Major developments took place on the regional and internal security canvas of Pakistan in year 2015. Let’s call this 2015 a year of hope, time of buoyancy and ray of optimism for Pakistan. Last December left Pakistanis with heavy heart and bad memoirs regarding APS incident. We have seen Pakistan bleeding since its alliance in War on Terror. Pakistan’s internal security and stability witnessed new concept of national security on domestic and foreign front. Its policy with Afghanistan kept on changing because of Afghan’s war fiasco. Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad in December, 2015 was a significant step forward towards restoration of peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan is positively contributing for Afghanistan’s stability, and this conference had sent this message to the world very loudly. Despite purity of intent, a positive outcome is not expected in such short span of time. Visits of Army Chief and other officials to Afghanistan show Pakistan’s commitment to get rid of militancy from its soil. But this fight of Pakistan is not only for its soil but for peace of region too.

According to an independent Islamabad based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), 2015 proved to be a much better year in terms of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism. Recently its digital database came forward in which statistics of human losses during one and half decade are mentioned. There is always some contradiction between the number of deaths of combatant’s vs non-combatants, and same for the injured persons. According to the report, almost 47 thousand Pakistanis have lost their lives since 9/11. A large number is of militants who were killed by armed forces in counter operations and by militants, local populace or civilians were targeted more than security forces personnel. The strategy of using IED’s or bomb blasts was found more effective by militants with suicide attacks on following. A new pattern of militant assault also gave new dimension to war technique. According to this database Pakistan’s fight against terrorism can be divided into five phases. The first phase extends from 2001 to 2004 when the violence was at its lowest level. The second phase began after Pakistan sent its armed forces to FATA and the militants spread all over the country. The third phase started after Lal Masjid operation of July 2007 which pushed militancy to highest level. Military operation in Swat and South Waziristan were fourth phase which helped in reduction of violence but not as much as the last phase after Peshawar school massacre of December, 2014.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb not only brought down number of militant attacks to 7 years low but financial losses due to the war on terror are also down to the lowest financial figure of $4.53 billion since 2001. KSE reached its highest index as compared to the past five years and touched 33469.15 points in July 2015. This report gives hope that Pakistan will sail through smoothly against the tides of militancy in coming time provided Pakistani leadership, political parties, armed forces and people from all walks of life keep on contributing towards better internal and external security dogma.

Pakistan alone cannot battle militancy if the propaganda against its sovereignty continues. From Indian side cross border violations were seen more frequent this year. Though at the end of year we have seen visit of Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and surprise visit of Indian Prime Minister to Pakistan on 25 December, 2015. Apparently this visit was to wish PM Nawaz Sharif on his birthday but media attention given to Modi for four hours shows somehow Indian objective to grab attention and forget Pakistanis about the birthday of our great Quaid-e-Azam. Similarly, few media quarters remained unnecessarily exited and optimistic about Indian foreign minister’s visit. We must not forget Kashmir dispute is the core issue for Pakistan for which India so far maintains rigidity. Responsibility for Afghan internal instability primarily rests with foreign elements including USA, Russia and NATO forces. Indian coercive strategy, aggressive posture and patronization to anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan is persistently spoiling the peace probabilities. Master minds of APS carnage and so called Baloch nationalists involved in multiple terrorist acts are hiding in Afghanistan. Pakistan must go for vigilant strategy in future with all international key players as its internal security rely on its external policy towards its neighbors.

With the economic developments and foreign investments coming in Pakistan, CPEC and other infrastructure projects flourishing in country, internal security against militancy getting better day by day, seeing safer Baluchistan, KPK and FATA then previous times, let’s hope 2016 is a happier year for Pakistan.