Operation Radul Fasaad has completed four years and to share its successes DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar addressed a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.
The operation was launched by Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa on February 22, 2017 with the strategic intent to normalise the conditions in Pakistan, he remarked.
"We wanted the people to start trusting the nation again and curtail the freedom of expression of anti-Pakistan forces," he said. Terrorism and extremism can only be uprooted when law enforcement agencies work together with society.
"All Pakistanis are sepoys of Operation Radul Fasaad," he said.
Our journey from terrorism to tourism was quite difficult. There has been a focus on Gwadar, K2, and other areas of Pakistan now. "We have come a long way but there is still a lot of ground to be covered and we have to stay together." We can meet all our challenges as long as we stick together.
He even remarked that the country will celebrate March 23 with zeal. The theme for this year's ceremony will be 'One Nation, One Destination'.
Operation Radul Fasaad
The operation was launched as the terrorists had started targeting villages, schools, madrassas, places of worship, and business centres. They tried to paralyse the day-to-day affairs of the country.
Operation Radul Fasaad was launched with a two-pronged strategy in mind: countering terrorism and countering violent extremism. "An ideology can only be countered by a superior ideology---a superior argument," he remarked, adding that to achieve this the National Action Plan was implemented, tribal areas were merged with KP, and educational reforms were passed.
Pakistan's grand strategy in the war against terrorism was: Clear, Hold, Build and Transfer.
From 2010 to 2017, we worked on the 'Clear and Hold' phase which was regaining control of land from terrorists and restoring the writ of the state in merged districts.
Operation Radul Fasaad was launched keeping in mind the 'Build and Transfer' strategy, the spokesperson said. "Our hard-earned gains were made irreversible during this operation."
The Pakistan Army also focused on the socio-economic upliftment of areas and their development during the operation too.
375,000 IBOs conducted in four years
The Pakistan Army spokesperson said that 375,000 intelligence-based operations were conducted by the CTD, FC, Rangers, ISI and MI from 2017 to 2021.
Here's the province wise breakdown of the IBOs.
- Punjab: 34,000
- Sindh: 150,000
- Balochistan: 85,000
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 52,000
Some big and important IBOs were conducted too. "We even countered urban terrorism and destroyed their network." This includes the attack on PC Hotel in Gwadar, the suicide attack near the agriculture university in KP, and the attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and the Chinese consulate in Sindh.
The intelligence agencies made many sacrifices to ensure the country's security. Over 5,000 threat alerts were issued and most of them were neutralised.
At least 335 terrorists were killed and many others arrested. The LEAs seized 72,000 weapons in operations across the country.
Demining merged districts
The Pakistan Army has so far demined 72 kilometres of area in merged districts. "This is a painstaking and slow procedure," he remarked.
Two soldiers were martyred and 119 have been injured during the demining process. "Almost 42% of the area has been cleared."
During the process, 48,000 mines have been seized by the army, the spokesperson said.
The Pakistan Army has worked towards increasing its capacity as it continues to fight against terrorist elements in the country.
Fifty-eight new wings of the FC were established and 15 new wings will be established soon.
The army trained 37,000 policemen, and an additional 4,000 policemen will be trained and deployed in merged districts.
At least 3,065 levies have been trained in Balochistan.
Military courts, TDPs
Many people were displaced during the military operations against terrorists. It was a difficult task to ensure the dignified and safe return of people, also known as TDPs, to their houses.
"So far, 96% of people have returned to their homes," the ISPR DG remarked.
Many military courts were also set up in the fight against terrorism and extremism, he remarked. At least 717 cases were referred to it.
Five thousand people were radicalized and reintegrated into society.
Relations with Afghanistan
Peace in Pakistan is dependent on peace in Afghanistan, said Major General Iftikhar.
"We have played a positive role in ensuring peace in Afghanistan and everyone has acknowledged it."
The Afghan state and people will take the decision that will affect them. "There are all the reasons to be optimistic about what is happening there," he added.