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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pakistan finally hit by its own terrorist Frankenstein

For decades, Pakistan has been harboring and funding various terrorist groups, mainly with the nefarious agenda of causing harm to its ‘enemy nations’ including Bharat and Bangladesh. Finally, at least one of those Frankenstein – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has started terrorist acts inside Pakistan and has vowed to continue such attacks until Pakistan turns into another Sharia emirate as Afghanistan. Counterterrorism experts fear the return of a vicious and bloody cycle of radical Islamic militancy in the country as two terrorist assaults within weeks claimed more than 100 lives in a country which is at the risk of economic bankruptcy.

During recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan, a militant offshoot of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attack inside a highly guarded enclave in Peshawar city, capital of the north-western Khyber Pakthunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.

Last year, TTP ended a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani authorities. Experts said, Pakistan has been enjoying total influence on Taliban terrorists since the 1990s, while now the evil romance seems to have already ended. Recent terrorist attack in Karachi is evidence of the fact that Pakistan has now become an enemy of the TTP. The attack on police headquarters in Karachi certainly wasn’t an isolated incident. Rather it proves, terrorism-related security problems in Pakistan has now become a major issue, while it also proves how the Pakistani intelligence establishment has failed in either sensing or pretending such an attack. Many analysts have blamed the resurgence of militancy inside Pakistan on Islamabad’s alleged long-standing support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

Counterterrorism experts said: “What do you expect will happen when the state supports militant organizations in the region, and make religion a determinant of Pakistani political identity?”

They said, the result is that militants such as the TTP are now claiming their share in Pakistan’s politics, as did their comrades in Afghanistan.

Others said, Pakistan’s mammoth spending on the army was having little benefit as the military establishment has been mostly focusing on helping various terrorist entities against neighboring India and beyond. The Pakistan army has been making false claims of successes in combating terrorists, while in reality it has been the key patron of terrorism.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was formed in 2007 as an umbrella organization of various hardline Sunni Islamist groups operating individually in Pakistan.

Also known as the Pakistani Taliban, the group pledges allegiance to, and gets its name from, the Afghan Taliban, but is not directly a part of the group that now rules neighboring Afghanistan.

Its stated aim is to impose Islamic religious law in Pakistan, as the Taliban have done in Afghanistan.

TTP was headquartered in Pakistan’s erstwhile tribal areas, which were long a hotbed for militant groups, including al Qaeda, whose members fled Afghanistan after the US-led invasion in 2001.

Meanwhile, with the rise of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, the country is heading towards economic collapse and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif called the economic situation “unimaginable”. Latest figures suggest the central bank reserves in the country stand at US$US3.09 billion, the lowest in more than two decades. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s rupee has dropped 16.5 per cent in value against the US dollar in weeks. Islamabad is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund on a US$2.5 billion lifeline which would provide temporary relief, but also add to the already soaring volume of debt the country owes. 

While Pakistan is now being hit by its own Islamist Frankenstein, the United States has already distanced itself from its ‘war on terror’, which surely pushes Pakistan towards further complications. At the same time, the country’s political situation is extremely bleak, where several prominent leaders are sympathetic to TTP and other Islamist terrorist entities.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s domestic situation is becoming extremely difficult. People, especially women and children are starving to death in remote corners of the county, and in cities the rising fuel prices and terrorist attacks have forced investors to leave the country and shut down the little avenues for jobs and income. Things will turn worser in the coming months as the IMF loan may not actually help Pakistan from returning from the blackhole it already has fallen deep.In my opinion, Pakistan’s already wrecked economic backbone and devastating poverty alongside terrorist threats may lead to sudden emergence of a number of newer nations from within Pakistan.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Weekly Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib

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