RAWALPINDI: Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addressed a press conference at the army headquarters on Monday. He spoke on the fourth anniversary on the launch of Operation Raddul Fasaad. Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar shared the details about the dividends earned through the operation that was launched on February 22, 2017 by the army under COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The operation was launched to indiscriminately eliminate the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”, consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders, according to a statement issued by the military.
He said the strategic intent of Raddul Fasaad was, and is, a peaceful, stable and normalised Pakistan where people’s confidence in the state is restored and terrorists and extremists are rendered completely ineffective by curtailing their freedom of action.
“While armed forces fight terrorists. Terrorism and extremism can only be defeated by civil law enforcement agencies and society as a whole. That’s how we look at it,” said Maj Gen Iftikhar.
While explaining the operation, the military’s spokespersons aid that “every Pakistani” was a soldier of the operation under the “whole of nation approach”.
He also explained the reasoning behind the operationg, saying that it was launched at a time when the terrorists after seeing the destruction of their infrastructure in tribal areas and facing heavy losses after different operations tried to take refuge in different areas of Pakistan
Maj Gen Iftikhar said that considering such situation the operation was launched was launched under a “two-pronged strategy”.
“One prong focused on counter terrorism and the other focused on violent extremism,” said the DG ISPR.
Giving an overview of the dividends earned through Operation Raddul Fasaad, which was launched on February 22 (today) four years ago, the DG ISPR said this operation was not area-specific and its domain extended to the entire country.
“The strategic intent of Raddul Fasaad was, and is, a peaceful, stable and normalised Pakistan where people’s confidence in the state is restored and terrorists and extremists are rendered completely ineffective by curtailing their freedom of action,” he said.
Highlighting the role of the public in security operations, he added: “While armed forces fight terrorists, terrorism and extremism can only be defeated by the civil law enforcement agencies and society as a whole.”
According to a “whole of nation approach, every Pakistani is a sepoy of Raddul Fasaad”, the ISPR chief said.
The operation was started at a time when terrorists attempted to take refuge across the length and breadth of Pakistan after their infrastructure in the tribal areas was destroyed and after they suffered heavy losses in various operations, he said.
“Considering this environment, Operation Raddul Fasaad was launched through a two-pronged strategy involving counterterrorism domain and counter violent extremism,” he said, adding that the basic cardinals of the counterterrorism plan were that the use of power is the privilege of the state only; stability on the western zone through an effective border management system; and ending terrorists’ support base across the country.
Talking about the counter violent extremism part of the strategy, Maj Gen Iftikhar said “it is clear that an ideology can only be countered by a superior ideology.” In this context, he added, the efforts involved implementation of the National Action Plan, bringing the tribal areas into the national mainstream, and curbing extremist activities through assisting the government in educational, madressah and police reforms.
He said Pakistan’s “grand strategy” in its war against terrorism was based on four concepts: “Clear, hold, build and transfer.”
Between 2010 and 2017, various areas were cleared of terrorists after major operations as per the ‘clear and hold’ phase and the writ of the state was being restored in the tribal areas, the DG ISPR said.
“Raddul Fasaad was the beginning of the build and transfer phase. During this, it was our responsibility to make hard-earned gains irreversible. This would be the real measurement of success against terrorism. After clearing an area [through] kinetic operations, socio-economic uplift and the functioning of civil institutions is the right step towards lasting peace.”
He said in the past four years, more than 375,000 intelligence-based operations (IBO) were carried out under Raddul Fasaad in which the CTD, IB, ISI, MI, police, FC and Rangers all played a role. Of these, more than 34,000 IBOs were carried out in Punjab; over 150,000 in Sindh, more than 80,000 in Balochistan and in KP, more than 92,000.