Terrorism in Pakistan has declined, but the underlying roots of extremism remain

Subscribe to the center for middle east policy newsletter, madiha afzal madiha afzal fellow - foreign policy , center for middle east policy , strobe talbott center for security, strategy, and technology @madihaafzal.

January 15, 2021

This piece is part of a series titled “ Nonstate armed actors and illicit economies: What the Biden administration needs to know ,” from Brookings’s  Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors .

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan saw 319 terrorism-related incidents in 2020, and 169 associated deaths of civilians. That represents a decline, from a high of nearly 4,000 such incidents in 2013, with over 2,700 civilian deaths (see figure below).

This fall is largely due to the Pakistani army’s kinetic operations against the Pakistani Taliban — also known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — which had been responsible for the majority of deaths of civilians and security forces since 2007, the year it formed officially as an umbrella organization of various militant groups. Over the years, American drone strikes targeted and killed successive TTP leaders, including Baitullah Mehsud in 2009, Hakimullah Mehsud in 2013, and Mullah Fazlullah in 2018. The Pakistani military’s Zarb-e-Azb operation (named for the sword of the Prophet Muhammad) began in 2014 — after a TTP attack on the Karachi airport that June — and increased in intensity after the Peshawar Army Public School attack of December that year, which killed more than 130 schoolchildren. Since 2017, having largely routed the TTP (because of limited information access to the area, there are questions about how many terrorists were killed, versus simply displaced across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border), the military’s operation entered a new phase of “elimination” of militant groups. The operation is called Radd-ul-Fasaad, which literally means elimination of all strife.

Figure: Terrorism-related fatalities in Pakistan

While this top-line picture in terms of number of attacks and casualties is clearly a positive one, the TTP has been regrouping since last summer. Various breakaway factions pledged allegiance to the group last July, and there are reports of it making a comeback in at least six districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “ with the intimidation of locals, targeted killings, and attacks on security forces .” The TTP is reported to have killed at least 40 security forces between March and September 2020. Official Pakistani sources blamed India as “behind” the revival. On the other end, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, an ethnic protest movement that claims human rights violations against civilians by the Pakistani military during its operations against the Taliban, has alleged (without systematic proof) that “the Taliban are being allowed to return” to the tribal areas in a “secret deal with the military.”

The TTP, of course, maintains ties with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida. Some have speculated that the TTP comeback may be linked with the Afghan peace process and Pakistan’s fencing of the border with Afghanistan, both of which threaten the group’s sanctuary in Afghanistan. (A U.N. report from July 2020 stated there were 6,000 Pakistani fighters in Afghanistan, most affiliated with the TTP.) There has also been some speculation that the Afghan peace process might include, at some point, a separate Afghan-Pakistan deal, with Afghanistan denying safe haven to the TTP potentially in return for Pakistan denying sanctuary to the Haqqanis (though it is unclear whether that will be possible, or acceptable to Pakistan). Pakistan has already raised questions about Afghanistan’s sanctuary for the TTP.

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The Islamic State in Khorasan (ISIS-K), which operates in Afghanistan and is the Afghan Taliban’s rival, has been responsible for recent attacks in Baluchistan, including of 11 Shia Hazara coal miners this January — complicating Pakistan’s already violent sectarian landscape. In discussing this attack, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan again blamed India for “backing ISIS” to “spread unrest” in Pakistan. (Pakistan has also long claimed that India uses Afghan soil — on which ISIS-K is based — to destabilize Pakistan.)

Anti-India militant groups continue to have a foothold in Pakistan, but Pakistan has begun taking action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in recent years, especially in the wake of its enhanced monitoring by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2018 for terrorism financing; it is a key goal of Khan’s government to have Pakistan removed from this “grey list,” because it hurts the country’s image and causes it financial harm. Most notably, Pakistan has sentenced Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the LeT, to 11 years in prison for terrorism financing. Another LeT leader, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was also recently sentenced to five years for terrorism financing. The United States has acknowledged these steps, but has argued that Pakistan needs to hold these LeT leaders accountable for more than terrorism financing. Pakistan has taken less action against Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terrorist group responsible for the Pulwama attack of February 2019; its leader, Masood Azhar, is at large. Notably, Pakistan-based militant groups have not been responsible for any violence in Kashmir since the Pulwama attack; in an interview later in 2019, Khan asked Pakistanis not to engage in any violence or “jihad” in India, because it would be blamed on Pakistan and would harm it. That signal seems to have worked.

Placing the blame on India for terrorism in Pakistan is something the country has long done, although not always in as direct a manner as in 2020. Beyond linking the recent ISIS-K attack with India, Pakistan also linked the Baluch Liberation Army’s June 2020 attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange with its eastern neighbor (Pakistan has longed argued India supports the Baluch insurgency). In November, the Pakistani foreign minister, in a splashy press conference, released details of the “ dossier ” Pakistan has compiled linking India to funding, arming, and training terrorists (including the TTP) against Pakistan. Only the summary — not the full dossier — discussed in that meeting has been made public. It found a receptive audience in a Pakistani population already wary of the Narendra Modi government for its actions in Kashmir and the alarming rise in intolerance toward Muslims in India. The Pakistani government says it has shared the dossier with the U.N. and various governments, but those parties have not publicly acknowledged it.

Pakistan’s strategy toward militant groups has long been two-pronged, as it were: to take overt (and successful) action against groups targeting the Pakistani state and citizenry — the TTP — without taking action against the groups it has considered “strategic assets,” including the Afghan Taliban that have sought sanctuary on its soil and anti-India militants that its intelligence agencies have covertly supported. Underlying this approach has been an effort to hedge bets: regarding the Taliban’s possible influence in Afghanistan after an international withdrawal, and regarding militant proxies who may give Pakistan parity on an otherwise lopsided conventional military footing with India. There are signs some of this is changing. For instance, Pakistan has developed a good relationship with Kabul, especially in recent months, but it also knows its leverage over the Taliban keeps it relevant to the Afghan peace process. The FATF listing has induced Pakistan to take its strictest action to date on militant groups, especially LeT. It also helps that Pakistan is keen to shed an image associated with terrorism. Yet the long-term sustainability of actions Pakistan has taken in response to pressure from FATF remains to be seen; will they be reversed when the FATF grey-listing is lifted? And what happens after the international withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete?

The central issue is not one of state capacity, but an unwillingness of the Pakistani state to paint all jihadist groups with the same brush, to recognize the linkages in ideology that connect them all — and to acknowledge how those ideologies find fodder in Pakistan’s laws, educational curricula, politics, and indeed the very nature of how Pakistan has defined itself, as I detailed in my book . This issue holds for Pakistan’s military, and also across its spectrum of major political parties, as has been demonstrated over the last 12 years with all three of them successively holding power. That lack of recognition of how terrorism and extremism are connected, and of the very roots of extremism, is the crux of the problem: Militant groups can always find recruits, from other groups or from the general population. Non-armed right-wing fundamentalist groups, notably the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), share these ideologies, glorify violence (the TLP, after all, celebrated the murder of Salmaan Taseer for daring to propose reform in Pakistan’s blasphemy laws), and enjoy growing support and sympathy.

For a brief time after the Peshawar school attack of 2014, there was some clarity in recognizing the homegrown nature of the Pakistan Taliban, and the country devised a National Action Plan to tackle extremism and terrorism. While it was incomplete and never acknowledged the deeper roots of extremism, it was a start. But it has gone by the wayside as the Pakistani state has turned back once again to blaming India for terrorism in the country. Meanwhile, the underlying roots of extremism — the country’s curricula, the way its politics works, and its laws, which have all primed its citizenry to buy into and sympathize with the propaganda of extremist groups — remain intact. Pakistan’s claims about India deserve to be heard and investigated, as the international community ignoring them only worsens Pakistan’s sense of victimhood, but that does not absolve the state of its own policies that have fostered extremism and allowed terror groups to proliferate on its soil.

As the Biden administration takes office, it is worth recognizing the effectiveness of the FATF tool, and the limited leverage of the United States to effect real change on security matters in Pakistan, at least initially. Ultimately, Pakistan must be the one to connect the dots linking all the terrorist groups on its soil and their ideologies, acknowledge how it has contributed to extremism within its borders, and decide on addressing the roots of that extremism. I would argue that the best way to encourage it to do so is for America to develop a relationship with the country that is separate from Afghanistan, and separate from India: to deal with Pakistan on its own terms. Meanwhile, security concerns in Pakistan are more or less contained, with the FATF listing and the Pakistani state’s action against the TTP being the primary mechanisms for that control, and the Biden administration need not make them the center of its Pakistan policy.

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Zarb E Azb Operation In Pakistan Essay In English

The  Zarb-e-Azb operation was launched by the Armed Forces of Pakistan on June 15 th , 2014. It’s a full-fledged martial attack on North Waziristan, one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that form Pakistan’s northwestern border with Afghanistan. Granting to the Defense Minister this operation will be against ‘local and foreign terrorists’ and will stay till ‘the last terrorist has been eliminated’. This operation commenced  in the reaction of an attack on  Jinnah International Airport in Karachi with the complete political, defense and the civilian  support of the state.

Zarb E Azb Operation In Pakistan Essay In English

Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a mutual service of the equipped forces against the different combative groups, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jundullah, Al-Qaeda, East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Haqqani Network, in the area of FATA. About some 30,000 Pakistani soldiers took part in Zarb-e-Azb, illustrated as a ‘comprehensive operation’ to wash out all foreign and local militants trouncing in the North Waziristan Agency and the neighboring regions.

Zarb E Azb Operation In Pakistan Essay In English

Therefore, Operation Zarb-e-Azb was extended, because North Waziristan is a survival place for militants patiently vulnerable the triumph of other martial operations throughout the 2002-2014.Certainly, the capability of militants was hastily found protection in North Waziristan to recover and reclaim their lost force.This is a major cause that Pakistan’s chief operations failed to attain their set objectives above the final decade.The current activity has gone bad to bring real peace to Pakistani cities,nevertheless,the TTP and associated group are even competent to commence main attacks. On November 2, 2014, a huge penalizing suicide bombing was launched in Pakistan-India border near Wagah, Lahore. In this attack, 55 people were killed and 200 wounded.

Zarb E Azb Operation In Pakistan Essay In English,,

            Thus, concluding my article as, the global world has constantly had their uncertainties about Muslims that whether they stand for harmony or are they religious extremists in favor of war. The distorted meaning of “Jihad” that is prominent amongst the international world is damaging due to the Taliban.To undo this damage we need to show our peaceful side, the side that supports peace in our country. This war also provides us an opportunity to demonstrate our sense of equivalence between the other provinces. Let’s demonstrate the cosmos that the masses of Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber- Pakhtoon- Kha and Punjab are all equal to us. The geographic milieu of someone does not an issue to us and that we still remember and hold  the saying of Quaid-e-Azam in our heart:

“We are now all Pakistanis–not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on–and as Pakistanis we must feet perform and work, and we should be overblown to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.’’

Muhammad Hassnain

As a Professional career consultant, I am dedicated to providing educational services to students through ilm.com.pk. My primary objective is to provide all educational news to the students on time.

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Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Two years of success

Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Two years of success

His words are echoing today loud and clear and with the pride of the dutifulness, sacrifices and commitment of an army speaking behind that has written an episode of history with no match to be found anywhere in the world. He confidently puts it as, “Zarb-e-Azb was launched against terrorists of all hues and colour, with sanctuaries of terrorists dismantled during the operation without discrimination,” These are the words of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif on two year successful completion of the operation Zarb-e-Azb, and, today, Pakistan is a safer place than it was before the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014.

Inception of Operation Zarb-e-Azb

With the full support of political Government, the Pakistan military launched a full scale military offence Zarb-e-Azb on 15th June 2014 with the staunch determination to wipe out hotbeds of militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) that isa strategically important agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.

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The operation is named as Zarb-e Azab.‘Azb’ refers to one of the seven swords of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that was he carried along in the Ghazwaz of Uhad and Badr to strike hard infidels. Zarb-e-Azb means “swift and conclusive strike”not over yet.

Suicide bombings, target killing, fatalities by violence, and terrorist attacks had plagued the peace of Pakistan since a decade.In Pakistan, the presence of militant groups in NWA was seen as major cause of worst terrorist attacks in last few years. Militant wings had stronghold in NWA and terrorist wings were active in using Pakistan’s own soil for their nefarious designs. On 8 June 2014, militants group attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi which led toprompt inception of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

The defenders of Pakistan initiated the operation with unflinching faith and undaunted commitment toeradicate the scourge of terrorism while fighting without any discrimination of “good” and “bad” Taliban.

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 Undoubtedly, it was an uphill task to fight in the most treacherous terrain but Pakistan armed forces proved its invincibility with an unwavering resolve, as the motherland’ peace and progress has always remainedparamount for Pakistan Armed forces.

Undaunted soldiers of Pakistan armed forces, successfully targeted sanctuaries and safe havens of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Punjabi Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Al-Qaeda and all other miscreant militant outfits on the harshest terrain of the world withvalour.

Global acknowledgments

Many global and domestic security portals saw operation Zarb-e-Azb as an instrument of peace in country. There is long list of various military, civil leaders and forums across the globe that generously acknowledged and praised the success of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

TheUS State Department country reports on Terrorism, released inearlier June 2016, appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to curb terrorism and maintained that Pakistan “remained a critical counterterrorism partner in 2015.”

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The report further acknowledges the operation Zarb-e-Azab and reads, throughout 2015, “the Pakistani military continued ground and air operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency to eliminate terrorist safe havens and recover illegal weapons caches.”

Statistical data endorses theunparalleled   success of operation

While analyzing various sources that mostly matched, it was found that the number of terror related incidents have gone down since the inception of Zarb-e-Azb.Concurrently, the percentage of the global terrorism surged form 40-50%, however, terrorism decreased from 40-45% in Pakistan, as per precise security reports published in 2016.

Figures speak the truth. In the wake of Zarb-e-Azb the number of terror related incidents, terrorist activities; suicide bombings have witnessed dip in Pakistan.

The Global terrorism index (GTI) 2015, complied by the international research group the Institute for Economics and Peace, analyses impact of terrorism on global community. The report conceded success of Zarb-e-Azb and stated “Pakistan was the only country in the ten most impacted countries that saw a decline in deaths and accordingly it dropped from third to fourth.”

World Meteorological Day marked

 *Data retrieved from SATP till June 26, 2016

In 2015, many security analysts agreed thatthe number of the Suicide attacks, Terrorists attacks and fatalities in terrorist attacks decreased in Pakistan with impressive numbers.According to South Asian terrorism Portal, in Pakistan, during 2013, terrorists carried out 43 attacks, however, during 2015, 2016 the number of suicide attacks plummeted in country and the credit obviously goes to the operation Zarb-e-Azb.

Decreased percentage of civilian casualties from terrorist violence (2014-2016) SATP till June 26, 2016

According to data retrieved from the South Asia Terrorism Portal till June 26 2016, the fatalities of civilians from terrorist violence are declining in number, the year the operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched. Civilian fatalities, has been dropped to 40 percent in 2014 and 65 percent in 2015 and 74 percent in 2016.

Source: SATP *Data till 3 July, 2016

Thanks to Zarb-e-Azb, the number of civilian fatalities in terrorist violence shrank from horrible four digit figure to triple digit within launch of one year. In 2013, before Zarb-e-Azb , 3001 civilians killed in terrorist violence. In 2015, the causalities decreased to 532 to 308 in 2016.

Tarar urges devotion to build an ideal, strong, prosperous Pakistan

Fact sheet of two year achievements

The facts released by the ISPR on the two year completion of the operation Zarb-e-azb are self-explanatory to manifest the success of the operation.

Over 4,000 square kilometers of land in North Waziristan, including the most treacherous and rugged terrain of Shawal, has been cleared of terrorists, which included 900 terrorists of proscribed militant organization Lashkar-e-Islam. 

The valiant Pakistan Army successfully carried out 19000 Intelligence-based operations (IBOs) were carried out which were based on interrogation and lead generations.

Pakistan Army also seized around 243 tons of explosives, enough to make IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) for 17 years, shut down 7,500 bomb factories, and a total of 3500 terrorists were killed, wiped out 992 safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists.

Our 4900 soldiers including 17 officers embraced sacred status of martyrdom, and over 2000 valiant Ghazis wounded during the past two years.

Uplift programmes introduced by the Pakistan Army

Pakistan military introducedvarious uplift programmes and activities for the development and rehabilitation of the area.

On 14 June 2016, the COAS visited North and South Waziristan expressed solidarity with natives and categorically emphasized, “Development of FATA is a priority task being undertaken by the army as part of a comprehensive plan. These projects will improve the quality of life in the tribal areas, usher in a new era of economic prosperity and address the problem of militancy in the long term.”

The COAS inaugurated various infrastructure and developmentprogrammes, including the 72km long Miranshah – Razmak - Makeen dual carriage road which is part of the 705km Central Trade Corridor. The proposed road will decrease distances of several hours to a few hours between the North and South Waziristan after completion. 

Earlier, Pakistan army introduced a “de-weaponisation” campaign in North Waziristan and registered approximately, 3,000 tribesmen under the campaign.

Pakistan Army has undertaken 567 projects in the social, communication, infrastructure and power sectors in Waziristan.

While staying determined on the Temporary Displaced People (TDPs) issue, Pakistan military generously helped to return around 61% TDPs to their hometowns while the remaining TDPs are expected to be repatriated by December, 2016.

Army units, particularly its engineers, have been engaged in building in infrastructure and road developments in the reconstruction phase of the operation. For the stated purpose, FWO and engineering units are working day and night in construction of roads, bridges, schools, mosques, basic health units and water supply schemes in the North and South agencies.

Zarb-e_azb has accentuated   positive effect on Pakistan’s security, stability and progress. The mega project of $ 42 billion CPEC was initiated after satisfactory security situation in Pakistan. With defeating terrorism, the Pakistan Armed Forces have gifted the nation with the peace that guarantees prosperity under CPEC. It has not only paved the way for a promising future but has also restored the confidence of a nation that was shattered by the terror waves during these two decades. With the output of the operation praised worldwide, all the strategic stakeholders in the region should now be left with little doubt about the sheer sincerity of Pakistan in fighting the menace of terrorism.

Now, so as to save the country from the ever present monster of extremism the world, especially the US, should now look towards working with Pakistan in a cordial manner whereby giving due regard to the reality of its problems and not leaving it alone as has been a precedent in the past.

Saima Ghazanfar

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The South Asia Channel: The Afghan Roots of Pakistan’s Zarb-e-Azb Operation

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The Afghan Roots of Pakistan’s Zarb-e-Azb Operation

The pakistani military is in the midst of an all-out offensive in north waziristan, the roughly delaware-sized region bordering afghanistan’s khost and paktika provinces, which has become the stomping ground for dozens of militant outfits. the offensive comes on the heels of the collapse of peace talks with the tehreek-e-taliban pakistan (ttp) earlier this year. ....

  • Afghanistan

The Pakistani military is in the midst of an all-out offensive in North Waziristan, the roughly Delaware-sized region bordering Afghanistan's Khost and Paktika provinces, which has become the stomping ground for dozens of militant outfits.

The Pakistani military is in the midst of an all-out offensive in North Waziristan, the roughly Delaware-sized region bordering Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces, which has become the stomping ground for dozens of militant outfits.

The offensive comes on the heels of the collapse of peace talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) earlier this year. The failure of peace talks, and a series of attacks by the TTP in June, turned public sympathy against both the "good" and "bad" Taliban, providing the political space needed to carry out Operation Zarb-e-Azb ("sharp and cutting strike"). But there is another reason for the timing of the operation.

Pakistani officials, from the district level up to its military brass and civilian leadership, are hoping to clear militants from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) before American troops withdraw from Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal, some worry Afghanistan’s military may not have the technical capability needed to secure the border. Others fear Afghanistan’s government might instead support militants fighting the Pakistani state, pointing to increasingly frequent cross-border raids by militants based there, and the continuing refusal of Afghanistan to turn over senior TTP leaders to Pakistan.

W e hear the Afghans gave Mangal Bagh 10 army trucks, and he parades around in them," says Roshan Mehsud, one of the most senior government officials in Khyber agency, referring to the truck-stop-janitor-turned-cleric who leads Lashkar-e-Islam (LI), a local Islamist militant group seeking to impose sharia law in the region. The conflict in Khyber has killed more than 1,400 people in the last two years , according to the FATA Research Centre, an Islamabad-based think-tank tracking the fighting. Mehsud is at his wits-end trying to protect the road outside his office, a two-lane highway that connects Peshawar, Pakistan on the east with Jalalabad, Afghanistan on the west.

"They like to fire tracer bullets into the NATO containers, especially into the driver’s cabin, so everything catches fire," his assistant explains over a dinner of curried okra consumed on the floor of his heavily-guarded office. "A few days ago, the truck was full of plastic water bottles. They caught fire and there was so much smoke, it took us hours to put [it] out."

The American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 gave birth to a war economy in the region, and competing groups of militants have set-up shop along the road outside Mehsud’s office, in hope of plundering containers destined for NATO soldiers, making off with everything from armored Humvees to cans of USAID cooking oil marked "not for sale." By 2008, the preeminent group of highway robbers was LI, led by Bagh.

LI fighters had occasionally fought Pakistani and Afghan Taliban militants for control of the Peshawar-Jalalabad road, meaning they were a nuisance to Pakistan, but not an immediate threat. In June 2008, LI threatened to bring its brand of sharia to the city of Peshawar, and Pakistan sent in troops, sparking a battle that continues today and has produced more casualties than any other conflict in FATA.

In April 2013, Pakistan launched airstrikes and air-lifted thousands of troops to retake the Tirah Valley , a remote mountainous region across the border from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province that had become a base for LI and the TTP. According to military and civilian officials I spoke to, LI’s leadership, including Bagh, have fled to Afghanistan, where they still operate from safe havens in the district of Nazyan. (Much of the 2,600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan border continues to be a subject of dispute between the neighbors.)

For more than a decade, American and Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of providing safe havens and logistical support to militant leaders like Jalaluddin Haqqani and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose fighters live and train in North Waziristan, but make regular trips into Afghanistan to participate in the insurgency. In 2009 though, a second retrograde flow of insurgents began to appear, and militants seeking to topple the Pakistani state began to find spaces to operate out of Afghanistan.

"For quite some time, Pakistan and its security organizations have been communicating with the American and Afghan political setup that somehow these people have linkages… [the] TTP has safe havens and sanctuaries across the border," says Athar Abbas, a retired Pakistan general who served as the military’s spokesman from 2009 to 2012.

He stated further: "Pakistan has been saying there is a problem in [North Waziristan, but] it’s not the real or complete problem of Afghanistan. The United States claims the entire problem of Afghanistan lies in… and originates in [North Waziristan]."

Abbas also notes that Pakistan has carried out ground operations to clear militants out of six agencies along the border, yet the insurgency continues on both sides of the boundary. Frustrated with the lack of security on the border, he says Pakistan repeatedly offered to put up a fence there, even to lay land mines, only to have the idea dismissed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Now, Pakistan’s complaints about Afghanistan’s unwillingness or inability to secure its side of the border are becoming difficult to ignore.

On Aug. 5, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz asked Afghanistan to "hand over" Maulana Fazlullah , who now heads the TTP , and has operated out of Afghanistan’s Kunar province since fleeing a Pakistan offensive in his native Swat Valley in 2009.

Aziz’s remarks came after a series of particularly brazen cross-border raids by Fazlullah’s fighters. The skirmishes have prompted Pakistan to pursue militants into Afghanistan, sparking deadly clashes with Afghan border forces. Dozens of similar raids have taken place since 2012 , killing 334 people, according to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, which issues annual reports on the border conflict.

Fazlullah’s career as a militant leader began in the town of Imam Dherai, in his native Swat Valley, more than 70 miles from the Afghanistan border. In 2009, after a deal to allow the limited enforcement of sharia law in Swat fell through, Pakistani troops moved into the scenic valley, briefly displacing 2.5 million civilians. Within a few weeks, the army had regained technical control of the valley, but Fazlullah and other militant leaders had escaped , making their way west across Pakistan’s Lower Dir and into Afghanistan’s Kunar province. Five years later, Mingora, the largest city in the Swat Valley, still feels like a city under occupation .

Most multi-story buildings and the surrounding hilltops are crowned by posts built from sandbags, draped in chicken wire. Convoys of troops patrol the streets, patting down locals at checkpoints sprinkled throughout the narrow streets. An entire Pakistani army division is still deployed there, and plans are in place to build a cantonment and expand a cadet college — the military is here for the long haul.

On a visit to Mingora in October 2013, I asked one of the most senior Pakistani army officials there why so many troops were still present. His answer was simple: "They [Fazlullah and other leaders] are sitting in Afghanistan waiting to come back."

Pakistan is not simply worried that the TTP will find a space to operate out of in Afghanistan. For years now, Pakistani officials have peddled the theory that groups like the TTP are being funded and supported by the Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies. Ironically, some of those claims appear to actually be coming true.

In October 2013, American special forces broke up a meeting between Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) agents and Latif Mehsud, the former second-in-command of the TTP, who has operated out of Afghanistan since 2010.

Aimal Faizi, Karzai’s spokesman, told reporters the NDS had been working with Latif "for a long period of time." The meeting "was part of an NDS project like every other intelligence agency is doing," he explained, alluding to an apparent quid-pro-quo of Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban.

Eight months earlier, in February 2013, the NDS announced it had captured one of the TTP’s founding members , Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, during a raid near the Pakistani border in Nangarhar province. At the time, the capture was hailed as a sign of improving relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Muhammad commanded a battalion of 6,000 fighters, including some Afghans and Arabs, until 2009, when the Pakistani military flushed militants out of Bajaur. Yet Muhammad continues to remain in NDS custody — the Karzai administration is apparently holding on to him as long as Pakistan holds on to senior Afghan Taliban figures.

While Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be cooperating with Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, American forces have provided important technical and logistical assistance to the military in FATA. At least seven drone strikes have taken place in North Waziristan since the start of Zarb-e-Azb. And Pakistani officials have, uncharacteristically, admitted that they were jointly conducted. But that cooperation may be coming to an end. With the impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the CIA, which operates the drones, has already shut down most of its operations near the Pakistani border.

"Now there is pressure on them [the TTP] through drone strikes," says Rehman Malik, who served as Pakistan’s interior minister between 2008 and 2013. "I don’t think the Afghan army or law enforcement have got that much capability [to conduct drone strikes.]"

"[Cooperation] was very much there in terms of intelligence," continues Malik, whose term included the height of the American drone campaign between 2009 and 2011. "If we had been given the technology along with the intelligence information, we could have performed the same functions."

Until Pakistan has the technology to operate a fleet of lethal drones of its own, former and current Pakistani officials know they need the United States to pursue men like Fazlullah and Bagh.

They are just hoping the Americans stick around a while longer, at least until Pakistan can get a handle on militants operating in FATA.

And so, after patiently answering my questions about his efforts to combat LI, Roshan Mehsud had a question for me. "You’re an American, what do you think. Will they just leave Afghanistan?"

Umar Farooq is a freelance journalist who has reported from Pakistan for Al Jazeera English , the Christian Science Monitor , the Wall Street Journal , and the IRIN News agency. Read his work at umar-farooq.com and follow him on twitter: @UmarFarooq_ . 

Umar Farooq is a journalist based in Istanbul. Twitter:  @UmarFarooq_


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Global Media Journal

ISSN: 1550-7521

Framing of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in English Dailies of Pakistan

Rubab Musarrat * and Ghulam Shabir

Faculty of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab, Pakistan

Received date: May 29, 2020; Accepted date: Jul 01, 2020; Published date: Jul 07, 2020

Citation: Musarrat R, Shabir G. Framing of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in English Dailies of Pakistan. Global Media Journal 2020, 18:35.

Copyright: © 2020 Musarrat R, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Visit for more related articles at Global Media Journal

This research explores the coverage of the military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) during the period from June 2014 to June 2016 by three prominent Pakistani English Dailies; the News, Dawn, and The Nation. A consensus sampling technique was applied to analyze the framing of OZA in 807 editorials of three dailies during the selected period. The Chi Square tests observed the significant variation in the publication of editorial about OZA in these dailies. The research reconnoiters positive attitude of foreign countries towards Pakistan during military Operation Zarb-e-Azb and enhancement of security situation after this operation in the country. The research endorses that local dailies created a positive picture of the nation domestically on OZA.

Newspapers editorial; Framing; Operation Zarb-e-Azb; Security


A variety of counter-terrorism operations have been launched by Pakistan Army which helped to initiate and collaborate with the United States in the War on Terror. Though, country recognized the radical Islamist groups in the past, it was difficult for Pakistan to differentiate between “ good ” and “ bad ” [ 1 ]. In Pakistan, extremism has drawn significant local and foreign concerns since the war of terror. Subsequently, these concerns are also highlighted by local and foreign media. The significant research has been carried out primarily on the reasons of militant violence and extremism in Pakistan [ 2 - 6 ].

In a report, Nabi [ 7 ] given a short overview of all army’s insurgent activities in an attempt to counter terrorist activities in Pakistan. The following is the compilation of: (1) Operation Al-Mizan (2002-2006), (2) Operation Rah-e-Haq (2007), (3) Operation Sher-e-Dil (2008), (4) Operation Zalzala (2008-2009), (5) Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (2008), (6) Operation Rah-e- Rast (2009), (7) Operation Rah-e-Nijaat (2009), (8) Operation Koh-e-Sufaid (2011), (9) Operation Zarb-e-Azb (2014), and (10) Operation Rad-ul-Fasad (2017).

Of all operations, though, the Zarb-e-Azb (G. S. Afzal, personal communication, March 25, 2018) is the most successful operation. In this sense, the current study seeks to establish empirical analysis that surpasses traditional methods and examines Pakistan's position in international scenario and security situation in the war on terror in relation to Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The purpose of the research is to explore the role of Pakistan ’ s English dailies in war against terrorism with respect to Operation Zarb-e-Azb. This research also aims to determine how media construct truth in their editorials in relation to OZA. Through its media content, newspapers report terrorist activities.

Galtung and Fischer [ 8 ] claim that the media is on the bottom line when reporting topics such as conflicts and wars, a path leading directly to war coverage, by overestimating and growing the crisis. Galtung contributes to this argument by suggesting that an alternate highway negates the idea of war journalism and aims to address the problem of peace by neutralizing and raising the question that leads to peace journalism.

In Pakistan, where Taliban has been provided time and space in not only Pakistani media, but also the world's media outlets, it is important that the media coverage of this war against terrorism is studied over time, to understand how Pakistani media portrayed this fight against terrorism, against Taliban and showed Pakistan's armed forces.

The newspaper editorials, columns and opinions are review in past studies [ 9 - 14 ]. The present research focuses on newspaper editorials whose significance is recognized by the fact that they reflect public thought and the point of view [ 15 ]. Vermeer [ 16 ] claims that "a newspaper publication house presents its subscribers with a medium for reading the news of the day that is not treated easily by the task editors" (p. 5).

The media has strongly integrated the picture of country into the foreign world, as a country is considered to be the key entity for analysis by the media, a picture operative in shaping a public understanding [ 17 ]. The present research explores the answers of following research questions; RQ1: in what measure, Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) was reported by newspapers (The News, Dawn and The Nation) in Pakistan from 2014 to2016? RQ2: Through how much of an Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) was important to newspapers (The News, Dawn, and the Nation) through Pakistan? RQ3: How did the newspapers of this particular Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) in Pakistan focus on, or diverge civil military relations?

While answering the research questions, following hypotheses are tested to predict empirical grounds under OZA;

H1: Pakistan’s English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) gave significantly positive coverage to the support of foreign countries regarding military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA).

H2: The coverage of Pakistan’s English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) demonstrated that Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) a successful military operation.

H3: Pakistan’ English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) took a positive stance regarding improved security environment in as the result of military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA).

Alina [ 18 ] said that the Pakistani military and the government had a good mindset in uniting themselves with the military on one side. During Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the ISPR ’ s daily Press communiqué (Army source) illustrated cooperation between the government and armed powers. The findings have stated that, assisted by the country and government and by the media in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, is effective in creating popular confidence for the purposes of operations by stressing the performance of Pakistan's armed forces in terrorist elimination.

Waal and Schoenbach [ 19 ] consider that print media are better and more credible in increasing public consciousness. Aisha [ 20 ] has shown that Zarb-e-Azb ’ s performance is complicated, but it helps combat terrorism. It's shown in earlier days as a successful military plan to locate secret jihadists along with the assault by the insurgents and restore stability to the entire country.

The theoretical and methodological effect of antiterrorism operations on Pakistan's economic development was examined by Mubashra (2018). Data was obtained between 1980 and 2015. Within the analysis the importance of counterterrorism performance is measured using the “ negative binomial regression model”. The findings show that Operation Zarb-e-Azb boosts Pakistan's economic development [ 21 ].

In his analytical research on successful counter-insurgency strategies in Pakistan, Rehman et al. [ 22 ] concluded that Zarbe- Azb and the National Action Plan have identified a clear disintegration of a terrorist structure and the waning of terrorism. The research discusses the three effects of “breakdown,” “deterioration,” and “retaliation” of counterterrorism approaches. The findings are rendered using the “ negative binomial regression model. ” The findings have showed the need for robust political cooperation for military actions as a realistic counter-terrorism strategy. The PM from Pakistan and political parties, however, have endorsed and favored the operation, according to the International Crisis

Group [ 23 ]. The author has also claimed that Zarb-e-Azb has not achieved its target entirely, according to Syed (2016), the military also wants another “Combat Operation”.

The portrayal of the Pakistan army in Western media was examined by Ali and Wazir [ 24 ]. And it has observed that in both newspapers before and after the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the image of the Pakistan army has stayed negative. Zahra [ 25 ] also reported that Pakistan's air force was formed in order to support the U.S. combat terrorist violence, enabling it to escalate aerial strikes at terrorist hideouts. But, Shaukat [ 26 ] claims that, in its clear context, Zarb-e-Azb's achievements are welcomed worldwide. Umbreen [ 27 ] revealed that terrorist surges in North Waziristan Area occurred following the Rah-e-Nijat operation in South Waziristan Region, and the Rah-e-Rast operation by the Pakistani military in Swat Valley in 2009. Militant violence must also be eliminated if Pakistan's army is to agree to carry out a full-scale operation. And it continued to advance and combat extremism after one year of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

The key aim of the current study is to know more about the role played by media reporting and the effect of Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) in Pakistan's major English newspapers during the war against terror. Therefore, this research helps to explain the facts; did the media play a part in strengthening the image of Pakistan with the foreign community by reporting the OZA? In the sense of the case, what agenda did newspapers adopt? Mekasha [ 28 ] claims, though, that despite international disputes, domestic media policy still creates a good picture of the nation domestically. Framing is used technically, as several findings say that “framing” and “mediate framing ” are already recognized as filed in mass communication [ 29 ].

This is an appropriate medium of analysis to investigate whether the Operation Zarb-e-Azb of their editorials portrayed a war on terrorism, primarily because theory is, “to pick” some facets of a perceived fact “to view,” “to portray,” and “to share” it with an audience [ 30 ], and how it is interpreted as a framing. It is a method that stresses a variety of facets of the modern world and its certain traits of constructing this Hierarchy of Importance with relation to what is essential and what is necessary to render outlines [ 31 ]. The press reporting of popular movements diverging from societal standards condemned such movements' leaders and opposed their proposals and behavior. This is also the opinion of Gitlin [ 32 ], which is to encourage the particular reaction of the audience with whom the material is used by news media to pick and remove framing. Nonetheless, the respondents do not claim that they are responding to whether journalists form their reports as clearly as they depend on them [ 33 ].

Usually a framing influence is called the impact of a context of conversation on individuals [ 34 ]. Goffman [ 35 ] explains the position of the structures of “media contexts” for news and mass communication that help citizens grasp what happens (p. 22). The frames discussed by William, et al. [ 36 ] are essentially the buildings of facts resulting from journalists ’ decisions about information obtained. Frames reflect the sense in which news is published and we assume they can be interpreted in the same way as literary documents (p.8).

The editorial framing is largely affected by media outlets' policies / ideologies. As suggested by Van Dijk [ 37 ], “ideologies represent the basic requirements that are the social identification and the priorities of a community” (p. 25). The editorial writers therefore pick, evaluate and explain details to promote a particular explanation or casual interpretation, truthful appraisal or relation to the given story that gives the organization's policies [ 37 ]. In terms of his theory and vision of the organization, a writer will contend. Saleem [ 38 ] claimed that media frameworks are the instruments which expose a specific problem in media editorials’ ‘language,’ ‘stance’ and ‘ headings. ’ The key features of the principle of framing, therefore, demonstrate the importance of the current research.

The content analysis of the newspaper (The News, Sunrise, the Nation) was carried out from June 2014 to June 2016 with the application of a consensus sampling technique, which observed the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in Pakistan. The total number of editorials examined was 807, 'The News' (170), 'Dawn' (231) and ' The Nation' (406). The material has been contained in the electronic versions of the relevant newspapers. One full editorial was the empirical unit. The study centered on terms in which definitions for current research were made usable. Both the OZA-related editorials either clarified the factors or discussed and the problems resulting in OZA.

The major categories were civil military relationships, world stance, military operation, and outcome analysis. These categories are further divided into minor categories ( Table 1 ).

Table 1: Directions of coverage.

Highly negative, negative, neutral, positive, highly positive are the direction of aforementioned categories. Words and tone are used for analyzing the directions of categories (i.e. socalled, indeed, highly significant etc.) ( Table 2 ).

Table 2: List of frames.

All editorials were analyzed by utilizing a chi-square computerized statistical module (SPSS) that permitted experimenter manipulation of the expected frequencies. Intercoder reliability (Cohen’s Kappa) was attained as follows: ‘Civil Military relationship’ (Govt. Stance, .85; Military Stance, . 77; Alliance between civil military relationship, .77); ‘Military Operation’ (Strategic Position, .73; NAP, .85; IDPs, 1.0; Military Court, .90; Political Parties Stance, .88; Drone Attacks, .88); ‘World Stance’ (Indian Stance, .83; Afghanistan Stance, .82; China Stance, .82; US Stance, .95; Muslims Countries Stance, . 87; Western Countries Stance, .91;); ‘ Outcome Analysis ’ (Safety of a nation against terrorism, 1.0; Enhanced security situation, 1.0; Successful Operation, .82; Admire Pakistan Army, .85).

Findings and Discussions

Table 3 i ndicated that The News presented highly positive 2 (15.4%) and neutral 5 (38.5%) coverage regarding Civil Military Relationship as compared to other newspapers. Dawn had more negative 12 (44.4%) as compared to The News in covering Civil Military Relationship. However, The Nation gave highly negative 14(19.4%) and negative 38 (52.8%) coverage to Civil Military Relationship depicting the negative attitude of military and government regarding military Operation Zarb-e- Azb.

a χ 2 (1, N=807)=13.480, p<0.024 (CMR); b χ 2 (1, N=807)=8.837, p<0.006 (MO); c χ 2 (1, N=807)=27.921, p<0.000 (WS); d χ 2 (1, N=807)=15.721, p<0.042 (OA). Note: CMR: Civil Military Relationship, MO: Military Operation, WS: World Stance, OA: Outcome Analysis. Values in bracket show percentages.

Table 3: Cross Tabulation of The News, Dawn and The Nation, within major categories regarding Print’s Media Coverage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

To differentiate between negative and positive coverage all newspapers produced highly negative and negative coverage to Civil Military Relationship; The News, Highly Negative: 1 (7.7%), Negative: 2 (15.4%); Dawn, Highly Negative: 4 (14.8%), Negative: 12 (44.4%); The Nation, Highly Negative: 14 (19.4%),`

Negative: 38 (52.8%). Hence, all newspapers were more negative towards Civil Military Relationship. Overall, The Nation 72 (100) gave more coverage to civil military relationship as compared to other newspapers. The findings showed significant variation in editorials of three newspapers highlighting Civil Military Relationship. The Nation gave negative coverage to Civil Military Relationship as compared to Dawn and The News, χ 2 (1, N=807)=13.480, p<0.024.

Table 3 also indicated that The Nation gave mostly neutral 36 (44.4%) coverage to issues during OZA (i.e. drone attacks, NAP, IDPs, Military courts etc.) as compared to other newspapers. Findings indicated that all the newspapers gave highly negative 15 (7.4%) and negative 81 (39.9%) coverage to issues related with Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Overall, The Nation 81 (100%) gave more coverage to issues related to military operation as compared to other newspapers. The findings approved the significant variation, χ 2 (1, N=807)=8.837, p<0.006.

Likewise, Table 3 indicated that The News, Dawn and The Nation published mostly positive editorials 63 (32.8%) to world stance which showed the positive attitude of foreign countries towards Pakistan during military Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The Nation 38 (33.9%) and Dawn 16 (30.8%) gave positive coverage as compared to The News 9 (32.1%). Overall, The Nation 112 (100%) gave more coverage to world stance as compared to other newspapers. The findings approved significant variation in the publication of editorials in The Nation, Dawn and The News policy showed positive inclination towards world stance, χ 2 (1, N=807)=27.921, p<0.000. The findings of research strongly approve the research hypothesis, H1: Pakistan ’ s English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) gave significantly positive coverage to the support of foreign countries regarding military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA).

Table 3 also indicated that all the newspapers published the most editorials for outcome analysis 300 of Operation Zarb-e- Azb as compared to other categories (i.e. World Stance 192, Military Operation, 203 and Civil Military Relationship, 112)). To differentiate between positive and negative coverage given to outcome analysis all the newspapers mostly gave positive coverage 85 (28.3%) and highly positive coverage 36 (12.0%) to success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Likewise, the results also showed that The Nation gave more neutral 51 (36.2%) coverage to outcome analysis as compared to Dawn 23 (27.1%) and The News 19 (25.7%). However, The News showed highly negative 11 (14.9%) and negative 18 (24.3%) coverage to outcome analysis as compared to Dawn and The Nation. Overall, The Nation published more editorials 141 of outcome analysis of Zarb-e-Azb as compared to other newspapers. From the results it should be noted that all the selected newspapers significantly highlighted by giving more coverage to outcomes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The findings approved the significant variation in the publication of editorials took stance on outcome analysis, χ 2 (1, N=807)=15.721, p<0.042.

Table 4 showed that all three newspapers gave mostly positive 30 (35.7%) and highly positive 12 (14.3%) coverage to the success of the operation. Total 42 editorials had been published in positive direction as compared to negative, 20. Overall, The Nation (44) gave more coverage to the success of operation as compared to Dawn (23) and The News (17). The findings confirmed significant variation, χ 2 (1, N=807)=48.05, p<0.002. The findings moderately approve the research hypothesis, H2: The coverage of Pakistan’s English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) demonstrated that Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) a successful military operation.

a χ 2 (1, N=807)=48.05, p<0.002 (SO); b χ 2 (1, N=807)=18.55, p<0.041 (SNAT); c χ 2 (1, N=807)=20.62, p<0.026 (APA); d χ 2 (1, N=807)=24.26, p<0.022 (ESS). Note: Values in bracket show percentages. SO: Successful Operation, SNAT: Safety of a nation against Terrorism, APA: Admire Pakistan Army, ESS: Enhanced Security Situation.

Table 4: Cross tabulation of minor categories of outcome analysis.

Table 4 also depicted that these newspapers showed mostly neutral 41 (40.6%) stance towards safety of a nation against terrorism. To differentiate between positive and negative coverage all the selected newspapers mostly gave positive 28 (27.7%) and highly positive 5 (5.0%) coverage as compared to negative 21 (20.8%) and highly negative 6 (5.9%) coverage. The Nation (42) published more editorials as compared to Dawn (32) and The News (27). Overall, the results showed that all the selected newspapers gave more coverage to the category of safety of a nation against terrorism (i.e. 101 editorials) as compared to other categories in the Table 4. The findings confirmed the significant variation, χ 2 (1,N=807)=18.55, p<0.041.

Regarding Admiration of Pakistan Army, Table 4 showed positive inclination of these newspapers ’ policy (28). The Nation (15) and Dawn (7) gave more positive coverage towards Pakistan army efforts as compared to The News (6). Overall, The Nation (19) published more editorials regarding admiration of Pakistan army as compared to Dawn (12) and The News (15). The findings confirmed the significant variation in the publication of editorials on Operation Zarb-e-Azb having the stance of admiration of Pakistan Army, χ 2 (1,N=807)=20.62, p<0.026.

Likewise, Table 4 showed positive policy of these newspapers towards enhanced security situation after Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The Nation (11) published more positive editorials as compared to Dawn (10) and The News (5). The findings also indicated that The News (10) has gave more negative coverage as compared to Dawn (5) and The Nation (7). The findings confirmed significant variation in the published of Operations Zarb-e-Azb having the stance of better security situation after this military operation, χ 2 (1, N=807)=24.26, p<0.022. The findings of research strongly approve the research hypothesis, H3: Pakistan’s English dailies (i.e. The News, Dawn & The Nation) took a positive stance regarding improved security environment in as the result of military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA).

Most of the three newspapers published positive editorials which indicate that foreign countries had a positive attitude towards Pakistan during Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The most current editorials for outcomes analysis compared with other groups, World Stance, Military Civil Partnership, have been written. The government stance during Operation Zarb-e-Azb had been more negatively portrayed by all chosen publications. The success of the operation was portrayed favorably by all three newspapers. Such newspapers were primarily impartial in terms of a nation's defense against terrorism. With respect to Pakistan army appreciation, present study indicated a favorable inclination to the policies of these newspapers. The study concludes that these papers provide a constructive agenda that strengthens the security environment after Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

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Umbreen Javaid

The influx of terrorist outfits in North Waziristan Agency took place after the military offensives Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency and Rah-e-Rast in Swat Valley in 2009 conducted by the armed forces of Pakistan. The new establishment decided to put negotiation on table in 2013 with terrorist outfits and invited them to peace dialogues on January 29, 2014.All through the peace talks, the continued terror activities led to the initiation of a comprehensive operation by the armed forces of Pakistan, targeting all the terrorist outfits. On Army's insistence, the PML-N government after the audacious attack on Jinnah International airport by the Uzbek fighters allowed the army to go for a military offensive in NWA. Two weeks after the operation started, airstrikes were launched and then ground battle receiving army gunships and air force fighter bombers was started. For air force surveillance and intelligence gathering, drones were also used in critical areas. After one year, Operation Zarb-e-Azb is heading towards its last juncture achieving success and eliminating terrorism. However, a possible threat that looms is the reemergence of the Terrorist outfits that slipped the Khost province of Afghanistan that was left unmanned for two weeks despite requests to the Afghan establishment by Pakistan but the Pakistan armed forces are vigilant and determined to root out terrorism from their mother land. Meanwhile, the government must pay heed to de-radicalization and reintegration of Pakistani youth by creating employment opportunities for them and reforming the role of madrassas.

essay on operation zarb e azb

Muhammad Mushtaq

Pakistan joined global efforts to curb the terrorism right after 9/11 and kept on playing vital role as a frontline ally. The country's role in War on Terror was inevitable due to multiple factors such as geography, supply routes and intelligence sharing. With the passage of time, Pakistan carried out numerous operations to dislodge trans-national militants in its tribal areas. After constant terror attacks, it aimed at launching comprehensive operations against terrorists' hiding in every nook and corner of the country. Keeping counter terror policies of Pakistan, the paper is divided in three eras. First, Musharraf era (2001-2008), in which Pakistan relied on military operations, banned extremist organizations, reformed Madrasahs and drone strikes. Whereas, the second era, under Pakistan People's Party encompasses the overwhelming reliance on Drone Warfare and military operations in Swat and South Waziristan Agency. During third era, the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif came up with the idea of peace talks with the militants, that went futile and operation Zarab-e-Azab was *

Dr Muhammad Mushtaq

Towson University Journal of International Affairs


The aim of the paper is to ascertain whether it is practical for Pakistan to apply the Sri Lankan COIN (Counterinsurgency) Model against its primary insurgent group-Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Initially, the paper highlights the characteristics adopted in the Sri Lankan Model that was used successfully against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers. The paper then critically analyses whether Pakistan should reproduce the Sri Lankan Model by taking into consideration both countries', and especially Pakistan's, local, regional and global environment; kind of insurgency threat; and the politics and capability of the armed forces. After analysis it becomes evident that due to differences and intricacies in both countries' scenarios, environments and insurgencies, it is simplistic to state that Pakistan should completely copy the Sri Lankan modus operandi. However, the paper does suggest that there are some caveats and takeaways that need to be appreciated and applied from the Sri Lankan experience. It is concluded that Pakistan continue its successful Zarb e Azb Operation, learn the relevant lessons from the Sri Lankan example, and create a "Pakistani Model" that takes the country's own needs and environment into account.

After 9/11, terrorism became a source of major concern in the world politics. Following the attacks on World Trade Centre, US pressurized Pakistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Pakistan, since then, has continued to be a frontline state in the global war against terror and simultaneously fought a war at domestic front, reiterating its resolve that it will continue till the end of last terrorist. Over the years, Pakistan has been facing with the influx of terrorist outfits in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The jagged and rough territory of FATA is considered as the most inflamed area for terrorist activities by non-state violent actors. The persistent panic; adverse socioeconomic , political and security conditions led the Pakistan's army to start offensive strikes in FATA in order to eliminate perpetuating neo-existential terrorist threats. Resultantly, an exodus of internally displaced people from North Waziristan Agency faced undue consequences of dislocation from their home station. The civilian leadership of Pakistan has been facing daunting challenges of repatriation and rehabilitation process in FATA. The objective of this paper is to look at the varied aspects regarding the rehabilitation process in FATA, its challenges and prospects.

adnan wazir

Pakistan has been adversely affected by the war on terror. It has caused humanitarian catastrophe on an unimaginable scale. Pakistan being the frontline state has conducted number of operations against militants in the FATA region. In the aftermath of the operation Zarb-e-Azb; thousands of people fled from their homes and temporarily migrated to safe areas to seek refuge. This research paper explores the challenges faced by IDPs of North Waziristan during the operation Zarb-e-Azb and in particular highlight challenges which IDPs are facing on return. On return to their native areas IDPs have faced immense challenges due to lack of comprehensive resettlement plan by the government of Pakistan. The research will suggest some recommendations that how government can duly respond to the crisis. How government can support voluntary and durable returns?

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Pakistan being a weak state has had to face daunting crises and challenges in all the main events of international politics. The new focus on Pakistan represents an important shift in the United States threat perceptions because during the Cold War, the US viewed weak states with political and strategic objectives and provided legitimacy to achieve their regional and global objectives. But after the end of the Cold War, weak states especially Pakistan have become important due to the Non-State Actors and the US focus on interstate war by calling on the US military to strengthen the sovereign capacities of weak states to control their territories and combat the internal threats of terrorism, insurgency and organized crimes. In this regard, Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war (1979-1990) has not given positive results to its state system and society and ultimately the country lost legitimacy and the very nature of governance itself became disabled and convulsed by internal violence. Thus the country, undoubtedly, confronts more political, military, and economic threats to its sovereignty.

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  1. Operation Zarb-e-Azb

    Operation Zarb-e-Azb (Pashto/Urdu: آپریشن ضربِ عضب ALA-LC: Āpres̱ẖan Ẓarb-i ʿAẓb; lit. 'Single Strike ') was a joint military offensive conducted by the Pakistan Armed Forces against various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, al-Qaeda, Jundallah and ...

  2. Terrorism in Pakistan has declined, but the underlying roots of

    The Pakistani military's Zarb-e-Azb operation (named for the sword of the Prophet Muhammad) began in 2014 — after a TTP attack on the Karachi airport that June — and increased in intensity ...

  3. The Successes and Failures of Pakistan's Operation Zarb-e-Azb

    Conclusion. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was long overdue, not least because North Waziristan's existence as a safe haven for militants persistently hampered the success of other military operations during 2002-2014. Indeed, militants' ability to rapidly find refuge in North Waziristan to regroup and regain their lost momentum is a major reason ...

  4. Zarb E Azb Operation In Pakistan Essay In English

    Therefore, Operation Zarb-e-Azb was extended, because North Waziristan is a survival place for militants patiently vulnerable the triumph of other martial operations throughout the 2002-2014.Certainly, the capability of militants was hastily found protection in North Waziristan to recover and reclaim their lost force.This is a major cause that Pakistan's chief operations failed to attain ...

  5. Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Two years of success

    The facts released by the ISPR on the two year completion of the operation Zarb-e-azb are self-explanatory to manifest the success of the operation. Over 4,000 square kilometers of land in North Waziristan, including the most treacherous and rugged terrain of Shawal, has been cleared of terrorists, which included 900 terrorists of proscribed ...

  6. PDF Operation Zarb e Azb: A Decisive Strike

    Operation Zarb e Azb The name of Operation Zarb e Azb is inspired by the sword of the Holy Prophet PBUH which he used in the battle of badar and ohad against the spell of kufar. T he literal meaning of the word is ³sharp and cutting strike ´. The meaning of the operation implies to its qualities as a decisive strike against the elements of

  7. Operation Zarb-e-azb: Retrospective View in The Context of Us Response

    Margalla Papers-2019 (Issue-II) [139-147] was decided to clear militant groups from NWA.2 The Pakistan Army launched a military operation against local and foreign militants in NWA on June 15, 2014, fully ... Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Retrospective View in the Context of US Response 141 Margalla Papers-2019 (Issue-II) [139-147] forces have been ...

  8. PDF Operation Zarb-e-Azb: A Successful Initiative to Curtail Terrorism

    Zarb-e-Azb means the 'strike of the sword of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)' used in Badr and Uhud and it is not yet finished. The long awaited Operation Zarb-e-Azb,launched on 15th June 2014 by the state of Pakistan was full scale military operation on North Waziristan Agency and one of the Federally Administered

  9. Understanding Pakistan's Civil-Military Divide

    February 28, 2015. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. On December 10, 2014, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif huddled with top civilian and military advisors to discuss Operation Zarb-e-Azb, an ...

  10. The Afghan Roots of Pakistan's Zarb-e-Azb Operation

    September 18, 2014, 5:40 PM. The Pakistani military is in the midst of an all-out offensive in North Waziristan, the roughly Delaware-sized region bordering Afghanistan's Khost and Paktika ...

  11. PDF ZARB-e-AZB An Evaluation of Pakistan Army's Anti-Taliban Operations in

    contributed papers on the situation in Pakistan and on India-Pakistan peace process for journals like World Focus, AGNI and Dialogue. He has written ... terrorist campaign and taking the much vaunted Operation Zarb-e-Azb in NWA and Operation Khyber - 1 in Khyber Agency to their logical conclusions and disrupt, degrade and destroy the ...

  12. [PDF] Operation Zarb-E-Azb: A Successful Initiative to Curtail

    Operation Zarb-E-Azb: A Successful Initiative to Curtail Terrorism. AbstractThe influx of terrorist outfits in North Waziristan Agency took place after the military offensives Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency and Rah-e-Rast in Swat Valley in 2009 conducted by the armed forces of Pakistan. The new establishment decided to put negotiation ...

  13. Operation Zarb e Azb: A Decisive Strike

    The operation Zarb-e-Azb is greeted with many claims such as attaining remarkable achievements, asserting unprecedented success or even surpassing the expectations.However there is more that meets the eye as like the previous operations Zarb-e-Azb also claimed the lives of many high valued terrorists and contributed significantly to restore the ...

  14. (PDF) A Media Framing Analysis of Political-Military Narrative on

    "Zarb-e-Azb (ZeB)", Pakistan Military's flagship operation against militant outfits operating predominantly from erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas, (FATA) was launched in June, 2014.

  15. (PDF) Causes and factors responsible for Operation Zarb-e-Azb

    Operation Zarb-e-Azb was the continuation of those operations, started as a last vengeance in North Waziristan Agency with the aim to evacuate common people and then to extinguish militants. Resultantly, operation started in the mid of June, 2014 and the people of North Waziristan Agency started migration to the adjacent areas i.e., Bannu ...

  16. Operation Zarb Essay

    Introduction; This paper highlights the causes of operation zarb-e-azb and the problems of IDP's. The cause of operation zarb-e-azb is the terrorism which has degraded the Pakistan in World. Pakistan is one of those countries who is facing the challenge of terrorism. The word terrorism is widely used around the world.

  17. Free Essay: ESSAY On Zarb E Azab

    ESSAY on Zarb e Azab. 12 September 2014 at 17:16 Zarb e Azab and its aftermath. IntroductoryParagraph; Operation Zarb-e-Azb is a combined armed offensive operationlinking the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and fortified rebellious clusters, aswell as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan(TTP), al-Qaeda, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the IslamicMovement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Afghan ...

  18. Operation Zarb e Azb: A Decisive Strike

    Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. Operation Zarb e Azb: A Decisive Strike . × Close Log In. Log in with Facebook Log in with Google. or. Email. Password. Remember me on this computer. or reset password. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. ... Operation Zarb e Azb: A ...

  19. PDF Operation Zarb-e-Azb, IDPs, and the Life in Camps

    Here, they kept hiding for several. ∗Sajad Rasool is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Peshawar. Corresponding email: [email protected]. Zahid Anwar is a professor of ...

  20. Framing of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in English Dailies of Pakistan

    This research explores the coverage of the military Operation Zarb-e-Azb (OZA) during the period from June 2014 to June 2016 by three prominent Pakistani English Dailies; the News, Dawn, and The Nation. A consensus sampling technique was applied to analyze the framing of OZA in 807 editorials of three dailies during the selected period.

  21. Operation Zarb-e-Azb Research Papers

    From June 15, 2014 to August 15, 2014. It found that the general picture of Pakistan army stayed negative in both daily papers before beginning of operation Zarb-e-Azb and after beginning of operation Zarb-e-Azb, both daily papers surrounded Pakistan army in a positive way.

  22. Essay On Operation Zarb E Azb Css Forum

    For Sale. ,485,000. Level: College, University, High School, Master's, Undergraduate, PHD. 100% Success rate. Recent Review About this Writer. Essay On Operation Zarb E Azb Css Forum, How To Write Poetry Essay Introduction, Cheap Term Paper Ghostwriters Sites For College, How To Write A Bid Request, Homework Ideas For Year 3 And 4, Television ...


    Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. OPERATION ZARB-E-AZB . × Close Log In. Log in with Facebook Log in with Google. or. Email. Password. Remember me on this computer. or reset ... OPERATION ZARB-E-AZB. OPERATION ZARB-E-AZB. Sundus Mubeen • The Military Campaign Since 9/11.