Lack of political consensus among various stakeholders is a major stumbling block in efforts to evolve an effective urban counter-terrorism policy. Two kinds of opinions exist among the political parties. One, the religious-political parties believe that the Pakistani security forces are fighting American war in FATA. Despite losing around 30,000 civilians and 5,000 security personnel in home grown militancy they believe terrorism is not Pakistan’s indigenous issue. According to them terrorism in Pakistan is a by-product of US invasion of Afghanistan. The US-led drone strikes in the tribal areas and Pakistan army’s decision to deploy troops in the semi-autonomous tribal regions, first time ever in country’s history, on American behest has generated furious reactions in these areas. They uphold the current wave of terrorism will subside as soon as Pakistan distances itself from the US.
Second, the centrist parties like Imran Khan-led Pakistan TehrikeInsaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), major opposition party in the center and ruling party in the Punjab province, believe the issue of militancy and terrorism has its roots in FATA and terrorist incidents happening on mainland are a spillover effect of the same conflict.
In an environment of such divided political opinions on grave internal security challenges also hinder the evolution of a national counter-terrorism policy looks very unlikely. A bipartisan approach is a must for realization of such a policy which hardly exists in Pakistan.
The writer is a Senior Analyst at International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism (ICPVTR) ,Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore.
To be continued……..