ISLAMABAD: The Army vowed on Tuesday to establish an enduring peace in the country by capitalising on the successes achieved so far in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

The resolve was expressed as the military top brass reviewed the progress of the ongoing security operations and the security environment at a meeting of the corps commanders.

“Forum pledged to carry forward the achieved successes to enduring peace and stability in the country,” the military’s public affairs division ISPR said in a statement issued after the meeting.

The review of the security situation is a regular feature at the corps commanders meeting since the Army is leading counterterrorism operations.

The review this time, however, coincided with the first anniversary of Operation Radd-ul-Fasad (RuF), which was launched at the end of February 2017 after a string of deadly terrorist attacks in all four provinces. The attacks had on that occasion raised questions about the sustainability of achievements made through North Waziristan-focused Operation Zarb-i-Azb and accompanying over 26,000 intelligence-based and combing operations (IBOs).

RuF had helped achieve over 16 per cent decline in terrorist attacks in the country during 2017 as compared to the previous year, according to figures compiled by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (Pips). Last year, 370 terrorist attacks were reported in which 815 people were killed and another 1,736 were injured.

Meanwhile, a Pips report says, security forces and law enforcement agencies last year killed 524 militants in military security operations as well as armed clashes and encounters.

The National Security Committee, the country’s top national security body, had at the end of last year conceded that despite the achievements made in counter-terrorism operations, progress on key elements of the National Action Plan (NAP) was lagging behind.

An intensification of security operations in Balochistan, which was one of the critical areas as far as counter-terrorism operations were concerned, has been witnessed since the turn of the year.

Alongside the kinetic operations Khushhal Balochistan programme was initiated, which aims at stabilisation of Balochistan through socio-economic development projects.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018