Way of the Terrorist

The militant threats to Pakistan are backed by well-defined
ideological inspiration and logistics support from both local
and international terrorist groups.

By Dr. Moonis Ahmar | September 2020

The June 29, 2020 terrorist attack at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) by banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) killed four gunmen, three security guards and a policeman while injuring seven. It raised serious alarms and concerns as it was the deadliest terrorist attack in recent years in Pakistan’s largest city and a financial hub. This meant that the threat of terrorism was not over yet.

Terrorism in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon; it received impetus in the post-9/11 period and some 80,000 people died in countless suicide attacks, bomb blasts and other acts of terror. The December 16, 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) killed hundreds of children along with teachers. It was then that Pakistan the government embarked on a policy to eradicate terrorism from the country under the National Action Plan (NAP). However, it is yet to be determined as to what extent have the requirements of NAP been implemented and why are the banned religious and ethnic terrorist groups still continuing to operate under new names?

Perhaps terrorism in Pakistan is not difficult to gauge because of the complicated socio, economic and political issues which negatively impact Pakistani society and create fertile ground for those elements who want to destabilize the state and society by taking the law into their own hands. If the causes of terrorism are eradicated, the return of peace and stability can be expected. It is observed, however, that a serious and professional approach and stern action has not been taken yet against those who preach hate and violence against religious minorities.

The how’s of terrorism relate to the role of militant, violent and extremist groups when they carry out terrorist acts by targeting innocent people. When the state is unable to establish the rule of law and focus on social and human development, groups taking advantage of under-development, sense of deprivation, frustration and discrimination, resort to the inadvertent use of force and violence in the name of religion or ethnicity. Since religious and ethnic feelings can be effectively exploited, terrorist groups get an opportunity to create fear and panic. The mindset which sanctions intolerance is the real issue and unless that matter is firmly dealt with by the state and society, nothing much can be done about the hows of terrorism.

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The writer is a Meritorious Professor of International Relations and former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Karachi. He can be reached at amoonis@hotmail.com

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