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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Who is responsible for Swat’s deteriorating security situation

Thousands of people have rallied in Pakistan’s Swat Valley to protest against growing insecurity following the killing of a local school bus driver who was shot by an unknown assailant. Chanting slogans against the increasing number of killings in the area, protesters took to the streets on Tuesday afternoon in Nishat Chowk, demanding that the government do more to ensure the safety of residents there.

The Switzerland of Asia is once again being targeted by terrorist organizations like they used to be back in the pre-operation days. From becoming a hub of terrorists under TTP rule to a peaceful Swat with zero militancy, we have come a long way. But due government’s blind eye and its political priorities, Swat is again becoming a hub of turmoil and instability.

Recent terror incidents in Swat and surrounding areas have highlighted TTP’s minor activities in the region. We must also keep in mind that intelligence reports indicate a direct connection between TTP leadership in Afghanistan and these terror attacks in Pakistan. Although there is no sign of any organized terrorist group on the ground like in the early days the few recent terror activities have raised many questions about the priorities and competence of the KP government.

Read more: Nation in anger over school van attack in Swat

Issue of army check posts

Years back when the army had successfully pushed out all types of organized, non-organized terror groups and militants from ex-FATA and Swat. Pashtun sub-nationalist organizations and political parties like PTM and ANP raised issues that were more or less non-existent. They demanded the termination of army check posts in ex-FATA and different areas of KPK.

The only reason these army check posts existed was for security purposes alone and nothing more. Nonetheless, the aftermath of these unjustifiable and unreasonable demands is evident today. Now, these same Pashtun nationalist organizations are demanding security from the state. Is this not hypocrisy on their end?

Govt’s role in countering terrorism

The deteriorating security situation in KPK, especially in Swat is a clear indication that the KP government is incapable of handling the situation after the military operation. It seems as if the KP government has some other important political priorities rather than containing the security situation of the province. PTI officials like Murad Saeed blaming the state for the security of schools and other areas in the city is somewhat unreasonable. It is the responsibility of the civilian government to provide security and protection inside the province.

Read more: Flash floods wreak havoc in Swat, emergency declared

It should also be noted that the Chief Minister of KPK, Mehmood Khan has not once visited these areas which are affected by recent terror activities. To cope with the situation the KP government with the use of police and the Counter Terrorism Department should play a crucial role in sabotaging and arresting TTP militants who have infiltrated the Afghan side in one way or the other. On the other hand, the KPK government’s political priorities seem to be also above the flood situation in the province. Even during the peak time of flash floods, the KP government was busy facilitating PTI salsas and political campaigns rather than providing relief to flood affectees using their provincial machinery.

Is Military Operation needed again?

The current situation in Swat and KPK as a whole is not as bad as one may portray, it can easily be averted and coped with, if necessary. Security precautions must be taken timely with close coordination with the military. The other option to eradicate these terror outfits is to bring in the army like before.

Military operations can easily avert the security situation if needed. The army has always been successful in flushing out terror groups from troubled areas. In the past successful military operations have helped the state restore its writ in these troubled areas. Pakistan army successfully eradicated terror outfits from Swat during operation Rah-e-Haq in 2007 and the Rah-e-Rast operation in 2009.

 

 

 

The writer has a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad and often writes on geopolitics, international developments, and strategic affairs with a special focus on Af-Pak affairs, Asia, and the Middle East.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.