Pakistan: Where's the counter-terror strategy?
The News, November 24, 2009
The writer is a senator and senior political analyst.
An interesting dynamic seems to be developing in today's Pakistan. There is an inverse relationship between the success of Pakistan's counter-insurgency and the failure of the country's counter-terrorism. Clearly, since the beginning of the military offensive in April, the militants are on the run but, concurrently, they have run amok by striking Pakistan's urban population at a time and target of their own choosing.
The government is reduced to expressing impotent rage, with the usual condemnation, compensation and commissioning an inquiry whose findings have never seen the light of day. There is now little doubt that Pakistan has no effective or workable counter-terror strategy. If we had one, it probably lies buried, tucked away in the locked files of officialdom.
Pakistan today is witnessing the worst type of terrorism in its history. Never before have people borne the brunt of such a vicious cycle of violence directed at innocent civilians. Terrorism needs to be treated as the county's foremost national security problem, not just as a local police issue of law and order. It is the single biggest source of destabilisation of the state.
Three kinds of failures are evident. First, barring a couple of instances, there is a marked inability of Intelligence to anticipate possible acts of terrorism. Second, investigation of terror acts is generally carried out in a haphazard, non-professional and casual manner. Third, there is a visible absence of coordination within the government.
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