Both civilian and military agencies agree that despite a significant decline in terrorist attacks the threat of terrorism still looms large. As Gen Raheel Sharif told the Corps Commanders meeting on Thursday, this is a complicated war which can be won with unity and steadfastness. Similar views were expressed by the IB Chief in his presentation before a Senate Committee.
While there may not be any duly certified franchise of the IS functioning in Pakistan, those claiming affiliations with it remain active. They are reported to have recruited volunteers and dispatched them to Syria. As revealed by Punjab Law Minster in January, 42 persons claiming allegiance to IS were nabbed while trying to set up sleeper cells in the province. The IB chief considers the IS as an emerging threat because terrorist groups including TTP, SSP, and LeJ are coordinating with the financially resourceful and high profile network. It was with the help of its allies that the IS launched the attack on a newspaper office in Islamabad last month.
The civilian government is required to play a central role in containing urban terrorism. While there is a consensus on measures that need to be taken, what is lacking is a sense of urgency. Instead of recognising that much needs to be done to fully implement the NAP, the Interior Minister claims that it has already been implemented. The failure to get NACTA activated has forced the Prime Minister to rely totally on ISI. Despite concluding that there was a dire need to hold talks with the Baloch dissident leadership, the reconciliation process has yet to be placed on fast track. The federal government has failed to provide full funding for the rehabilitation of the IDPs and there is still no move to introduce the much needed FATA reforms. Little has been done to block terror funding in Sindh, Balochistan and KP. The low level of efficiency keeps the terrorist networks active and in good health.