Keeping focus

Published January 18, 2024

WITH elections around the corner, there are understandable concerns regarding the safety of various candidates on the campaign trail as well as the general public participating in poll activities. Recent statistics on terrorism-related incidents and accounts from KP security officials paint a grim picture of the overall environment in the province. However, senior law-enforcement officials believe that the situation there is still ‘manageable’. Everything must be done to ensure things remain that way, if not improve considerably. There is no denying that the institutions responsible for internal security have their task cut out for them: it is their duty to ensure peace despite all challenges. There have been repeated attempts to argue that elections ought to be postponed further due to the adverse security situation. However, Pakistan’s law-enforcement and security agencies are adequately equipped to deal with all challenges, and will undoubtedly deliver if given the requisite resources and support from the government. Elections are a routine occurrence in any normal country. Seeking for them to be delayed because certain inimical forces could be planning to disrupt them seems more like a surrender than a responsible decision by a self-respecting state.

The enemies of Pakistan have repeatedly attempted to assert themselves during pivotal periods in its sociopolitical history. They must be shown once again that their evil designs do not dictate our lives. The 2008 elections had gone ahead under the shadow of far worse violence than what we are witnessing now. Over the years, much of the violence abated, thanks to the many sacrifices made by our brave soldiers, police forces and other security personnel. Consequently, the elections for 2013 and 2018 were held in progressively better conditions. There is no doubt that terrorism-related incidents are once again on the rise, but we have persevered in the past amidst such adversity and must resolve to power ahead once again. Of course, this will require all front-line security forces to remain extra vigilant and be more proactive in identifying and neutralising threats. But, given Pakistan’s extensive experience running counterterrorism operations and achieving a great degree of success in the war against terrorism, our security institutions are also much better equipped than they were in 2008. As long as they can keep their focus on domestic security, they are quite capable of turning the tables on any hostile elements.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2024

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