No solid development has taken place on this front either. State has failed to bring to justice known terrorists. Hundreds of arrested terrorists have gone scot-free from courts due to lack of evidence against them. Moreover, there have been perpetual delays in initiating trials against big guns like Sufi Muhammad, chief of banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhamamdi (TNSM), and former spokesperson for Swat Taliban Muslim Khan etc. Though many questions of fundamental human rights violation arise out of this issue, there is a need of having an effective counter-terrorism mechanism which should ensure the timely arrests and successful prosecution of arrested militants.
Unlike military which is primary guard against the militants in tribal border region, in urban centers, police and other law-enforcement agencies have to perform this daunting task for which they are least prepared. The police force, despite the ‘Elite’ emblem attached to its commando units, is a hopeless entity. The issues of capacity-building and political interference are major obstacles in dealing with issues of militancy and terrorism. Police and other law-enforcement agencies are poorly trained, ill-equipped and under-resourced to deal with terrorist threat in urban centers of the country.
The dynamics of militant violence in urban centers of the country has all the makings and hallmarks of metamorphosing into a major conflict. It has constantly shown signs of stability with indications of potential destabilizing factors which keep rearing their head every now and then. As long political players and stakeholders do not sort out their differences the law and order situation is least likely to improve.
Moreover, the tendency of one-size-fits-all policy has been counter-productive and it has engendered confusions. Obviously, the advantage of carrying out a full-fledged military operations, targeted surgical strikes or airstrikes are out of bound in thickly populated urban centers. Moreover, unlike military or paramilitary contingents deployed in the tribal regions; police have to look after the matters of security in the cities.
The writer is senior analyst at ICPVTR Singapore