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Published On:Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian

Countering Terrorism

| by Ali Sukhanver

( August 14, 2013, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) Whenever we discuss the role of law enforcement agencies, particularly with specific reference to the continuous wave of terrorism in Pakistan, we simply ignore the reality that the role and responsibility of the law enforcement agencies is absolutely different from that of the intelligence agencies. And not only in Pakistan but all over the world, this difference in the working of law enforcement agencies and the things assigned to the intelligence agencies is very much obvious. An intelligence agency simply gets the information and passes it to the law enforcement agencies which work under the direct command of the local civil administration. If an intelligence agency fails in acquiring prior information regarding any terrorist activity, the agency must be taken to task; but in the situation otherwise, that intelligence agency must not blamed of inefficiency.

Unfortunately in Pakistan, it has become a very popular fashion to blame and defame the intelligence agencies after every act of terrorism without knowing the facts and figures. The same thing happened a few days back after the terrorist attack on a jail in Dera Ismail Khan, some of the political leaders and media commentators with a particular bent of mind, started blaming the intelligence agencies and holding their inefficiency, incompetence and negligence responsible for this terrorist activity. Fortunately later on it was brought to light that the intelligence agencies had already informed the local administration that the terrorists were planning to break the jail. According to some reliable sources, the intelligence agencies had even mentioned the expected time and date of the attack but in spite of this prior information, the local administration could do nothing to avoid this terrorist activity. It was simply the result of tactless insensitivity, incompetence and inefficiency of the concerned local administration that the terrorists succeeded in ‘flying away’ with more than 250 prisoners who were pushed behind the bars because of their involvement in crimes of very serious nature. The political hi-ups of the KPK government must have learnt a lesson from this shamefully painful flaw of the local administration and must have made arrangements to avoid such type of incidents in future but instead of doing so , they did all their best to shift the whole responsibility to the shoulders of the intelligence agencies. Whatever there happened in D.I.Khan was in no way an intelligence failure; it was simply the failure of the local civil administration. The civil authorities did not take serious the information passed on to them as it is a common practice in Pakistan that the warnings issued from the intelligence agencies to various public offices are taken for granted. Most of the times, these warnings are dealt as ‘routine precautionary information’. It was the duty of the KPK government to take serious action against the authorities which neglected the warning issued by the intelligence agencies with particular reference to the D.I.Khan jail; but yet nothing notable has been done. Breaking of jail and flying away with the prisoners is not a new incident. It was somewhere in the second week of April 2012, when more than 200 heavily armed militants traveling in several vehicles attacked the Central Jail in Bannu, Southern District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, releasing 384 prisoners in a pre-dawn assault. Among the escaped prisoners there were 20 men who were facing death sentences. According to media reports the intelligence agencies had already warned the local administration of their apprehension regarding the attack on Bannu jail.

In fact the actual problem has never been with the intelligence agencies because they have always done their job of passing on the information very efficiently. The actual problem lies with the local civil administration. Pakistan is badly in need of a well planned type of national policy to crush the menace of terrorism; things would never take a positive turn just by blaming the intelligence agencies and by shifting the whole responsibility onto their shoulders. It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that today our country Pakistan is the worst target of terrorist activities. It will never be possible to deal with this problem simply by condemning the terrorist after every incident. The situation needs deep concentration and serious attention otherwise this problem shall keep on getting more and more serious same as that of the energy crisis. Though the newly elected federal government of Pakistan is trying all its best to get rid of the serious problems like energy crisis and terrorism but still its efforts require more gravity and more seriousness.

If we are really serious in crushing the menace of terrorism, we will have to first decide our national policy against terrorism and then constitute an ‘Anti-terrorism Authority’. This authority must include representatives from the Armed forces, from the intelligence agencies, some members of parliament and a senior judge from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. We need a lot of planning and a lot of struggle but above all the most important thing required is a will to crush terrorism.

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