The brutal massacre of 132 students and 9 teachers of the army school in Peshawar on 16th December by Pakistan Taliban has shocked the world and will be treated as the blackest day in the history of Pakistan. It is hoped that this painful and agonizing tragic event has opened the eyes of the policy makers in Pakistan and awakened the conscience of the civil society in that country. They ought to realize that terrorism is an unmitigated evil and should not be used as a policy instrument to harass the adversaries in settling disputes. Terrorism always recoils violently against those who sponsor and support it. . The government and the army of Pakistan should abandon their policy of distinguishing between good and bad terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists. They are criminals of the worst order, should be treated as criminals and shown no mercy.
This shocking event also exposes the weakness in the intelligence system of the Pakistan army and total lack of coordination between the intelligence services of the army and the police force. Because of this weak and inefficient intelligence service they could not foresee and visualize the impending tragedy.. In view of this it is crucially important that the intelligence services of the army and police are thoroughly revamped, modernized and adequately coordinated. It is important to strengthen the intelligence services to counter the belligerence of the terrorists and frustrate their attempt to paralyze Pakistan.
Consequent upon this tragedy two significant developments are emerging . Firstly the political parties in Pakistan, setting aside their differences have united to work out an aggressive and effective strategy to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan and implement them forcefully in all its provinces.
The second significant development is that relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have markedly improved since Mr.Ashraf Ghani took over as President of Afghanistan. This tragic slaughter of innocent students has further cemented the bond between the two countries. It has now dawned upon them, particularly on Pakistan, that Taliban are common enemy and have to be tackled firmly to eliminate this menace from both the countries. They have agreed to share intelligence and coordinate their action against Taliban.. The Taliban in Afghanistan use the tribal areas in Pakistan both as a sanctuary and a preparing ground to attack Afghanistan. The Pakistan Taliban after creating havoc in Pakistan escape to Afghanistan. The respective sanctuaries for Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban will be closed if the countries genuinely cooperate, share intelligence and coordinate their move against Taliban. The Taliban can be squeezed and shall have no place to escape if their sanctuaries are sealed by Pakistan in the east and by Afghanistan in the west. This aggressive and coordinated action supported by American air strikes will make life difficult for Taliban and will be the surest way to get rid of this menace Besides the Taliban it is essential to destroy the other terror groups as well such as the deadly Haqqani group This will go a long way to ensure peace, progress and prosperity in both the countries.
The military has intensified its action against the militants under it’s Zarb Azb programme but that is not enough because it will have limited impact being restricted to a specific area. There is a need to organize anti-Taliban and anti- radicalization movement at the national level across Pakistan. Radicalization has spread all over Pakistan. The brutal murder of innocent students and teachers at the Peshawar Army school has traumatized the nation and created an intense feeling against radical Islam. Anti radicalization and anti-Taliban movements are gaining momentum This is evident from the demonstration organized against the Imam of the Lal Mosque in Islamabad, which is the breeding ground of radicalized students. The spontaneous and enthusiastic response to the rallies against Taliban and radical Islam organised by Pakistani Awami Tahreek (PAT) reflects the repulsion of the people of Pakistan towards radicalization. The tempo should be further intensified. The civil society should be galvanized to act firmly against the radicals and the militants. In order to achieve this, the leading political parties in Pakistan should unite, setting aside their ideological and policy differences to fight against militancy and root it out from the body politics of Pakistan. Survival of radicalism and militancy in Pakistan will spell the doom of all the political parties and may even imperil the state of Pakistan.
The government of Pakistan should use all the instruments at its disposal to decay and destroy radicalism and militancy from Pakistan in order to ensure peace and security in Pakistan and to its people. It should also stress that Islam is a religion of peace, compassion and justice. It will be a disgrace to associate it with violence and brutality. In conclusion it must be emphasized that any lack of firmness and decisive action against radicalism and If militancy at this critical moment in the history of Pakistan will result in cataclysmic disaster not only for Pakistan but for the entire Muslim world.
Prof. Manzoor. Alam, former Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir, India