Pakistan supporting global war on terrorism

By Javed Mahmood


Chief of General Staff of UK General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter and Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif paying tribute to martyred soldiers at ''Yadgar-e-Shuhada'' at Generals Headquarters in Rawalpindi October 19, 2016. Thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives in the war on terror in Pakistan. The CGS of UK also visited North Waziristan to look at the success of military operation against militants. [Courtesy of ISPR ]

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is in a unique position to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and is doing so by maintaining peace and security in the region and by eliminating militancy at home, security analysts say.

Pakistan's geostrategic location makes it "a major player in regional and as well as global politics", a recent Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) report said. "Its geographical proximity to the resource rich region in the Middle East and Central Asia makes it an important country for facilitating trade and transit all around the world."

"Pakistan is also actively contributing to global peace and stability," according to the September 29 ISSI report titled "Enhancing Pakistan's Global Profile and Influence: Policies and Policy Options".

"Since 1960, Pakistan has contributed more than 160,000 troops to 42 peacekeeping missions of the United Nations (UN) and remained as one of largest troops contributor for many years," the report said. "At present, more than 7,500 troops are deployed in six mandated UN missions."

Despite its long history of supporting peace building efforts around the world, Pakistan still struggles with its image abroad, negatively impacting its ability to capture international investment, attract tourists and create jobs for Pakistanis, the report said.

Pakistan must develop a "sustained and well-integrated strategy" that highlights its role in supporting the GWOT as well as its security and counter-terrorism successes to enhance its image and national interests, the report said.

Pakistan 'frontline partner' in War on Terror

Pakistan's military and other security agencies are doing their part to support the GWOT and eliminate terrorism at home, security analysts say.

"Pakistan became a frontline partner in the War on Terror after 2011 and continued its full support to coalition forces against the Taliban regime to discourage terrorism," security analyst Col. (ret.) Mukhtar Ahmed Butt told Pakistan Forward.

Pakistan has provided fly-over rights, naval support and air bases to the coalition forces to support the international war against terrorism and militancy, he said.

Moreover, the Pakistan Army has achieved significant success in retaking areas of South and North Waziristan from militants and established rule of law there, he said.

Pakistan has done its best to co-operate with Afghanistan and coalition forces, blocked routes used by terrorist groups to spread militancy, and ended militants' ability to carry out major terrorist attacks, he said.

In the wake of the Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, which killed over 140 children and others, the Pakistan Army launched a full-fledged attack on terrorist sanctuaries and strongholds in North Waziristan.

"The War on Terror in Pakistan has taken a heavy toll of brave soldiers and over 50,000 civilians, but now North Waziristan stands cleared from terrorists and is in full control of our security forces, and that has been appreciated all over the world," Butt said.

"The Pakistani armed forces' new strategy is in place and we have slightly reshaped our foreign policy and have involved more regional stakeholders in eliminating menace of terrorism from Pakistan," he said.

"The whole nation and the international community have appreciated Pakistan's role in containing militancy," he added.

Eliminating terrorist strongholds

"Pakistan Army, Air Force, Navy, Rangers and Police have made concerted efforts in War on Terror as a result of which the graph of terrorism in the country has dropped to [its lowest levels] in 2016," said Abdullah Khan, security analyst and managing director of the Islamabad-based think-tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS).

"The involvement of comprehensive national security apparatus against militancy has caused a serious setback to militancy and terrorism and improved the security situation in the country," he told Pakistan Forward.

"The army and other security organisations have done their jobs by eliminating the no-go areas and strongholds of the Taliban and other militant groups, and now the government must evolve a framework to sustain peace in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab and other areas of Pakistan by putting in place a strong political set-up," he said.

The process of reforms in FATA must be paced up and any confusion in this process be cleared to pave the way for the rehabilitation of people and revival of economic activities there, he said.

Crackdown on crime, targeted killings

Karachi faced two types of terrorism for years -- some major attacks by militants and assassinations by organised killers, said Ali Nasir, a security analyst and television anchor based in Karachi.

However, the intelligence based operations launched from September 2013 have almost completely eliminated militancy and minimised the culture of targeted killing in the city, he said.

"The security situation in Karachi, which remained a key target of the militants and killers before the start of the operation, is quite good now and people are going anywhere without any fear of terrorism," Nasir told Pakistan Forward.

To completely eliminate the culture of bloodshed, the government should implement the National Action Plan in its true spirit and end the culture that protects influential people and makes the masses vulnerable, he said.

"The government and the security organisations should further improve intelligence, co-ordination and promote a community policing culture in the country to make peace sustainable for the long term," he said.

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