21 August- International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

Sara Nazir
Sara Nazir

United Nations first observed the ‘International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism’ on August 21, 2018. Following UN, US State Department declared during a press briefing, “We will never forget the victims of terrorism or quit our pursuit of justice and peace.” The Day encourages people all around the world to get together and show their support for those who have been affected by the worldwide threat of terrorism.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan also paid tribute to the families of Victim of terrorism by stating that, “We recognize sacrifices of countless individuals around the world who have laid down their lives in fighting the menace of terrorism. We pay homage to our heroes who sacrificed their precious lives and have successfully eradicated the menace of terrorism from the country. While turning the tide of terrorism, Pakistan has suffered over 80,000 casualties and economic losses of US $150 billion, with no other parallel in the world”. 

While remembering the people of Kashmir, the statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry further stated that “we especially honour the victims of terrorism in Pakistan, IIOJK, Palestine and other parts of the world. The oppressed people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) deserve our special tribute for their unparalleled sacrifices while fighting the worst form of state terrorism unleashed by Indian security forces. India’s unabated reign of terror in IIOJK has led to death of over 90,000 Kashmiris”.

The 9/11 incident is the single most important event that led to the advent of full-scale terrorism in Pakistan. Later on, the US-led Afghanistan invasion in 2001 pushed terrorists entities across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border mainly into Pakistan’s tribal belt. Resultantly, Pakistan, over the past two decades, has been engaged in a constant struggle against terrorism with belief that terrorism in every manner and manifestation is unacceptable and an evil that needs to be rooted out from the world. To keep their nation and the whole region safer, brave security forces and people of Pakistan have been fighting a heroic war against terrorism. As a result of unyielding counter-terrorism efforts of Pakistan’s security forces, the country saw only 319 terrorism-related incidents in 2020, a decrease from about 4000 such incidents in 2013, according to the South Asian Terrorism Portal.

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India discovered a favorable strategic setting to inflict an unparalleled amount of violence through state-sponsored terrorism mostly maneuvered through Afghanistan. Terrorism persists to be most prevalent alongside Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, with 63 percent of attacks occurring there.  Even though Pakistani military ramps up its efforts to carry out special operations to eradicate and destroy terrorist sleeper groups in the region time and again, third party actors still manage to create occasional havoc in the country. A horrific example of isolated intimidation-based militancy is seen in the violence that was unleashed, on December 16, 2014, at the Army Public School in Peshawar. The APS massacre, which claimed the lives of more children than any other terrorist strike in history, was the deadliest act of terrorism ever committed against defenseless children.

Not limited to such incidents, India has been involved in operating a number of terrorist camps in Afghanistan which include members from various internationally outlawed terrorist organizations exploited by the BJP government to carry out terrorist activities on Pakistan’s soil. India reportedly supports a number of terrorist groups financially and materially, including those UN has designated as terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Baloch Liberation Army. The special terror finance unit that reports directly to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has so far given 22 billion to several terrorist organizations is in charge of such activities by the Indian government. Due to India’s proxy warfare in Pakistan, the country again saw a slight increase in terrorism-related fatalities globally in 2022, with a total of 643, a 120 percent increase over the number of fatalities (292) in the year prior.

While the international community acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts in fighting a long and deadly war on terror, on this day of ‘Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism’ it should also condemn India’s terrorist designs aimed at undermining not only Pakistan’s stability but of the region as a whole. As India’s BJP government continues to terrorize the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, creating terrorist pockets in Afghanistan, fabricating fake internal strife in Pakistan’s Balochistan and committing terrorist acts against its own minorities, Pakistan has single handily become the champion of not only fighting but winning unconventional and sub-conventional warfare. While the Pakistani nation pays tribute to the victims of terrorism, it has also showcased its unyielding resolve to fight this menace by leaving no stone unturned.

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The author is a gold medalist in Strategic Studies from Air University Islamabad and currently teaching as visiting faculty in a university based in Islamabad. She regularly writes on South Asian security and strategic issues.
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