Recent Terror Attacks in Pakistan
In most recent times, it seems that Pakistan has been in the news often for the countless amount of terror attacks involving hundreds of deaths. The most publicized of attacks in recent times was the attack in December of 2014, which brought outcry across the world due to its saddening 132 schoolchildren deaths. Above shows some of the major attacks since the school attack, which might have you believe that terrorism seems to be on the rise in Pakistan. However, just the opposite is true.
According to countless sources, Pakistan seems to be acting quickly and effectively in resolving its terror problem through the military targeting tribal regions, their expansion of counter-intelligence, and denial of terror groups having social space in the country. A report by the US State Department stated that in 2015 Pakistan has had a 45% decrease in terror attacks, 39% decrease in total deaths, 53% decrease in total injuries, and 69% decrease in hostage and kidnapping attacks. Such statistics show a drastically different view of Pakistan than before. No longer is Pakistan viewed as the country that turns a blind eye towards terror groups, for now they now have an effective military and leadership that can produce such drastic improvements in decreasing terrorism in the country. Germany’s own ambassador to Pakistan recently sat down with one of the Pakistani Generals to acknowledge the great strides it has taken to reduce terrorism.
In early January of 2017, the law which allowed the controversial secretive military courts to charge civilians as terrorists expired. The government has already stated that they are in the process of reviving the law as early as a week after it had expired. This new power given to the military courts was enacted after the horrible attack in Peshawar which left countless schoolchildren dead. The goal of giving the power to the military courts was to expedite the process of charging terrorists behind closed doors and enacting quick and harsh punishments. Various human rights organizations have been questioning the legitimacy of whether such courts allowed citizens rights such as fair trials and punishments. Even though many politicians in Pakistan are wary of the secrecy behind the courts, the effects of the courts have brought hundreds of terrorists to death and hundreds sentenced to jail while drastically lowering the amount of terror attacks in the process.
In my opinion, it is hard to dispute the good that the new initiatives by Pakistan have brought in reducing terrorism. My own mother is from the country and hasn’t been back since she came to America 20 years ago. She has often repeated how dangerous the country is and that we would never visit, but perhaps this new age which has brought changes in the way the government and military deal with terrorism will one day allow me to visit Pakistan with my mother.
New Economic Development
A new investment called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) began in 2015, with the goal of China investing $46 billion in Pakistan while allowing China to expand its influence over Pakistan and the surrounding areas in order to counteract US influence.
The economic investment from China is posed to allow China access to the Middle East and Africa while furthering a strong bond with Pakistan. By China investing in Pakistan they are able to counteract India’s growth by allowing Pakistan, India’s fierce rival, to prosper economically to the point that Pakistan is now beating India in equity markets and geopolitics.
The CPEC will help to create infrastructure in Pakistan such as updated highways, pipelines, and container traffic. This will help Pakistan to further its industrialized economy with the economic push from the CPEC, while also adding stability to the country through China’s influence.
With Pakistan traditionally having a difficult time with rampant corruption, it will be interesting to see how the investment plays out, and whether the investment yields prosperity for not only the elites but the common people as well.
After listening to my family talk about Pakistani politics for years, the one common saying I remember was that Pakistan has the potential to grow and become a dominant economic player at the world table, if only the political leaders weren’t so corrupt. It also had to do with why much of my family had left the country, for the opportunities to succeed simply were not there. I believe that after this multi-billion dollar investment pans out, so long as the political leaders can focus on growing Pakistan instead of their pockets, then Pakistan will be able to show its true potential to the world.