Recovering from the deadly Bajaur blast, angry lawmakers from the Jamiat Ulemai-Islam (JUI-F) expressed their frustration at the government’s inconsistent and ineffective policies towards rising terrorism in the country. Undeniably so, Balochistan and KP are bearing the brunt of inaction when it comes to tacking frequent terrorist attacks and have suffered an extremely concerning death toll. Keeping this in mind, their demand for a better terror policy which does not work to the detriment of the people, and Pakistan at large, is completely justified and worth the government’s attention.
In this last year, Pakistan has seen an uptick in extremism and violence. From the Police Lines mosque blast, to the one in Bajaur recently, there has been a steady increase of militant activity in the region. In the face of this, our approach has been rather inconsistent and efforts towards counter terrorist activities have been rather sporadic. Most of our engagements have been with the Afghan Taliban; our government has consistently tried to exert pressure onto the neighboring state to neutralise all safe havens from which terrorists operate. If not this, then at least facilitate some sort of agreement with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan which provides relief from the brutalities.
We were successful in reaching a ceasefire with the terrorist faction, but the deal broke down and ushered in a new approach of ‘no tolerance’. Our terror policy has consistently been tied to Afghanistan, and claims of a serious counter-terrorism plan but nothing substantial has been achieved as of yet. Meanwhile, people continue to lose their lives at the hands of attacks which now are seeming to be a routine occurrence.
One can empathise with the JUI-F lawmakers who are now exasperated at paying the cost of inaction with countless innocent lives as well as an atmosphere of extreme fear and danger. The tribal community have reiterated that it is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens and it can do so through a meaningful dialogue with the Taliban, an on-ground operation or through allowing them to protect themselves. But the fact of the matter remains, one distinct approach must be picked and executed. Otherwise, there are potentially hundreds of more people who will pay the price.