Is the military operation Radd-ul-Fasaad a success?
On February 22, 2017, Pakistan Army announced the commencement of military operation Radd-ul-Fasaad against the enemies of the state. According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Radd-ul-Fasaad — which means ‘elimination of discord’, is aimed at indiscriminately eradicating the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”, consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Pakistan Navy (PN), Civil Armed Forces (CAF) and other security and law enforcing agencies (LEAs) were to be active participants in and ‘intimately support’ the armed forces’ efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.
Three months down the line, it is imperative to take stock of whether Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad is a success or not.
Two recent developments point towards the triumph of the latest operation.
Firstly, Ehsanullah Ehsan, former spokesperson for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and a senior leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, surrendered before Pakistan’s security agencies. Confirming the capitulation, DG ISPR stated that the people, the state and the institutions of Pakistan have made considerable progress in the betterment of the country’s security situation. The armed forces have progressed to the point that the people who’ve been planning attacks on Pakistan’s soil from across the border have started to see that the situation has changed. He reiterated that the state is re-establishing its writ. No element can challenge the state if the state has the will to weed out dangerous elements.
The surrender of Ehsanullah Ehsan is a major success because in 2014, after a split in the TTP, Ehsan had become a spokesperson for the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar – what was then a newly formed splinter group of the TTP. He claimed at the time that 70 to 80 percent of the TTP commanders and fighters had also joined the splinter group. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was behind the horrific attack on Lahore’s The Mall earlier this year, which sent shockwaves through the country.
“Three months down the line, it is imperative to take stock of whether Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad is a success or not.”
The other praiseworthy action is nipping in the bud the planned attack on a church on the occasion of Easter. If the attack had gone through, hundreds of innocent devout Christians would have been martyred.
To date, fifteen major operations (two in Punjab, one in Sind, four in Balochistan and eight in FATA/Khyber Pakhtunkhawa) were conducted under the aegis of Radd-ul-Fasaad. Huge caches of arms have been recovered while scores of terrorists have been killed or apprehended.
On 14 April 2017, Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) along with Intelligence Agencies conducted a joint operation in Basti Dadwani 30 Kms from Dera Ghazi Khan. Ten terrorists belonging to the banned TTP were killed. In intense exchange of fire 4 Rangers soldiers embraced shahadat while 2 got injured. The DG ISPR has apprised that on 13 April 2017, at the indication of ISI, joint operation was planned and successfully executed.
In the province of Balochistan, on 9th April, security forces foiled major terrorist activity planned for Quetta. FC conducted an operation in general area Chaman along Pak-Afghan border and recovered 120 kilograms of explosive laden prepared vehicle on crossing border planned to be used for terrorist activity in Quetta. Two terrorists were also arrested. Initial interrogation revealed that the vehicle was prepared as IED at Kandahar. The operation was conducted on intelligence information that a prepared vehicle is coming to Pakistan from Afghanistan for terrorist activity.
On 15 April 2017, FC Balochistan conducted an Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) in Loralai in which 22 IEDs dumped for terrorist activities were recovered.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on 16 April 2017, Security forces recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition including rockets, prepared IEDs, explosives, grenades, mortar bombs, different types of weapons and communication equipment from Kalaya, Aurakzai. The operation was launched on receiving credible intelligence. TTP Markaz established in underground tunnels in Kalaya, Aurakzai Agency was destroyed during the Operation.
On 16 April 2017, in a separate IBO in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, FC and intelligence Agencies recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition including rockets, IEDs, grenade, mines, mortar ammunition, explosives, different types of weapons and communication equipment. The recovery of such a large arsenal points towards the planning for major terrorist attacks which have been averted.
“The other praiseworthy action is nipping in the bud the planned attack on a church on the occasion of Easter. If the attack had gone through, hundreds of innocent devout Christians would have been martyred.”
In the province of Sind, major terrorist activity was foiled by Sind Rangers in Kemari Mowath Goch area. Five terrorists affiliated with Daesh (IS) having link with RAW/NDS namely Tahir Zaman, Muhammad Nawaz, Bilal Ahmed, Muhammad Farhan Saddique, Dur Muhammad who were planning a major terrorist activity in Karachi were apprehended.
The military courts meanwhile tried 274 cases, in which 161 were awarded death sentences, out of which 24 have been executed while COAS signed execution orders (Black Warrants) of another 30 hard core terrorists who were awarded death sentence by Military Courts. The process expedited during Op Radd-ul-Fasaad. These terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism including attack on APS Peshawar, kidnapping and slaughtering soldiers of Frontier Constabulary, attack on Saidu Sharif airport, killing of innocent civilians, attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies.
The military also carried out survey of the border with Afghanistan so that cross border terrorism could be eliminated. Total Border of FATA/KPK is 1172 Km while total border with Afghanistan is 2611 Km out of which the fence-able area comprises 744 Km and
Non fence-able area (Dir / Chitral) is 428 Km. In the same realm, 63 Border posts/forts are under construction while 43 have been completed.
While the military operation Radd-ul-Fasaad progresses, the armed forces of Pakistan have also lent support to the Census process, which commenced on 15 March 2017. Census process is divided in to two phases spread over 72 days with 10 days’ gaps in between the phases. There are total 168,274 blocks, 20,645 circles, 3,312 charge and 458 census districts in the country. First phase of census which commenced on March 15 was successfully completed despite few odd attempts to disrupt the process. Seven soldiers laid their lives including 5 victims of Lahore Suicide Bomber attack while 15 were injured. Phase 2 is commencing from Apr 25 to May 25 2017. Army considers this a national undertaking and will take all necessary steps for the accomplishment of the process.
Although it had its hands full, Pakistan Army is also engaged in conducting massive development works. A total of 86 infrastructure projects are being completed, which include 14,820 Kms of roads, which have been completed while 1363 Kms of roads are under construction.
833 bridges have been constructed while 26 thermal projects are under construction, 62 airfields are being constructed, 376 Kms of Railway projects. 6,910 Kms of Fibre Optics have been laid out, 15 tunnels have been constructed and 533 Kms of canals have been dug.
The development projects include education and health too. In FATA, 67 new schools/colleges have been established; while 4 cadet colleges and 63 primary schools have been constructed besides 147 damaged educational institutions were reconstructed.
Medical facilities have been put up while the armed forces have lent a helping hand in the construction of 11 major projects for water and power, which include Gomalzam Dam, Khanpur Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam and 344 wells which have been dug.
Based on the above, readers can judge for themselves just how effective operation Radd-ul-Fasaad has been.