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EDITORIAL: In two separate blasts yesterday in Pishin and Qila Saifullah, Balochistan, at least 28 people have lost their lives. Later, at least three people were killed in a grenade blast in Karachi. At least 12 of those killed in Balochistan were martyred in the blast outside the JUI(F) election office in Qila Saifullah.

Unrelenting terrorist attacks on the police and security forces continue in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the restive Balochistan province. In the wee hours of Monday, more than 30 terrorists equipped with sophisticated guns as well as grenades attacked a police station in KP district of D I Khan.

In the ensuing exchange of fire that went on for two and half hours, bravely fighting the intruders 10 policemen embraced martyrdom and six others sustained injuries. No group immediately took credit for the assault, but most likely the so-called — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) —is responsible for it.

According to a senior police officer, that terror outfit has formed a new wing to attack law enforcement agencies. As part of that plan, a few days ago militants targeted a police post in Taunsa area of D G Khan, which shares a border with KP’s D I Khan district. The obvious aim of these heartless terrorists in targeting the police is to inflict maximum loss of life and undermine the public sense of security.

Although there is enough evidence that the TTP leadership and most of its rank and file have safe haven in Afghanistan, in an apparent attempt to provide plausible deniability to their hosts — who vehemently deny their presence inside that country — TTP militants have also started operating under a new name, Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, which last December attacked a military checkpost in Daraban, a sub-district of D I Khan, causing over 20 casualties.

Whilst Pakistan maintains pressure on the Afghan Taliban to rein in its TTP friends, it also needs to sort out their sympathisers and facilitators inside this country. Many of them come from sectarian medrassahs as well as likeminded religious extremist groups that have proliferated all over the country.

It was precisely to deal with such elements that in the wake of the December 2014 horrific carnage at the Peshawar Army Public School, leaders of all mainstream political parties put their head together to figure a way to effectively confront the terrorist threat, coming up with a 10- point National Plan of Action (NAP) to crack down on all sources of trouble. Ten years on, it remains a mere talking point, mentioned by various leaders after each terrorist atrocity and then forgotten.

Updated three years ago by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) — also established under the original NAP — it ought to be fully implemented. Among other things, it calls for regulation and registration of religious seminaries; intolerance for militancy in all its manifestations; action against spread of terrorism through media communication and cyber networks; and effective measures against proscribed organisations, including choking of their finance, as well as religious/sectarian persecution.

For a considerable period of time, nonetheless, this counter-terrorism authority could not become wholly operational due to a turf battle between different stakeholders, weakening its ability to do its job. Whether or not that issue has been resolved is not known. But it can best deal with the terrorist threat as an independent entity, taking inputs from all relevant civilian and military intelligence agencies.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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