Our new security narrative

 Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The government announced a ban on Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and the Haqqani Network on January 22 and also froze bank accounts of the former, besides placing restrictions on foreign travel by Hafiz Saeed, chief of JuD. The move, contrary to the scepticism being expressed by certain circles, came in the backdrop of the objectives of the National Action Plan and the new narrative of zero tolerance for terrorist and militant outfits evolved by the civilian and military leadership in consultation with the entire political leadership of the country. 

The plan has multifarious objectives. First of all, it is designed to reinforce and reiterate the nation’s unswerving commitment to the aims of the new narrative and the National Action Plan and to repudiate the claims of those elements that have relentlessly doubted the commitment and sincerity of the government in dealing with certain militant organisations and even blamed it for being lenient and tolerant towards them. 

Second, it is a well-considered step to rebuild Pakistan’s image and credibility among the comity of nations with regard to its unflinching resolve to deal with all the terrorists outfits and non-state actors without any distinction. It would be pertinent to mention that India has persistently used this factor to malign Pakistan on the international level and project it as a backer of militant and terrorists groups.

The timing of the announcement of the ban, however, was very significant from the perspective of Obama’s visit to India. It deprived India of the opportunity to raise this bogey and revile Pakistan. It also sent a strong message to the US president that the paradigm shift in Pakistan’s policy towards terrorist and militant groups was for real and it was taking these measures in its own national interest and to prove its credentials as a sincere partner and player on the global level to fight terrorism. The government deserves credit for taking this imaginative, well-calculated and well-timed step to refurbish the image of the country. 

Apart from the foregoing considerations, the decision also reflects Pakistan’s willingness and commitment to its obligations towards the UN. The UN had designated JuD as a banned entity and on December 17 the UN Security Council had issued fresh notices to Interpol and other agencies redesignating JuD as a banned organisation sanctioned in the Al-Qaeda/Taliban list under Resolution 1267. Reportedly a two-member team from the ‘Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Committee’ of the UN will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan shortly to verify whether the government was fulfilling its UN obligations on freezing the assets of the designated entities and ensuring a travel ban on their leaders.

The war against terrorism is, by all means, our war and it is heartening to note that this reality has finally been accepted nation-wide including those previously sympathetic to the cause of the TTP; though it did take a horrendous tragedy at APS Peshawar to bring about this transformation. Now that the entire nation, and the government and military establishment are unanimous in their resolve and commitment to eliminate terrorism and the international community has been watching us expectantly, it was incumbent upon all the stakeholders in the future of the country to give their unqualified support to the government and the army in fighting terrorism and helping them evolve strategies and concrete steps that would be required to implement the 20-point National Action Plan.

The world is not only watching us but is also ready to help in our fight against terrorism. The paradigm shift in our policy has already started showing positive results. Our relations with the US have improved and there is a growing acceptance of Pakistan’s new narrative in the policymaking echelons of the US government, particularly our military campaign against terrorists. The action against the Haqqani Network, whose infrastructure in North Waziristan has been dismantled without any distinction, helped a lot in rebuilding Pakistan’s credibility and sincerity in the war against terrorism. 

The new narrative has also endeared us to the new Afghan leadership. Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US are working together to prevent cross-border attacks. Pakistani terrorists based in Afghanistan have been targeted by Nato and Afghan forces and the military authorities of the three countries are constantly engaged in a consultative process on matters related to security. 

The US has sanctioned $1 billion which will be disbursed as CSF to Pakistan during 2015, even though the US has ended its combat mission in Afghanistan. The secretary defence deposing before the Senate Standing Committee on Defence revealed that the US had assured Pakistan of killing top TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah or arresting him alive. In the recent past some TTP leaders captured in Afghanistan were also handed over to Pakistan. 

This atmosphere of trust and cooperation at the trilateral level is surely an outcome of the visionary and pragmatic approach adopted by the government and the military establishment and takes care of the hostile elements based in Afghanistan. This is a very significant development as far as our chances of success against terrorism and extremism are concerned. The nation has entered a decisive phase of the war on terrorism and cannot afford to fail as repeatedly and rightly stated by the prime minister and the COAS. 

The war against terrorism has to be fought with unruffled determination and for that to happen it was imperative for the government to address the concerns of the religious elements with regard to the proposed steps for registering and monitoring madressahs and enlisting their cooperation in firming up the measures to achieve those objectives. Similarly the involvement of the political parties and other interest groups might also be advisable in drawing up specific strategies in pursuance of the points of the National Action Plan.


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