The dreadful prospect that terrorism may stage a comeback in Pakistan sends shivers down the spine. It would be unfortunate to witness that day despite having thousands of security personnel and civilians laid down their lives in the war against terrorism.
However, news reports that the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek Taliban Pakistan may be returning to power in North Waziristan warrants serious concern.
On August 1, 2019, prominent English daily, Dawn reported that the banned terrorist outfit, Tehreek Taliban Pakistan had issued warnings to people of Miranshah in North Waziristan to refrain from playing loud music and women going out without a male guardian. The militant organization perceives both the acts as against the Shariah law.
In a single page notice written in Urdu, TTP also asked Polio workers to just do the finger-marking instead of administering polio drops to children. It warned that people who defy these instructions should be ready to face dire consequences.
TTP has accepted responsibility for attacks in FATA and Balochistan. It is now moving to showcase its power and re-enforcing its extremist ideologies. Earlier it had warned Police to exit the South Waziristan tribal district through similar pamphlets.
The tribal town of Miranshah was among the areas hit hardest by terrorism when the war on terror in Afghanistan spilled over the AF-Pak border. Just like other areas of Waziristan, Miranshah was a hotbed of the terrorist activities carried out by the vast network of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan, Al Qaeda and others, until the Pakistan Army led Operation Zarb-e-Azb decimated the network and reclaimed the area. Till now a relative normalcy has prevailed which needs to be sustained.
A potential return of terrorism in the erstwhile FATA region would not only undo the countless efforts made by the nation for peace and stability in the region but also raise questions over the country’s seriousness regarding implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is scrutinizing Pakistan’s measures against money laundering and terror financing. Pakistan should move to nip the terror in the bud before it spirals out of control.