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Patronising banned outfits... By Fozia

30 January, 2014

As a part of its wider strategy to combat extremism and militancy, the Nawaz government is reportedly planning a targeted operation against the banned outfits in the country's settled areas, including Punjab, where Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and the parties affiliated to it have been living peacefully for years now. The decision was welcomed by the people from all walks of life and schools of thought. But neither is there an indication of the government's preparedness for the operation nor any announcement has been made as to when this operation will be conducted. Ahmed Rashid, the author of Descent into Chaos, sees this indecision as a reflection of PML-N's fear of the impact the operation could have on the otherwise peaceful Punjab. The government needs to devise and adopt pre-emptive strategies to keep the fallout of a military operation from spilling over into the cities. But holding over the operation because it might upset the applecart of the PML-N's government in Punjab is absurd and cynical. The fact remains that LeJ and its affiliated groups are hiding in Punjab under the nose of the government. The record of their atrocities and the hell they have created in the country leaves no reason for the government to keep pursing its policy of appeasement towards the terrorists.

Fozia S Niazi

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