Terrorism expanded in Pakistan due to state’s sympathetic policy for terrorists in Kashmir, Afghanistan. By Farooq Ahmad

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The origins and nature of terrorism in Pakistan and social, political and economic factors that have contributed to the rise of political violence there is known to everybody in the world. Since 9/11, the state of Pakistan has come to be regarded as the epicentre of terrorist activity committed in the name of Islam. The central argument of this volume suggests that terrorism in Pakistan has, in essence, been manufactured to suit the interests of mundane political and class interests and effectively debunks the myth of 'Islamic terrorism'.

A logical consequence of this argument is that the most effective way of combating terrorism in Pakistan lies in addressing the underlying political, social and economic problems facing the country. But while exploring the root causes of terrorism in Pakistan, one needs to relate the historical narrative of the development of the Pakistani state. The many complex factors that have shaped the rise of Pakistani terrorism need to be understood by the world before it will be too late.

The terrorism expanded in Pakistan when the state initiated soft and sympathetic policy for militants operating in Kashmir and Afghanistan and their facilitators in the country. The policy provided extremist groups as well as their political patrons with an opportunity to build a narrative of holy war and permeate it into the students studying in mainstream education institutions in the country. The devastating consequences of this policy emerged as a widespread extremism and radicalisation of youth.

Inappropriate education provides foundations for the proliferation of extremism in Pakistan, which in the long run emerges as abomination and violence. Criticism of Pakistani mainstream education is not a new phenomenon, but this time the teachers who are directly involved in this process are showing their dissatisfaction. The students who study in Pakistani elite universities are accepting radicalised narrative mainly propagated by right wing religio-political parties.

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan is finding it extremely difficult to tackle the impending challenge posed by Islamist hardliners. This can no longer be hidden that Pakistan is in deep trouble. The worsening law and order situation points toward an internal security challenge that Pakistan has not faced for a long time. There have been unsustainable arguments on how Pakistan’s military establishment successfully dealt with the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and therefore the Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) can also be dealt with.

The TLP has been openly radicalizing Pakistani youths whose impact might not be clearly visible immediately, but has huge ramifications for Pakistani society in the longer-run. Those radicalized are based in Pakistan and strongly believe in religious narratives that are blatantly intolerant and fanatic. That is why the people protesting in the streets across Pakistan have scant regard for the judicial institutions, and are not willing to buy the argument that there is no evidence against Aasia Bibi that could prove she committed blasphemy.

 

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