Home Global Village Can Pakistan avoid another APS Peshawar massacre?

Can Pakistan avoid another APS Peshawar massacre?

Peshawar
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Syed Ali Hadi |

It has been three years since the heinous terrorists attack on APS Peshawar. Much has been done in terms of engaging and countering the terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil. Yet, much has to be done in terms of containing extremist ideologies, which are the root-cause of terrorism. The state of Pakistan remained largely divided over dealing with the menace of terrorism since the initiation of the war on terror.

The executive branch primarily relies on dealings through peace process and negotiations. On the other hand, the military establishment is pushing for more punitive action by the use of force against the terror attacks. It was the APS Peshawar massacre of our little angels that convinced the society and elites of the state to use force against terrorist outfits and their operational plans.

The inter-organizational harmony is the biggest hurdle in the complete implementation of the National Action Plan. Let us pledge with ourselves and to those little angels of APS Peshawar who are not with us that if not for us then it is for them that the resilient nation of 200 million people.

For said ambition, the government of Pakistan crafted a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP), a collective framework to counter terrorist activities inside its borders along with containing and engaging with extremist ideologies. By analyzing in retrospect, the critical infrastructure of terrorists and their hideouts have been destroyed to a greater extent thereby crumbling their back-bone in terms of supply lines and foreign funding from hostile non-state actors.

However, terrorists still strike once in a blue moon which does not necessarily mean that the state has altogether failed in countering said threat. There is no such thing as absolute security. Much of the recent terror activities are planned and executed from across the border and it requires broader political collaboration between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Read more: Death Penalties for more terrorists in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism

The presence of U.S forces on the soil of Afghanistan and the increasingly new threat perception of Trump’s administration by giving India a more pro-active role in Afghan politics will compound the crisis and adds into its complexities. The role of National Counter Terrorism Agency (NACTA) was and still is highly criticized for being a mere bureaucratic organization and not aggressively dealing with the extremist ideology.. Yet, its role as of today is not so evident. Recently, professional hiring was also done in order to activate NACTA and its operationalization but it was in vain.

The educational system of Pakistan needs to be reformed for creating coherence in the society followed by the creating of jobs both for the professionals of the respective fields as well as vocational training institutes for those who do not have sound educational background.

However, the role of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has been quite successful in countering as well as decapitating the sleeper cells inside the state, particularly the Punjab province. The National Security Advisor (NSA), a former general from the Army, has vast experience of leading and planning counterinsurgency operations against militants in Baluchistan, which speaks volumes about his professional wisdom as he brought peace to the province.

Read more: Pakistan: Defying the Adversary’s Hybrid Warfare

Having said all of the above, the state is acutely lagging behind in countering the extremist ideologies rather than just focusing on the operation or tactical side of National Action Plan. The recent growing threat of ISIS and the influence of their ideologies where students from renowned universities are mesmerized by them, is a worry-some aspect. The educational system of Pakistan needs to be reformed for creating coherence in the society followed by the creating of jobs both for the professionals of the respective fields as well as vocational training institutes for those who do not have sound educational background.

All this must be directed so that the youth of Pakistan must remain engaged in healthy activities rather than influenced by the extremist ideologies. Moving further, an environment of tolerance must be created in between the different factions of society. Our worst dilemma is that we have divided our education system; for the secular studies we have universities and for religious knowledge we have a huge diaspora of madrassas.

Read more: Massacre at Army Public School: Questions that continue to haunt?

The executive branch primarily relies on dealings through peace process and negotiations. On the other hand, the military establishment is pushing for more punitive action by the use of force against the terror attacks.

Both these factions of our society must be intertwined with each other in a way so students learn a comprehensive holistic approach towards the sustainability and survivability of society and the state. For the reason that individuals build societies and in turn societies build states. On the national level, civilian as well as bureaucratic organizations must go away with the black sheep amongst them in order to be efficient in terms of executing their relevant tasks.

The inter-organizational harmony is the biggest hurdle in the complete implementation of the National Action Plan. Let us pledge with ourselves and to those little angels of APS Peshawar who are not with us that if not for us then it is for them that the resilient nation of 200 million people will break the shackles of orthodoxy as well as the blind following of secularist heterodoxy to become a pragmatic, educationally sound and socio-politically viable society and a catalytic instrument for the world at large to achieve peace.                

The author is a research scholar at National Defense University. He is done with his Master’s degree program in Strategic Studies. Formerly, he has done his summer internship program in Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media branch of Pakistan Army. He is an avid reader of international politics. His prime interest lies in the Cyber Warfare. For multilateral frameworks, he focuses on international organization of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In addition, the author has a keen eye for the Asia-Pacific politics. Besides this, the writer is interested in the movie industry of Pakistan.


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