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Talat SHABBIR: Counter Extremism and Terrorism: Pakistan’s Achievements and Lessons Learnt
September 12,2019   By:
Counter Extremism and Terrorism: Pakistan’s Achievements and Lessons Learnt
Abstract: During past 18 years, Pakistan ?– state and society – waged a relentless and bloody fight against terrorism and violent extremism, at a huge human and material cost. The current wave terrorism and violent extremism began around early 90s and maintained an impetus after 9/11and during the war on terror. Pakistan faced precarious situation during all these years and had to deal with various terrorist outfits and factions who would target government and military personnel and installations. Pakistan had to pay the price of huge losses of men and material. It took nearly a decade for Pakistan to formulate forward looking comprehensive plan against terrorism which was to address issues that at first place were the causes of extremism leading to terrorist acts. Pakistan focused on counter-terrorism through use of appropriate force and employment of legal framework with the objective of deal with extremist mind set and ultimately to defeat terrorism. Through numerous military operations conducted from 2009 to 2016, Pakistan cleared its North-Western region bordering Afghanistan of terrorist safe heavens and an unmatched success was achieved. Pakistan has transitioned from major operations against terrorism to more intricate, targeted operations against residual threat, under the ambit of Operation Rad-ul-Fassad. Focus now is on finding ways to ensure that the causes behind terrorism are addressed and National Action Plan which was formulated in the aftermath of Army Public School incident was actualized. The most important lesson that Pakistan learnt was that while army would fight terrorists, the menace of terrorism and extremism is fought by law enforcing agencies and society as a whole. Emphasis has also been on strengthening coordination and collaboration between civil institutions and the military which was of a vital importance if a success is desired to be achieved. It is also a continuing societal challenge where Pakistan has taken on board various segments of the society to build a counter-narrative against extremism and terrorism and suitably fine tune it with the passage of time. This paper, therefore, aims to analyse Pakistan’s efforts in formulating comprehensive counter extremism and terrorism strategies, identifying major achievements made under various political regimes and highlighting important learnt. 
Keywords: Extremism; Counter Terrorism; National Action Plan
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