Imran Khan's terror policy backfires as Pakistan grapples with terrorism

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sympathy with terrorist groups and his policy of making bargains with them have backfired on the country by encouraging terrorists to up their ante.

Khan, as a premier, made an overreach to the terrorist groups and even batted for them as he sought reconciliation with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terror outfit banned in Pakistan.

Insisting that he did not favour military solutions, the former premier once called terrorists “normal citizens” and even said that the US “really messed it up” in Afghanistan by initially finding a military solution and later looking for a political solution, reported Islaam Khabar.

Refuting the allegations of Pakistan’s direct support to the Taliban with over 10,000 Pakistani fighters travelling to Afghanistan to assist the Taliban in their war against the West-backed Afghan government, Imran Khan claimed that they were not Taliban or its supporters, but “normal civilians, who are returning to their country”.

He also endorsed the belief that the Afghan Taliban was fighting a holy war or “Jihad” against the enemies of Islam in Afghanistan. Earlier in 2012, “Imran Khan had repeatedly tried to justify the Taliban’s terrorism, calling it a ‘holy war’ for Islam”, reported the media outlet.

However, Khan’s terror policy of sympathising with the perpetrator of violence backfired as Pakistan witnessed a massive increase in terror attacks in the country, so much that Khan even pleaded with the United Nations to stop cross-border terrorism emanating from Afghan soil.

While Pakistan facilitated the travel of TTP terrorists to Afghanistan to help the Taliban in its war against the Afghan government, it is now itself grappling with the terror attacks carried out by the group that now wants its fighters to be allowed to return to Pakistan after the Afghan Taliban began pressurising them to leave their country.

Moreover, the Peshawar mosque attack in March this year that led to the killing of 63 Shia worshippers and injuring 200 was a wake-up call for Imran Khan about the failure of his terror policy.

The TTP’s desire is to overthrow, violently or otherwise, the Pakistani state and impose their interpretation of Sharia throughout the country and there is no offering short of this, no concession or act of generosity, that Islamabad will be able to buy TTP forbearance with,” the media outlet reported citing sub-continental counter-terror experts.

Further, the recent Pakistani military airstrike in the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Khost and Kunar as retaliation to TTP attacks from across the border demonstrates how the country is grappling with self-sponsored terrorism.

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