Since its engagement in the War on Terror, Pakistan has faced a cost us US $ 35 billion. The IMF reported in 2010 that Pakistan has incurred a loss of Rs2.082 trillion in exports, foreign investment, industrial output and tax collection between 2005 and 2010 due to the War on Terror. Apart from that, estimates of the devastation caused by the flooding in 2010 are approximated at US $ 9.5 billion. The national economy is in a bad shape, and both employment and investment have been at dangerously low levels for an unsustainable period of time. This lack of economic alternatives and grass-roots political motivation - especially in terms of mainstreaming the impoverished - has created mammoth problems for Pakistan’s overall security situation. Despite continuous military engagements in settled areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, militancy, extremism and intolerance only seem to swell deeper into Pakistan’s settled (and more importantly, rural) areas.
To maintain and ensure law & order in cities, mainly in the provincial capitals and the federal capital territory, new SOPs had to be developed and security presence was beefed up along all sensitive installations, important buildings, and entry-exit points of the cities. The most ominous sign of these enhanced security measures were checkposts that sprang up on major arteries of each city; especially at entry and exit points to cantonment areas of major urban cities. These posts are manned by police sentries, and sometimes by the military (MP, GSF, and Paramilitaries) as well. One can only conjecture so far as to whether these are increasing the perception of security in urban areas, or causing greater woes to the general citizenry, or merely enacting the response and reaction to insecurity that had been enacted in lawless and insecure areas elsewhere in Pakistan. While the Pakistan Army got a taste of urban warfare in Swat, it does not seem feasible to allow the same situation to develop in Lahore or Karachi to tackle it thereafter, ostensibly because of the mammoth destruction of economic livelihood and scarce infrastructure it would cause.
It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that the survival of Pakistan, not Afghanistan, is the most important issue for Western and global security. Counter-extremism, urban intelligence and counter-intelligence are desperately required vis-a-vis the sense of security, the prevalence of law and order, and the writ of the Pakistani state. It is extremely necessary to evolve national consensus on a counter-extremism doctrine that accounts for the function of the Constitution of Pakistan, the writ of Pakistan’s laws and codes throughout its territorial confines, the safety and security of its people at large, the foundations of unity, faith, discipline and tolerance, and the need to progress societally by eliminating poverty and by using acceptable common denominators to mainstream fringe elements.
Political will must augment enforcement of state supremacy in all aspects and manners - the writ of the state must be exercised as the general will of the people, not the imposition of an arbitrary and disconnected governance programme. It is only when the people and the soldiers know who they are fighting for that a national unity and a common purpose in the defeat of the enemy can be visualized, and eventually achieved.
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