Following a dastardly attack by the Taliban terrorists on a public school in Peshawar on December 16, Pakistan has declared an all out war on terrorists and extremists in the country. More than 135 young school students were martyred in the merciless attack on the army run school in which a large number of children of armed forces personnel study. The chilling news of the attack on the school and killing of innocent children galvanized the whole nation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately called a meeting of all the political parties and after a marathon debate marked by a rare display of unity and determination; it was decided to launch a countrywide war on terrorists and extremists of all ilks to stamp out terrorism from the country.
The nations' leaders decided that the armed forces would also be deployed in the war against the terrorists. The scope of the successful anti-terrorists operation, Zarb-e-Azb, being conducted by the army in Waziristan tribal area, was extended to the entire country, and to ensure expeditious disposal of the cases, a constitutional amendment was brought in to establish special courts headed by military officers to try the terrorists.
It has also been decided by the government to regulate the religious madressahs by registering them, encouraging them to modernize their syllabi.
The leaders, though coming from rival parties and following different schools of thought, dropped their reservations and came together in view of the severity of the crisis. A couple of others who did not find themselves on the same page, abstained from voting but did not oppose the proposal in the parliament ,which is a happy augury for what has been named by the government , the National Action Plan.
Pakistan has suffered huge damage of life and property due to terrorism and religious extremism during the last three decades. The estimates vary, but according to most conservative figures the country has suffered more than 15,000 casualties of the security personnel and over 6000 of the civilians during the last five years, besides the staggering losses to the national economy.
According to one estimate the national economy has suffered loss of at least 82 billion dollars during the years from 2003 to date; the losses of the last three years alone amount to 6.9 billion dollars. An idea of the Taliban's' destructive activities can be had from the fact that between 2009 to 2014 they blew up or damaged more than 1000 school buildings in the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Targeted action against the terrorists in some specified tribal areas in the past few years achieved only localized and short term results.
The leaders therefore felt that whatever the reasons and background of the terrorists' activities, it was high time that the government takes an all out action against all sorts of terrorists and extremists all over the country simultaneously and without further delay.
The successes of the current army operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists in Waziristan and of a similar operation in Swat in the past, have given confidence to the government to go for a countrywide operation guided by the army and to have military courts to decide all the terrorism cases expeditiously.
It is hoped that with the unity and determination that all quarters have displayed after the Peshawar carnage, the Nawaz Sharif government would succeed in its plans to rid the country of the scourge of terrorism.