The defense force depends on the military strength of a brave nation and a brave society – it includes every force that can help in any way to protect the national security and interests of a state.
The spirit of patriotism, courage, and bravery is superior to all the armies of the world whether it is border security or terrorist acts, natural calamities or nefarious activities of anti-Pakistan elements, threats to world peace, or internecine wars and rivalries between rival countries, Pakistan Army has shown wisdom and courage everywhere. These are the invaluable services of the Pakistan Army due to which the Pakistan Army is appreciated not only in Pakistan but all over the world and the rest of the Islamic world including Pakistan considers the Pakistan Army as its capital and pride.
The period between 2000 to 2017 was a strange time of almost two decades in which there was no distinction between friend and foe. The Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) had its headquarters in the tribal areas while its facilitators were hiding across Pakistan with nefarious aims, including attacks on the army and law enforcement agencies, as well as terrorism, targeting children, the elderly, and women indiscriminately. During this time mosques, churches, temples, shrines, hospitals, and seminaries were targeted.
Moreover, innocent people were slaughtered in the bazaar on charges of espionage and sedition. Bodies were hung in the squares. In these circumstances, the Pakistani forces had no choice but to launch an operation against these terrorists, so Operation Al-Mizan was launched in 2002 with the aim of targeting terrorist hideouts in South Waziristan and rooting them out. The local population was also helpless against the tyranny of the terrorists who were cutting the throats of the innocents in the name of Islam, so the locals came to the aid of the Pakistani forces. In the years that followed, Operation Sher Dal, Operation Rah-e-Haq, Operation Rah-e-Rast, and Operation Rah-e-Nijat were also launched.
The goal of all these operations was to eradicate terrorism. There is no doubt that the morale of the terrorists was very high with the brilliance of women and money, they had naive students of madrassas trained to target the army, police, and all kinds of civilians by showing them the way to heaven, but also the enemy of Pakistan’s professionalism. Fingers crossed because on the one hand there were armies of 40 countries under the banner of NATO and ISAF armed with technology and weapons but helpless against the Taliban while on the other hand, Pakistan alone with its strong army and Allah’s help is an expert and tough guerrilla warrior.
Thereby, the terrorists were breaking their backs. This series of victories continued, one fort and ambush after another was conquered, the enemy of the Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies were overwhelmed by these achievements. These successes do not go unnoticed. If the names of all the martyrs who donated blood were written, a huge book would be prepared. The martyrs include officers and men of the Pakistan Army from senior to junior ranks. The enemy’s weapons were suicide attacks and the use of landmines, which resulted in a large number of martyrs as well as those who lost their limbs, but the grandsons of the Pakistani forces did not waver in their resolve and determination. They kept moving forward to achieve great goals.
Finally, South Waziristan was liberated from the clutches of these beasts and made peaceful. The beautiful valley of Swat is located in the Malakand Division. The people here are Pashtun, prosperous and peaceful, so India and its allies decided to target this peaceful valley. The locals have been misled in the name of Islam but the locals have also realized that they have been fooled in the name of Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammad and that the terrorists are only interested in violence, seizure of power, and seizure of resources. However, the Pakistani forces gradually began clearing through Operation Rah-e-Haq and Rah-e-Rast.
In the bloody clashes from 2007 to 2009, thousands of police and civilian personnel, including journalists, were killed in the bloody clashes between the Pakistani army and the terrorist army. The army adopted the best strategy to completely clear the area, which is hardly applied anywhere in the world. The densely populated area was a haven for terrorists, making it extremely difficult for the army to operate there, so the people of Mingora and other areas were skillfully relocated to a new city with a population of 3 million.
This relocation of the population caused austerity and hardship to the local people, but philanthropists from all over the country opened the doors for them and offered resources to their displaced brothers. So in just a few months, a full-scale operation killed all the terrorists. Those who dropped their weapons were shifted to rehabilitation centers to be rehabilitated as healthy and productive members of society. Many terrorists fled across the border to Afghanistan, where their masters had to use them again in a mission.
After the restoration of peace in Swat and South Waziristan, an operation was now needed in North Waziristan. A large number of terrorists fled these areas and took refuge in North Waziristan. All terrorist activities and operations across the country were being controlled from here. Therefore, in order to respond to this challenge of the terrorists, a crackdown was launched. Rahim himself took part in the operation as an ISPR officer.
After the Swat experience, the terrorists, instead of fighting here, escaped and fled from their hideouts, which were a huge cache of arms and ammunition. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched on 15 June 2014 from Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan. Due to its success, the Swat operation strategy was replicated here and a large tent city was set up around Bannu for the locals who increasingly cooperated with the army in this operation and thanks to this cooperation the areas of Miranshah, Datta Khel, and Mir Ali were completely cleared.
Later, in February 2017, Operation Anti-Corruption was launched, under which terrorists and their facilitators were identified across the country and brought to justice.
This journey of success would not have been possible without major sacrifices. If we look at the entire operation, about 8,000 soldiers and officers of every rank were martyred, while the number of martyrs of the police and civil institutions and the general population is nearly 60,000.
Praise be to God, peace, and order of the government have been restored in every inch of these areas. However, small-scale terrorist operations are still ongoing. In addition, Pakistan’s armed forces have begun a period of prosperity and development after the restoration of peace which will yield far-reaching results.
This opinion has been contributed by Sajawal Saleem who can be reached at @Sajawal_13
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