Over the past several months the trajectory of militants’ attacks on security forces is constantly on the rise in the frontline provinces of common border with Afghanistan. The frequency of targeting army vehicles is alarmingly high in one southern tribal district of North Waziristan, although media reports incidents of militancy from South Waziristan as well. On Thursday, a convoy of security forces was blasted by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Razmak area of North Waziristan, martyring one army captain and five soldiers. On Wednesday, a Havadar of army was martyred and soldier injured in firing of terrorists from across Paki-Afghan border in the tribal district of Bajur.
In North Waziristan, the militants are frequently using IEDs to blow up the vehicles of security forces during the past few months. It is pertinent to mention that in June two soldiers embraced martyrdom when their patrolling vehicle was hit by an IED. Likewise, in September Pakistan Army soldier embraced martyrdom when an IED exploded near security forces check post. In the same month, three army soldiers were martyred and four others wounded when they were targeted by terrorists, while providing protection to road construction team in Ghariom sector on Road Shaga-Nishpa.
Similarly, terrorist attacks are gaining momentum in the restive Baluchistan province. Seven soldiers of FC and seven security guards were martyred in an encounter between security forces and a group of terrorists on the coastal highway near Omara, when a convoy of OGDCL was being escorted from Gawadar to Karachi.
Keeping in view the fencing along Pak-Afghan border and its strict management, the resurgence of militancy indicates that India has activated the sleepers’ cells of terrorists in addition to sponsoring cross border terrorism, to which the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi had made a categorical reference. A well-coordinated combing operation shall be needed to wipe out these cells.
The new wave of terrorism necessitates implementation of National Action Plan in letter and spirit. Notwithstanding their beautifully worded occasional statements in support of this plan, the political leadership has shown reluctance to give ownership to it, putting implementation of certain very important points on the backburner. No legislation has been done by the parliament to reform criminal justice system. The counterterrorism watchdog, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), under which joint intelligence directorate was conceived to be formed, has not been made fully functional. It is no longer a secret that NACTA is not getting a fair deal in budgetary allocations.
It is the responsibility of political leadership to have given serious consideration to the judicial commission report on Quetta Civil Hospital which had emphasised for refining the National Action Plan to make it well structured, in addition to formulation of comprehensive and robust national security policy. Neither the previous government moved an inch towards these national priorities, nor the present one due to lack of support of opposition in these matters because of its razor thin majority in the lower house of the parliament. It was utmost necessary to extend the tenure of military courts which could not be done as opposition was not interested in giving parliamentary support.
The Judiciary had drawn the attention of the legislature to reform the criminal justice system. The issue was strongly raised by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa at a national conference on “Expeditious Initiative: Roadmap to Time-bound Criminal Justice Regime” held at Federal Judicial Academy on April 14, 2019. He regretted that parliament and Law Ministry did not take up a single report out of 70 reports that Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan submitted for attending different parts of law, which needed amendments and substitutions of different provisions.
There are no indications about the unity of political leadership for making legislations to reform the criminal justice system and for inland security laws to eradicate the menace of terrorism by using the strong arms of law.