The year 2011 began with usual terrorist attacks and target killings in Karachi however as this year ends now we se that there has been a significant decrease in the number of killings due to terrorist activities. In 2011 a total of 4500 people were killed these include common people in streets police and security personal, military and the terrorists themselves. Comparing to year 2010 this figure is about 3000 people less which is although can not be said good but it is certainly a positive sign. This figure was 11600 in 2009 so actually there is a gradual decline in the terrorism.
How will the year 2012 shape this scene and what could be the causes of this reduction and overall reduction in terrorist attacks in the country. Mr. Zafar Hilali who is a columnist for daily times and the News international says that one reason for this reduction in the killings can be that our detection of terrorists has improved a bit and the there is more awareness among people towards this issue. An other reason may be the the country has shifted from the policy of using force alone towards talks with the terrorists. Another reason in Mr. Zafar Hilali’s opinion may be that the terrorists have weaken n the course of time for example their funding is becoming scarce due to back channel money transfer systems like hundy & Hawala have been controlled. You can see the increase in looting of Banks recently in the country, this can be related to this very fact.
Dr. Mutahir Sheikh has a different point of view in this regards. He thinks that the command and controll system of Al-Qaida has weaken this may be due to the death of Osama Bin Laden also we need to see the reports which show that Al-Qaida is shifting from North Waziristan towards Africa. On Taliban Side according to Dr. Mutahir Sheikh the drone attacks in the north western Pakistan have definitely made a collateral damage to Taliban’s command and control system. Many of the people involved in these activities have actually been killed in these attacks. Another thing is the worldwide diplomatic efforts to bring Taliban to talk is also a factor for example Taliban is opening office in Qatar and Germany is going to solicit talks with them is a sentential effect of the damage to Taliban which has forced them to come on the table.
According to Mazhar Abbas who is a journalist in Pakistan terrorists may have changed their strategy for eample in 2010 they has suffered a huge damage. They hav enow become selective in their attacks this may also be due to the feeling among the supporters of Taliban that killing common people is not justified in this war. Taliban may be feeling that killing common men may be against their ideology and may this is the reason that now they have agreed for negotiations and Pakistan’s establishment also has a role in this.
On the other hand we can also see that on one hand there is reduction in the attacks on both sies and on the other hand both America & Pakistan seem to be having conflicts and are literally going far apart from each other. According to Mr. Zafar Ilahi it actually a myth to say that Americans have eradicated Taliban from Afghanistan and have forced them to come on table. In Mr. Ilahi’s opinion it is a porpaganda from the American because they want to get out of the region and will leave by saying that they have accomplished their mission in the region but they could not eliminate the safe heavens of terrorists in Pakistan.
The drift with the US is actually a success for Pakistan as if we an part with the US than these elements which are fueling this war on terror will get eliminated and Taliban will come forward for talks for peace.
If we look at the past decade we can see that terrorism has increased in these years rather than decreasing. There are scores of groups of terrorist organization which did not exist before 9/11 and each group has its own strategy so in fact the world war on terror has actually failed. Even though the number of killings in Pakistan have reduced significantly still the anti-American sentiment has increased in Pakistan so we can say that the war on terror has actually failed.
The anti-American sentiment in Pakistan has been there since 1964 but if you look at the 2002 the electoral power of religious political parties was not as much as it is today. If you look at the number of people in the public gatherings of these parties there is a huge increase there.
Another interesting fact is that there is no definition of War of Terror yet the UN body has not come to consensus to define the ?War on Terror?
According to Dr. Mutahis Shaikh there has been a big defeat for the terrorist elements after the 2009 on both political and strategic fronts. The main reason for them to come for talk is that the government of Northern Alliance in Afghanistan is supported worldwide. Turkey has offered the most support to it and Turkey is a good friend of Pakistan. All the other parties are trying to give this situation a regional aspect where as Pakistan’s security establishment is trying to give it a look of country based issue, there is where the biggest problem arises. This is also one of the reason why there is tension between civil and military establishments of Pakistan. This is the reason that Pakistan’s security establishment is trying to show that they are now against the US and so on. The political or civil establishment realizes that divorce with American is not going to be that easy hence this is where the problem lies.
Based on the facs above Zafari Hilali believes that US should simply declere that they are indeed leaving in 2014 or if they will leave few thousands of their troops in the fortifications, which they have built, after 2014. If they say they will leve their few thousand people than these Taliban forces will keep fighting, and it wil not be possible that the Pushtoons on Pakistan will not go and not help The Taliban in Afghanistan. So it all depends on the US because the motivational force is the US.
So basically 2012 will also be the same unless US brings about some change.
According to Mutahr sheikh we must go back to history to see what will effect the situation in 2012 we must see that since 1954 and 955 when Pakistan went to Sito Cento what was the reason, it was the ?Central role of Pakistan in the middle east situation? traditional we have always done in middle East what US wanted us to do. Today situation is exactly the same. It is difficult to understand if Pakistan can take any stance without the Americans in the the Middle East. According to Dr. Mutahir the things will remain same in 2012 and the main key will be in Rawalpindi If Pakistan goes with the world as it is clear and agreed than things will get better but if it does some thing different than things could get worst.
According to Mazhar Abbas whether terrorist activities increase or not but fundamentalism is definitely on the rise the direction of Rawalpindi that is referred seems to be going back rather than forward, which is a dangrous trend. This means that if Pakistan goes back to the position of before 9/11 than we are not taking in view he hings happening around us. Although it depends on the Pakistan’s establishment but according to Mazhar Abbas hings do not look to good in the beginning of 2012
By Jamal Panhwar
The facts and figures are from a discussion program of BBC Urdu with Mr. Wusatullah Khan.