The scholar sol­dier

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Waqar K Kau­ravi

BACHA Khan Univer­sity be­came the lat­est tar­get of frus­trated ter­ror­ists, who once again chose a soft tar­get and tried to un­der­mine the fu­ture of Pak­istan. Al­though the ter­ror­ists suc­ceeded in breach­ing the de­fences of a civil­ian aca­demic in­sti­tu­tion, they mis­er­able failed to test the re­solve of the peo­ple of Pak­istan. The re­silience dis­played by the civil­ians and by mil­i­tary first re­spon­ders was re­mark­able. Pak­istan Army troops were able to clear and mop up the en­tire univer­sity cam­pus within hours.

The re­sponse this time was mul­ti­lay­ered. The first re­sponse was from the univer­sity guards, fol­lowed by po­lice and the Pak­istan Army. This time the re­solve dis­played by civil­ians, es­pe­cially the fac­ulty and stu­dents of the univer­sity, has set a new level of re­sis­tance against ter­ror­ism.

The peo­ple of Pak­istan have joined the fight di­rectly. The shin­ing star in this fight was a young pro­fes­sor from the univer­sity's chem­istry depart­ment. As de­scribed by eye­wit­ness ac­count, Syed Hamid Hus­sain fought back against ter­ror­ists with gal­lantry and hon­our - set­ting a very high stan­dard of con­duct by civil­ians in this long war on ter­ror. The pro­fes­sor led the fight from the front, warn­ing stu­dents to take cover, and like a dash­ing sol­dier charged on the ter­ror­ists with his pis­tol - tak­ing a hail of bul­lets on his chest.

Fourth Gen­er­a­tion wars are very com­plex, with amor­phous fronts, mul­ti­di­men­sional threats and hid­den en­e­mies min­gled within the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. Fi­nances are man­aged by a sur­ro­gate sys­tem of money laun­der­ing, drugs, smug­gling rack­ets and spon­sor­ship by for­eign in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

Pak­istan is in the very middle of this Fourth Gen­er­a­tion war and needs ex­tra­or­di­nary strat­egy, pol­icy and tac­tics, which to some ex­tent is re­flected in the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan. While we could hope for bet­ter co­op­er­a­tion be­tween var­i­ous law en­force­ment agen­cies and govern­ment de­part­ments, the peo­ple's arm of this war on ter­ror was vis­i­ble for the first time.

Pro­fes­sor Hamid Hus­sain will prob­a­bly go down in Pak­istan's his­tory of the 'war on ter­ror' as the ' scholar sol­dier' and should be posthu­mously ac­knowl­edged as such. A PhD in Chem­istry from Prince­ton Univer­sity, United King­dom, the valiant pro­fes­sor had re­turned to Pak­istan to serve the peo­ple of KP. He cel­e­brated the birth­day of his one-yearold son re­cently, and had dreams of tak­ing re­search in chem­istry to new lev­els.

As the first shots were heard in the early morn­ing hours, the pro­fes­sor had the op­tion of sav­ing his life by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the dense fog in the cam­pus. But the brave leader in­side the young scholar made him de­cide to save the lives of his stu­dents by of­fer­ing the ul­ti­mate price - his own life.

Pro­fes­sor Hamid Hus­sain is not just an in­di­vid­ual; he rep­re­sents the new phe­nom­e­non of civil­ians join­ing the fight against ter­ror. How can Pak­istan's se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus in­cor­po­rate such an as­set into the fight against ter­ror? De­spite the suc­cess of Op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb and jerky move­ment on Na­tional Ac­tion Plan, Pak­istan's se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment could not in­te­grate the po­ten­tial found in the com­mon peo­ple of the land.

A few sug­ges­tions: con­cep­tu­ally peo­ple's par­tic­i­pa­tion should be for­malised as the fourth layer of de­fence against ter­ror. In­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions by our in­tel­li­gence agen­cies could be aug­mented by mo­hal­lah/ward and Union Coun­cil lev­els of par­tic­i­pa­tion by civil­ian vol­un­teers; this would be use­ful in iden­ti­fy­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tors and sym­pa­this­ers of ter­ror­ist groups within a lo­cal­ity. The own­er­ship of this war at the level of com­mon civil­ians (as dis­played by Pro­fes­sor Hamid) could be­come a turn­ing point in the war on ter­ror. We could think of ap­pro­pri­ate fi­nan­cial re­wards for vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ing in NAP.

If we have re­spon­si­ble vol­un­teers with li­censed weapons avail­able to aug­ment the phys­i­cal fight against ter­ror­ists, they could be called the first re­spon­ders. Teams of first re­spon­ders could train and op­er­ate with law-en­force­ment agen­cies and save lot of pre­cious time and lives in a ter­ror at­tack - as was wit­nessed by the gal­lant fight put up by the scholar sol­diers of the Bacha Khan Univer­sity.

Al­though the tra­di­tional political dis­play of unity with the Bacha Khan Univer­sity and the peo­ple of Charsadda was vis­i­ble on the me­dia, we need to be­come more prag­matic and proac­tive. If Pro­fes­sor Hamid Hus­sain could show us what a scholar sol­dier can do when the chips are down, we need prac­ti­cal dis­play and se­ri­ous­ness from our political lead­er­ship as well. NAP has to be taken to its log­i­cal end and all ter­ror­ists and, their do­mes­tic and for­eign spon­sors (from the East or the West), have to be de­feated.

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