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Pakistan Internal Security - Terror and Militancy

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Pakistan’s leadership is aware of the blow up on the internal security front due to emergence of a Taliban dominant administration in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan recently explained to foreign journalists that the Taliban being Pakhtun-majority group there would be spillover effects in Pakistan's Pakhtun majority areas.

Khan explained out that Pakistan already housed 3 million registered Afghan refugees with more unaccounted for. "Our economy is just recovering [so] we don't want another inflow of refugees," he said on August 11. Apart from Khyber Pakthoonwa which has ethno-religious extremism as the base, insurgency also continues in Balochistan- largest province in area but the most impoverished,” he said.

Ethic separatism and economic deprivation are the main themes.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed an intention to hold negotiations with insurgents in Balochistan and also claimed that talks have been opened with a section of the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The TTP however has asked the government to release all prisoners which will not be acceptable to the government or the Pakistan Army.

Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani is reportedly playing the role of a mediator.

According to the 28th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, prepared for the UN Security Council, TTP continues to pose a threat to the region with the unification of splinter groups and increasing cross-border attacks.

TTP will be emboldened after the Afghan Taliban are in power in Afghanistan. Recently, TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud said in an interview with CNN that his group aimed to make the tribal districts of Pakistan independent. The new strategy of the group is incorporated in the manifesto Inqilab-i-Mehsud as per a report in the Dawn News.

The influence of other groups such as Islamic State of Khorasan, al Qaeda, Lashkar e Jhangvi also is a cause of concern.

Rapid breakdown of the Islamic Republic in Afghanistan and establishment of an Islamic Emirate on August 15 was initially greeted with euphoria in Islamabad however soon the realization of a regime that is led by a terrorist group whose leaders are under heavy sanctions and whose ideology is radical Islam dawned on the leaders – political and military.

Meanwhile the National Action Plan against terror remains inert while movements such as Paigham-i-Pakistan signed by thousands of religious scholars of all schools of thought is emerging as a counter narrative as per the Dawn.

The government apart from robust deployment of the armed forces with two corps sized forces deployed one each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtoonwa has not been able to effectively contain the large base of conservative Islamic radicalism which is a feeder to violent extremism in the country.

Unless the political narrative changes from radicalism to religious moderation relief from militancy is not likely in the near term.

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