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Considering that the attack which took place nearly 3 years ago was an open challenge to the Army engaged in a major anti-insurgency campaign in the 'tribal region', a very strong official retaliation against terrorism would have been expected by observers.

The Wikipedia article on the December 2016 Peshawar Army School attack gives a list of steps taken in response by Pakistan to combat terrorism:

[Extract] Pakistan responded to the attacks by lifting its moratorium on the death penalty, intensifying the War in North-West Pakistan and authorizing military courts to try civilians through a constitutional amendment. On 2 December 2015, Pakistan hanged four militants involved in the Peshawar massacre, whereas the mastermind of the attack (...) was killed in a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan on 18 October 2017. The Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the death sentences of two more convicts involved in the attack (...) on 29 August 2016.

Detailed information regarding action taken is given later in that article.

Pakistan also created a National Action Plan in response to the attack.

The National Action Plan is an action plan that was established by the Government of Pakistan in January 2015 to crack down on terrorism and to supplement the ongoing anti-terrorist offensive in North-Western Pakistan. It is considered as a major coordinated state retaliation following the deadly Peshawar school attack.

(Source)

How have expert political observers evaluated these actions taken by Pakistan against terrorism since December 2014 in response to the Peshawar Army School attack, and what is the published opinion of senior political experts regarding the efficacy of such measures?

Note: kindly try to support your answers with adequate references to avoid any possible objection of being "primarily opinion based."

  • Gave it my best. This is a difficult subject to find much research about! – indigochild Dec 16 '17 at 5:03
  • Considering the not-easy-to-find aspect of topic in question, this is excellent research, thanks a lot @indigochild! – English Student Dec 16 '17 at 9:14
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+50

I spent some time searching for articles about this, but was disappointed. The National Action Plan has received almost no discussion in academic literature, and only a few non-profit organizations have dedicated reports on it.

Based on some of the comments in the PILDAT report (below), it is unlikely that the Pakistani government has conducted any kind of serious evaluation of these policies.

Of the three reports I located, two of them reported mixed success and one reported that the National Action Plan was a failure. I summarize all three reports below, with the most optimistic first.

Moderate Success

Mackinzie Institute

The National Action Plan contained 20 points. An analysis by Dr. Zahid at the Mackinzie Institute (a Canadian security think-tank) concluded that while some of those 20 points had been successfully implemented, Pakistan hasn't been completely successful. He noted two reasons. First, the state has not been able to articulate a clear counter-terrorism policy, which makes it difficult to do much. Second, major stakeholders (such as the military, state, and civilian groups) have not been able to agree on major strategic items.

The Mackinzie Institute is a non-profit think tank. I'm not sure if they are really a "professional observer", but the piece may still be interesting. The author appears to have a Ph.D in a terrorism-related field, but is published in a more humanities-focused journals.

PILDAT

Similarly, PILDAT - a Pakistani organization which provides accountability and monitoring related information, published an update on the NAP's implementation. As of December 2016, they noted few successes. Those successes include a crackdown on terrorists using social media as a platform as well as progress in empowering Baluchistan. However, most of the other items are either not yet implemented or only started as of the report.

The report is fairly detailed. It goes into the specifics of the implementation of each point. The authors attribute some of the failure to the weak powers of Pakistani legislative committees. Apparently they lack much of the procedural power necessary to effectively manage this kind of program.

Failure

International Crisis Watch

International Crisis Group is a non-profit whose goal is to "sound the alarm to prevent deadly conflicts". They published a report on the National Action Plan which colors it as a complete disaster. In their report, they conclude that the NAP had admirable goals (reducing terrorism), but was a heavy-handed punishment mechanism rather than an effective piece of public policy.

In particular, they note a lot of difficulty regarding who is or is not a terrorist. While the NAP originally called for all terrorists to cease activities in Pakistan, in practice the government seems to have allowed some groups to operate openly. The report also notes that key goals had been effectively ignored, such as the closure of madrasas.

Over all, the report finds that there is a critical lack of police capacity, which means that these policies can't be effectively enforced. Additionally, the policies themselves are retributive rather than productive.

  • Thanks for an exceptionally helpful answer in a not-easy-to-research aspect of the problem @indigochild -- the three independent reports taken together will help me to understand what progress has been made in tackling this complicated socio-political crisis. – English Student Dec 16 '17 at 9:18
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Considering that Pakistan is a banana republic where the elected government is bent at the wishes of the army, it seems difficult to criticise or suggest reforms to the country.

The following article shows that there was a lot behind the attack. There is also a tendency by Pakistan to be non cooperative when and if it is criticized.

I have a feeling that experts are wary of commenting for the fear of being accused of meddling into the internal affairs of Pakistan.

  • @English Student I would suggest that you do not rely too much on Wikipedia as anybody can edit the content. You can read the articles but I wouldn't prefer to form impressions solely on these articles. – Shantanu Hebbar Dec 12 '17 at 9:00
  • Thanks for the answer, the link and the reminder @Shantanu H. I depend on Wikipedia only for information and not for impressions. Again, some pages on that site are not so convincing as others. Unfortunately other sources of facts such as journalism appear even more opinionated and their impressions therefore unreliable so do we have an option! – English Student Dec 12 '17 at 11:57
  • For sources of facts, I would recommend Reuters. Even the United Nations accepts Reuters as a reliable agency to quote. Reuters' articles have no opinions and simply provide news, facts and figures. – Shantanu Hebbar Dec 13 '17 at 7:21
  • Many thanks for the recommendation @Shantanu Hebbar. – English Student Dec 13 '17 at 7:22
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    I am puzzled why there has been not more than 1 answer to this question after 12 days @indigochild. Views are also very low although I tried to draw attention by posting a bounty. – English Student Dec 15 '17 at 14:55

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