‘Military operation in South Punjab at last’ in the wake of Lahore bombing

By Raza Ruman

(Pakdestiny) Finally after the Lahore bombing in which 72 people mostly children were killed the Pakistan army has decided to launch an operation in Punjab especially in its southern part to flush out terrorists and their facilitators.

The decision to this effect has been taken during a high-level meeting presided over by Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters on Monday.

Punjab has never faced any military operation. Punjab has stood out from other provinces because of its comparatively better development and living standards. The urban zones of and around Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi are noteworthy examples. Punjab also happens to be one of Pakistan’s most active and vibrant socio-cultural regions. Having said that, if we look a little downward on South Punjab, the situation is disturbingly the opposite; under development, poverty, lack of basic day-to-day resources. What is particularly concerning is that this vacuum, created out of lack of concern and attention on the part of the current and previous regimes, allowed the religious establishment to fill the empty space.

There are hundreds of mostly unregistered or extremist seminaries dotted across the South Punjab landscape, particularly in and around Rajanpur. A report in February 2015 said that almost 6,000 of the 12,000 seminaries in Punjab (near half) were unregistered. Jhang is also a city notorious for being home to two of the most dangerous sectarian terrorist organizations in the history of Pakistan (one Sunni and the other Shia).

The impression being made that only seminaries in KP and FATA are used for indoctrination of weak minds is a ridiculous assertion. Truth be told, some of the most virulent anti-state propaganda is spread by Punjab-based seminaries.

Another fact is that most of the leaders of blacklisted religious/sectarian organizations are based in Punjab. Why then, does the state hesitate in acknowledging the threat from Punjab and taking measures to eliminate them? If terrorists in other provinces are tools in the “great game”, their “roots” (source) are seminaries based in Punjab. This reality is being ignored and the consequences are too damning to ignore. Unless the monster’s head (Punjab-based groups) is cut off, counter terrorist operations will prove only as short-term achievements.

Lets see the success of the operation in Punjab. Pak Destiny





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