THIS is with reference to the editorial ‘New terror wave’ (March 27), which was a chilling reminder of the ever-present threat of terrorism in Pakistan. The string of deadly attacks across the country, culminating in the horrific bombing that claimed Chinese lives in Bisham, paints a rather grim picture. In fact, this brazen assault, alongside the one targeting the Gwadar Port Authority Complex, leaves no confusion about the spectre of terrorism that continues to loom large over the country.

The rise of the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) adds a terrifying new dimension to this ongoing struggle. Its audacious attack in Moscow underscores the group’s expanding reach and the potential for a wider regional contagion. The potential involvement of certain foreign elements further complicates the issue, raising questions about the motives and support networks that are fuelling this resurgence of violence.

One cannot help but feel a sense of urgency in the face of this mounting threat. The time for measured responses has passed. We need decisive action, and we need it now. The leadership must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to dismantling these terrorist networks and uprooting the extremist ideologies that fuel them. This requires a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond mere security measures. We must address the root causes of radicalisation, foster interfaith dialogue, and create a society that rejects violence in all its forms.

However, our fight against terrorism cannot be waged in isolation. We need a concerted regional and global effort to combat this transnational menace. The world powers, particularly those nations who themselves have borne the brunt of terrorist attacks, must come together and offer unwavering support. Intelligence sharing, capacity building, and a united front against terror financing are all crucial steps in this collective struggle.

In the face of burgeoning terrorist activities, Pakistan finds itself in a precarious situation, battling a resurgent wave of terrorism on the one hand, while simultaneously grappling with a multitude of economic challenges, on the other. The unbridled resurgence of terrorism is particularly concerning, fuelled in part by the brazen attitude of the Afghan Taliban. Their emboldening of the TTP and their willingness to allow Afghan soil to serve as a safe haven for these terrorist groups pose a direct threat to Pakistan’s security.

Further complicating the situation is the looming economic meltdown. Intertwined economic challenges cannot be used as excuses for inaction on the security front. In fact, a stable and secure Pakistan is the bedrock upon which any hope of economic prosperity rests. Foreign investors are understandably wary of putting their money in a country plagued by terrorism. A multi-pronged approach is needed to navigate this complex situation that demands both decisive action on the security front and a laser focus on finding solutions to the pressing economic issues. Only then can Pakistan hope to emerge from the current crisis and build a brighter future for its citizens.

The audacity of the attacks targeting the Chinese nationals raises a troubling question. Were these acts of isolated extremism, or something more sinister? A closer look hints at fingerprints indicating proxy warfare and the involve- ment of hostile state actors. We cannot afford to be caught in the crossfire of some larger geopolitical activity.

Majid Burfat
Karachi

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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