terrorist attack," he said, adding that the army arranged a parade and an aerial show in Islamabad to show their strength.
Pakistan's Defence Day was also celebrated peacefully on September 6 with military parades in various cities, he said.
"Pakistan has crushed militancy, and the country is close to completely winning war against terrorism," Shah said.
"A few incidents of terrorism might take place as the terrorist groups sitting in Afghanistan are trying to sabotage peace in Pakistan and shed more blood, but they would not succeed in their nasty mission," he said.
"The Pakistani army and other security organisations should focus on carrying out specific IBOs," Islamabad-based security analyst Col. (ret.) Ali Raza told Pakistan Forward, adding that IBOs are "the only viable way to wipe out militancy from the society".
Combing operations are not as effective as IBOs and therefore security personnel should focus on carrying out targeted IBOs against militants, said Raza, CEO of a private security agency and a Ph.D. candidate in counter-terrorism at the National Defence University, Islamabad.
"In Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, the military should expand its actions against militant sleeper cells anywhere in the country," he said, adding that the operations' results have been "commendable" and have "led to improvement in the security situation in recent months".
How effective will the future fence along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border be in controlling the movement of militants?