For the first time in the history of Pakistan’s extremism sickness, in 2014 a National internal security policy NISP was formulated to cure the decaying state structure plagued and clawed by extremism. All appears spotless at the moment one reads through respective draft of the policy, however failure at tangible implementation and expected outcome leaves a bad taste in mouth, which vehemently exposes the fragility of the security apparatus. As a matter of fact, Pakistan has formulated several but timely anti terrorism policies over the period of time, from among them, Suppression of Terrorist Activities Ordinance enacted in 1975 by Z.A.Bhutto was first in line followed by many such attempts till date. Horrifically, the menace of terrorism has seeped deeper into the rows of our daily lives however it remains unnoticed and keeps draining its way silently through weakest corners until each time an APS happens. Sadly, realization that normalcy is becoming history hits the core of the social fabric only when the blood leaves its strongest taste.
The first and the foremost obstacle in the way of such security lapse is none other than something quite intangible, though its significance is greater than any other requisite for tackling terrorism; a mindset. But where does that come from? – It comes from education. To instill the students, the citizens with the concept of tolerance, harmony, civil liberties, fairplay, socio economic liberties, which may sound quite an obsolete terminologies repeatedly stated to leave an impression of goodwill, as a matter of fact there has not been such need of these qualities ever more before. Undoubtedly, Pakistan is facing serious traditional and nontraditional threats, where only a proactive national narrative could make it possible to survive through it. Sectarianism, provincialism, fanaticism, extremism – all the “isms’ have adversely affected country’s economic stability and social harmony. A national narrative though does not function like a magic wand and cannot be termed as an alternative to instant scientific solution, it takes dedication and a well planned roadmap in order to achieve desired destination. Thus a national narrative does sets collective goals to be achieved in a polarizing national settings while it lubricates the machinery frequently fluctuating over unidentified problems i.e. extremism, radicalization etc. Why not initiation of nation wide counter terrorism/extremism curriculum development taking the lead in this case? – In order to make it appear less intimidating, it could be titled as Peace studies, where students would be given a chance to become future torch bearers to ensure future peace building measures. Moreover, such a need has been recognized in contents of National Counter Terrorism Authority of Pakistan NACTA, National Action Plan NAP and National Internal Security Policy NISP emphasizing for a robust civil-military cooperation or the concept of nation wide inclusive-policy, where public is largely engaged in highlighting the problem areas, assisting the intelligence, and disowning any activities endorsing extremist sentiments.
Countering Ideological Extremism
The role of extremism itself has a history in the country, which emanates from certain school of thoughts having adopted ideologies based on politico-religious grounds, ethno-nationalism, separatism or racism. Notwithstanding, Pakistan is unique in its social setting, where general public, or the national outlook is traditionally associated with the spirit of Islam, however disapproving the dystopia, an average Pakistani citizen does not endorse violent acts or sentiments of extremism, yet they also explicitly denounce extreme activities disregarding religious ideals held significantly close as an influence in day-to-day environment. Unlike China’s Uighur anti-extremism measures or Tajikistan’s law enforcement personnel taking stringent steps to curb rising extremism in country, shaving 13,000 beards and banning Arabic-sounding names like Muhammad and convincing women to give up head scarves, Pakistan is more sensitive to such uncompromising measures thus only approving of more balanced stance where religious sanctity remain intact. Therefore, this conspicuous element further highlights the need of a distinct national narrative, a roadmap defining contours of country’s ideological foundations in order to counter extremism and drawing much needed lines between average religious practices and unacceptable extremism.
Moreover, the founder of Pakistan himself endorsed an ideology for his prospective country to be more pluralist and heterogeneous – Jinnah’s world view had no place for religious priests with a divine mission. He said in February 1948: “In any case Pakistan is NOT going to be a theocratic State – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians and Parsis – but they are ALL Pakistanis. They will enjoy the SAME rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.
Association of academia
Comprehensive Response Plan CRP as detailed in NISP entails engagement of broad based stakeholders including general public, intelligentsia, religious scholars, media and academia in state’s fight against terrorism. The most basic challenge faced by the state in countering extremisms remains that terrorists usually lurk in shadows, they target the state in such way that it affects it in all dimensions, whether physical, psychological or ideological. Their objective is to proliferate confusion among masses resulting into disharmony, sentiments of conflict making way for delinquent terrorist organizations. National counter terrorism policies have repeatedly stressed over formulating a nation-wide alliance of religious leaders representing all major groups and segments, similarly an alliance representing academia, intelligentsia and even media representatives should be stressed upon, as they hold a great role to play in possible peace building measures.
Ensurance of Fundamental rights
Constitution of Pakistan states rights of its citizens, including minorities. It must be reinstated that terrorism, radicalization, spread of ideological extremism is easily contagious when supported by a weak governmental infrastructure, vis-a-vis rule of law.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN, 1973
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND PRINCIPLES OF POLICY
Chapter-1 : Fundamental Rights
Article-20: Freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions
Subject to law, public order and morality-
(a) Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and
(b) Every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
Article-21: Safeguard against taxation for purposes of any particular religion.-
No person shall be compelled to pay any special tax the proceeds of which are to be spent on the propagation or maintenance of any religion other than his own.
Article-22: Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc.
(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.
(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.
(3) Subject to law.
(a) No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and
(b) No citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.
(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the Advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.
Article-25: Equality of citizens.-
(1) All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
(2) There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.
(3) Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.
Chapter-2 : Principles of Policy
Article-36: Protection of minorities.-
The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.
‘’’Henceforth, it is none other than country’s successive governments, political bigots claiming to have fulfilled their promise of democracy have in fact failed to provide the basic justice, equality, rule of law and ensurance of implementation of fundamental rights in the country.
Ruling out the involvement of a foreign hand in sabotaging country’s stability while lamenting on Pakistan’s terrorism question would be completely unfair. Along the surge of rapid national security policies, foreign policy and diplomatic affairs shall also be redesigned to address foreign involvement in various instances reported over the period of time >> e.g. ‘’’Pakistan has presented a dossier containing evidence against Indian involvement in Pakistan especially in its terror-ridden Balochistan province. Pakistan’s stability is widely dependent on its neighbours with India on its east, Afghanistan and Iran on west, China in north, thus it is interesting to discover that all these significant countries carrying distinct recognition in world political arena have greatly influenced Pakistan’s internal security paradigm. India with its traditional rivalry, Iran with its indifference and instances of involvement in bordering Baloch province, while Afghanistan sharing largest porous border with Pakistan has most affected the country with its terror spill over post 9/11, whereas on a whole all of them have widely played a negative role in bringing Pakistan’s fight against terrorism to its lowest ebb. Moreover, Pakistan in order to tackle the menace of unending terrorism must adopt Hitler-like Nazi ideology, only that this one is determined for a cause leading to a greater good of not just the country but the world at large. Just as Fuhrer’s antisemitism had lead to nation’s fanaticism disowning and banishing each jew found lurking in streets of Germany, Pakistan should initiate its own homegrown anti-extremism campaign surveilling streets of each city, with citizens as a party to achieve terror-free Pakistan. Mere formulation of glamourous anti-terrorism policies with catchy terms would not be enough to kill the boogeyman, a national anti-extremism narrative based on broad based inclusive-policy is the way forward.