Published:  12:24 AM, 10 March 2019

Pakistan's welcome move against jihadists

The decision by Pakistan's government to crack down on militant groups and mosques in the country is a commendable move. The move comes against the background of the recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, a massacre which swiftly led to air attacks by India and Pakistan against each other.

It cannot be said that the situation has returned to normal, for there are yet the fears that conditions could go haywire if another terrorist attack takes place.Pakistan's move against the militants through seizing their offices and other facilities should now go the full length without raising any questions about it being a new instance of rhetoric on the part of its new government.

Indeed, the country's information minister has let it be known that the action against the jihadists by the Imran Khan-led government is different from that of previous governments in that the new people in office in Islamabad will not be paying lip service to the issue.

That should bring good tidings for the people of both Pakistan and India. When last week, Pakistan's prime minister swiftly moved to have a provincial minister sacked over his incendiary remarks against Hindus, it was a gesture that was appreciable.

Imran Khan will hopefully be able to continue on such a path and convince his people that supporting terrorism or looking away from it can only harm Pakistan's national interests.The decision to go after the militants comes, of course, following the intense pressure the international community has been exercising on Islamabad since the Pulwama attack in particular.

Along with that has come a concerted Indian bid to isolate Pakistan globally, with the results already beginning to be seen. Obviously, such pressures have had an effect on the thinking of the Pakistan military, which has, despite not taking power in recent years, been effectively the arbiter of the country's foreign and defence policies.

Add to that the infamous role the army's inter-services intelligence (ISI) has played in an expansion of cross-border terrorism over the years. One is not quite sure if the civilian government led by Imran Khan, one that was carefully engineered to power by the army, will be able to seize the initiative from the soldiers. But the move against the militants is a good start.

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