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Muhammad AMIR: Pakistan's Achievements in War on Terror: A Special Review of the Current Decade
September 12,2019   By:
Pakistan’s Achievements in War on Terror: A Special Review of the Current Decade  
Muhammad AMIR
Abstract: Pakistan’s internal security situation had started to deteriorate after 2001-02 but insecurity, violence and militancy became pressing challenges for the government particularly after 2005-06 when Islamist militants and Baloch nationalist insurgents intensified their attacks against the state, its institutions and people in northwest Pakistan and Balochistan, respectively. The Islamists later extended their terrorist activities to other parts of Pakistan. 
Pakistan’s counterterrorism campaign, since early 2000s, has been largely kinetic, or muscular, and less soft, or political. Which is why much of the debate on countering extremism in Pakistan also revolves around countering terrorism or terrorists, leaving unaddressed the persistent factors of violent and non-violent extremism in society, which mainly require soft approaches to deal with. Although the state’s kinetic counterterrorism actions have achieved a lot in terms of peace and security, but their long-term effect or sustainability yet remains to be tested. That strategy should not only focus on hard approaches, or fighting against the violent extremists, but also on developing intellectual, ideological responses to annul extremists’ religious-ideological dogmas and evolving a comprehensive rehabilitation or reintegration of (repentant and ready-to-quit-violence) militants. 
The use of force has been the major state response to counter militancy and terrorism. That resonated with the security imperative amidst growing terrorist violence mainly after 2006-07. With the exception of some small anti-militant actions in parts of erstwhile FATA in early 2000s, major military operations were launched after 2007 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal districts. Small-scale search and hunt operations in Balochistan however have continued since 2005 sporadically. These operations in Balochistan were mainly intelligence-based or were launched following some terrorist attack in one area or another. The FC takes lead role and police and Levies assist it. Pakistan Army is also involved in some operations, where needed.The Rangers-led operation in Karachi has been continuing since 2013. Meanwhile in Punjab the police and its counter terrorism department (CTD), an in some areas Rangers, have been launching sporadic anti-militant actions.
In counterterrorism discourse, the use of political or soft approaches is referred to as an effective tool of reducing the appeal of militants’ ideologies as well as bringing the militants back to the mainstream by convincing them to quit violence. It has two major functional components. One is linked to reconciling with the militants for some political settlement through dialogue or talks. The outcome of such an option is seen as militants joining the political mainstream and quitting their violent agenda and methodology of achieving their goals.  Second main component of such approaches is described by different concepts and methodologies including disengagement, deradicalization, reintegration, and rehabilitation, etc. Pakistan’s few soft or political responses to countering terrorism and extremism – including some linked to two components cited earlier as well as legal, administrative and related measures meant to either improve security or counter extremism – can be divided into two major phases: pre- and post-APS attack in December 2014. 
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