Achievements of Radd-ul-Fasaad

It was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which reshaped the future of the region by changing its dynamics. The west planned the largest covert operation to defeat the former Soviet Union. The invasion led to a mass uprising in Afghanistan which resulted in the killing of 1.5 million people as over 6 million fled to Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan allied itself with the US in the war on terror and provided a logistic base to support the NATO forces. After 9/11 Pakistan itself became the victim of terrorist attacks by militants who found refuge in erstwhile FATA.

The first major operation launched by Pakistan was Operation al-Mizan from 2002 to 2006. The terrorist attacks claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Pakistanis as well as of security personnel. In June 2014, Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in the former North Waziristan Agency to clear it from terrorists. Azb refers to one of the seven swords of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that was carried along during the battle of Uhad and Badar. Terrorists groups in that region were seen a major cause of terrorist attacks across Pakistan. 4000 square kilometers of land in the agency was cleared and over 19,000 Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) were carried out. Ultimately, the operation was a success and was praised by the international community.

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was launched on February 22, 2017, to consolidate the gains of other operations. Another reason for its launch was the resurgence of fresh terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The aim was to indiscriminately eliminate ‘residual threats’ that remained from other operations so that the security of Pakistan’s borders could be achieved. Radd-ul-Fasaad—meaning elimination of strife or rejection of violence—was undertaken after one and a half year of the conclusion of Zarb-e-Azb. It was the continuation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and it completed 4 years on February 22, 2021. According to DGISPR, more than 375,000 IBOs were conducted in the last four years. 34,000 operations were conducted in Punjab, 150,000 in Sindh, over 80,000 in Balochistan and more than 72,000 in KP. 78 terrorist organisations were targeted and their assets were frozen.

In May 2018, through a landmark legislation, FATA was merged with KP. Radd-ul-Fasaad brought peace in the country and broke the spine of terrorism. The rapid decline in terrorist attacks is an indicator of the operation’s success. Development projects worth billions of rupees have been executed through the Pakistan army. It also monitors schools and hospitals to improve education and health facilities. Furthermore, the army is also involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of tribal districts and has also established technical institutions. The army started fencing western border in May 2018 to stop terrorists from crossing into Pakistan. This is a project worth 532 million dollars–including the construction of out posts and employment of a high technical surveillance system. 83 percent of western border has been fenced and the remaining will be completed by the end of the year.

Pakistan, once considered the breeding ground for terrorism, has been declared the only country in the world who combated terrorism successfully. According to the UN Secretary General, “Pakistan’s successful journey from fighting terrorism is remarkable, and it is welcoming that the state has re-established its writ over the regions affected by terrorism”. According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) there is 90 present decrease in deaths related to terrorist incidents. Pakistan has now become a safe country and tourists are pouring in from across the globe. In case of Gilgit-Baltistan, in the past four to five years, there has been an unprecedented boom in tourism. In 2016, domestic tourists increased from 50,000 to 5 lac. In 2017, the figure was one million and in 2019 the figure was 2 million. The Global Peace Index declared Gilgit-Baltistan as one of the most peaceful regions.

Given that Pakistan is home to five of the fourteen highest peaks in the world, dozens of climbers from countries including Nepal, USA, Iceland and Spain came in the hopes of summiting. In fact, Nepali climbers set a new world record by becoming the first to reach the summit of K2 in the winters. This was all possible because of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which helped improve the law and order situation. Even international cricket has returned to Pakistan since the unfortunate attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.

The world has commended the improved security situation in Pakistan and its affects for regional peace and stability. COAS Gen. Bajwa, while meeting with elders in North Waziristan, recently said that we have to remain vigilant and steadfast to thwart hostile attempts to create chaos and reverse the gains of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. Pakistan has paid a huge price in the global war on terrorism as more than 70,000 Pakistanis and lost their lives. Salute to the armed forces of Pakistan and other law enforcing agencies for their sacrifices for achieving peace in the country.

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist. He tweets @MasudAKhan6.