The unprecedented wave of terrorism has utterly engulfed Pakistan and constantly sabotaging its National Security in acutest form. Terrorism, actually, is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behaviors by inculcating fear, uncertainty and divisions in society. Till now, it seems that they are pretty successful in inculcating a plenitude of fear and deluge of resentment among us. Pragmatically, State is still oblivious of the policies which will curtail terrorism and oblige non-state actors to capitulate.
But wait for a second and recall the maxim of Martin Luther King.
“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
Yes, we cannot become a Utopian state but still we can free ourselves from the clutches of pandemonium and monster of terrorism. There is a dire need to force non-state actors to relinquish their counterfeit rule from the region of Pakistan.
The basic principles on which an ideal anti-terrorism policy should be chalked out are very clear: Firstly the civil, military and intelligence agencies should be on the same page. There should be no unnecessary divisions among these institutions. Usually, in Pakistan, every institution works independently, with coordinating with parent or sister agencies, considering itself aloof. But for concrete results, we have to eradicate these divisions. Proper Intelligence sharing should be ensured to make the communication channel effective.
To maintain the writ of the state, Article 256 of the constitution of Pakistan should also be implemented in letter and spirit which states:
“No private organisation capable of functioning as a military organization shall be formed and such organizations will be illegal.”
This article vividly illustrates that it is the responsibility of the State to not even rely on pro-government non-state actors. They should also be eradicated along with real antagonists of the state.
A successful counter-terrorism strategy simultaneously embarks on socio-political development to take capitalize on strategic gains. Projects in the fields of infrastructure development, health and more significantly education will improve population’s association with state identity. The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet, Nelson Mandela said:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. It will surely enlighten the dark places with the gems of sagacity.
Furthermore, de-weaponisation is a must in order to efface terrorism. But alas, still now Karachi is flooded with unregistered ammunition which is being used to assail the National Security of Pakistan. In this context, stringent action should be taken against those who are keeping unregistered ammunition. The laws governing the manufacture, sale, transfer and licensing of arms should be given prime importance and checked vigilantly by security forces.
State also has to curb the foreign hand which is providing equipment to the terrorists and ultimately adding fuel to the fire. We do not avert our eyes from the seeds sown by General Zia-Ul-Haq. We have to eliminate any foreign hand, quit hosting proxy wars and also stop funding madressahs and religious charities which fan terrorism.
In order to establish writ of the state, we have to reoccupy no-go areas whether in Karachi or FATA. We cannot let anyone exacerbate existing situation by occupying even few areas of Pakistan. Zero-tolerance should be adopted against these non-state actors who are involved in these heinous acts because territory once lost can hardly be recovered through negotiations. There should also be no distinction between good or bad Taliban.
Meanwhile, our criminal justice system is so fragile that we cannot send even a single terrorist to gallows. Also it has been witnessed in Karachi that the same terrorist who was involved in a crime few months ago is arrested again for some other act. Recently, we also set free scores of terrorists and handed them to their respective groups, in the name of peace negotiations. This reveals the utter inefficiency of our courts and criminal justice system. One is not able to fathom why the words of penalty are lurking behind the actions of Anti-Terrorism Court.
There is a dire need of a separate Anti-Terrorism Force in each province which will be well-trained to deal with terrorism at ground level with iron hands. Last but not the least , any literature inciting violence in the name of religion must be banned and teachers as well as preachers who spew hatred and issue fatwas declaring others worthy of death must be prosecuted and punished.
No doubt our present government has to take some brave actions in order to escape this quagmire.
By: Atif Ameer
Writer is student of English Literature in Government College University Lahore (Pakistan)