Recently, terrorism has started to spread again in Pakistan. This has now reached critical levels. Recently, the US Embassy warned citizens in Pakistan not to visit the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. The question is: what is happening in Pakistan, and who is responsible?
What caused terrorism in Pakistan?
Dangerous terrorist groups operate across Pakistan, carrying out attacks both large and small at the national and international levels, but it is the TTP that is primarily responsible for terrorism in Pakistan.
The Taliban of Pakistan is another name for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. The organisation operates primarily near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Although different from the Taliban organisation that rules Afghanistan, its ideology is the same.
TTP also has close links with the notorious and dangerous terrorist groups Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and TTP provides them safe havens to hide in Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas.
TTP, Its Purpose, and Its History
Tehrik-e-Taliban was founded in 2007 as an organisation of militant groups believed to have fled the 2001 US military operations in Afghanistan.
Baitullah Mehsud was the first TTP chief to be killed in 2009. Hakimura Mesud was also killed in 2013 after taking command of the TTP. Then in 2013, Mullah Fazlullah became chief of his TTP and was also killed in 2018. TTP’s current leader is Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud.
As we have seen with the example of the Taliban in Afghanistan, their goal is also to overthrow existing powers. TTP wants to govern Pakistan according to Sharia law, and their attack is on the Pakistani government and system. Similar to what we witnessed in Afghanistan
These TTP terrorists hide in Afghanistan when the Pakistan Army goes into action. Afghanistan has always been their haven. Some of them later joined another terrorist organization, the Islamic State.
TTP is also believed to have been involved in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was also carried out by the TTP. The Taliban also attacked Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel and Rawalpindi Army Headquarters in 2009.
The TTP was also involved in a terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 132 schoolchildren. The Punjab Taliban, an offshoot of the TTP, is believed to have been involved in the notorious terrorist attack on the bus of a Sri Lankan cricketer on his team.
What kind of relationship exists between the Taliban and the Pakistani government?
Pakistan has always been accused of sheltering terrorists. When Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1979, Pakistan supported the Islamist Mujahideen, and the Pakistani army trained them.
Pakistan has shared good relations with the Taliban in Afghanistan and has helped to overthrow the government of Ashraf Ghani in Afghanistan and establish a Taliban government.
India’s strong influence on Afghanistan’s democratic government is believed to be the reason Pakistan supports the Taliban.
Still, Pakistan has not received such assurance and cooperation from the Taliban government of Afghanistan that TTP terrorists who have fled from Pakistan should not get shelter in Afghanistan.
There is also a dispute over the Durand Line (the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan), which is not accepted by the Taliban.
The Pakistani government has also made several attempts to negotiate. They negotiated a ceasefire with the TTP. On June 3, 2022, TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani announced an indefinite ceasefire with the Pakistani government. The TTP demands in the agreement were to release combatants and reduce the presence of security forces in tribal areas.
If they say that military action against the Mujahid is underway, they will have broken the truce if you attack them too. With a series of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, TTP has created a dangerous situation. Asim Munir, recently appointed Pakistan’s new Chief of Army, continued to insist on negotiations with the TTP.
Pakistan has described the Taliban as a strategic advantage and has always given them protection and cooperation in the hope that they will always remain loyal to them, but this ploy by Pakistan has backfired. Thus, the main cause of terrorism in Pakistan is a wrong foreign policy that harms not only externally but also domestically.
What is the impact of terrorism in Pakistan?
Terrorism has taken a toll on Pakistan on all fronts. It is not only about the loss of life but also economic and political loss. Pakistan is completely bankrupt economically. Investment has not progressed due to the image of poor security, and the employment crisis is serious.
Pakistan also suffers from rampant inflation. Pakistan has always faced a crisis of political uncertainty, and there are no good signs for the future.
It is difficult to define specific policies for Pakistan because no government can complete its term. A country facing such problems needs strong and stable leadership to solve these problems, which Pakistan has always lacked.
What is the current situation?
Following the successful Taliban operation in Afghanistan, Pakistani Taliban enthusiasm is at its peak. They launched their terrorist operations from their main base in North Waziristan (a district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province).
The terrorism of the TTP is prevalent in Afghanistan’s borderlands. They extort money from wealthy and influential locals, kidnap them, and get involved in various types of smuggling.
On November 30, a TTP suicide bomber blew himself up near a police car in Balochistan, killing 3 people and injuring 28 others. In 2021, the TTP carried out over 100 terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
According to one report, there were 376 terrorist attacks across Pakistan in 2022. Pakistani security and military forces have launched an offensive against Taliban militants.In return, the Taliban threaten to target the leaders of Pakistan’s current coalition government.
According to an AIR report, TTP has also formed a parallel government of its own. They have announced a cabinet of their own, in which they have divided their territories into their areas of influence, and thus now they are challenging the sovereignty of Pakistan as well.
This crisis is intensifying. Analysts say the Taliban have posed a major challenge to an already dire situation in Pakistan with renewed political instability and a deteriorating economy, and without proper steps, Pakistan could face a similar situation to Afghanistan.