Security challenge

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In the wake of the attack on Chinese workers in Bisham, civilian and military leaders are renewing their commitment to fighting terror; perhaps recognising that complacency is not an option when the lives of foreign nationals are at stake. Immediate action has been announced against relevant officers for the alleged negligence of duty as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif wishes to personally oversee protocols related to the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan. It’s all well and good to see this long overdue interest in maintaining peace and taking concerted action against any security challenge, but does the government act just as swiftly when the bullies decide to slaughter its own countrymen? Far, far away from the buzzing global radar, millions of Pakistanis have been losing lives across the length and breadth of their motherland just because their enemy felt the need for attention. The past weekend alone saw as many as six security personnel martyred in a string of incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The first two months of 2024 are said to have witnessed at least 177 fatalities in over a hundred terrorist attacks. While our law enforcement agencies deserve an acknowledgement for their firm presence as a bulwark against these cowardly activities, no amount of words or gratitude can bring back the sons of the soil who willingly stood in the line of fire as easy targets for militant outfits. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the harsh truth that lies before us: Pakistan is fighting a war for its survival on every imaginable front. Civilian or armed, national or foreigner, man or woman, young or old, no one deserves to be mercilessly butchered in the name of some petty, twisted agenda.
There are many who accuse nefarious, non-state actors for spearheading and fuelling this new wave of terror in their desperation to screech the brakes on the resurgence of foreign investment so that Pakistan can never find its way out of the economic dungeon. If these links can be proved through credible intelligence, civilian and military leadership need to roll up their sleeves and get down to the tricky business of seeking the confidence of international peacekeeping organisations. Meanwhile, the fact that Taliban 2.0 continues to harbour those who repeatedly make inroads into Pakistan to wreak death and destruction stares our security policies in the face. Whether through an alliance with Iran or using the goodwill of our friendship with China, Islamabad would have to convince Kabul to give up these sleeper cells.