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Wholesome approach of combating extremism

Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
According to media reports, the terrorist organization Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has beheaded fifteen kidnapped soldiers of Frontier Corps. ISPR has yet to confirm this media report. 


The TTP spokesperson of Malakand division, Sirajuddin and central spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan has confirmed this to AFP. As per media reports, “Many of them were killed by bullets, 12 of them as you see have been beheaded, you see 12 heads here, and more heads are on the way.” This is not the first incident of its kind. TTP and other militant groups disguised themselves in religious colour have undertaken such brutal acts against persons of security forces and other innocent civilians in last one decade. The TPP undertakes these terrorist acts from Pakistani soil as well as from its hideouts in Afghanistan. They escaped to Afghanistan once Pak Army undertook military operations in Malakand, Swat and SWA.
Over the past few months, TTP is carrying out organized attacks from its hideouts in Afghanistan on Pakistani security forces posts along Pak-Afghan border as well as on innocent civilians, who do not accept their ideology or ordain. Reportedly TTP is fully backed by some Afghan elements, especially its intelligence agency and others outsiders backing them. 
Just a few days earlier TTP militants “crossed over from Kunar province in Afghanistan” and attacked Batwar village in Bajaur. Pakistani security forces beat back the attack, killing many of the militants and cleared the village and surrounding areas. Over the years, the TTP with its extremist ideas has increased its network all over the country and has been successful in attracting the youth towards its ideology. 
If TTP is allowed to continue this practice unabated, the day is not far that in another few years, it will have a sizeable portion of Pakistani society, particularly the unemployed youth hostage to it. Can Pakistan afford such a situation? The question has to be addressed by the decision makers of Pakistan. After all, who thought before 2007, that TTP would be so effective and unbridled? 
As a whole, Pakistani nation needs to ponder over this gloomy development seriously before it is too late. In the same backdrop, Pakistani Army Chief, General Kayani in his address to the cadets of Pakistan Military Academy on August 14, 2012 said that, we have to fight against this growing menace of extremism and terrorism. Indeed, already we are in a state of war against the extremism and terrorism for the last many years. This is a war Pakistani nation as a whole has to fight. No other nation or state is going to fight for us. Ultimately, the security forces of Pakistan and the nation have to tackle this menace; otherwise there will be no safe place in Pakistan for the 180 million peace loving people. Today we cannot say that this is American war or European war. Since we are sufferer, thus we have to fight it out. 
Going over the Islamic ideology, we as a nation has to understand that, Islam preaches peace and harmony between the people, societies and nations, rather extremism and terrorism. The holy Quran says, “If someone kills another person, it is as if he had killed all mankind”. 
Thus, the teaching of Islam is that, ‘a person who kills even a single man indeed commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind on earth and such people will have a painful punishment’. In no part of the Quran does Allah command believers to “respond to violence with violence”, but rather commands Muslims to ‘respond to evil with goodness’. A perusal of Quranic dictates clearly shows that Islam teaches peace and tolerance and asks the believers to exercise compassion and justice; thus Islam and extremism and terrorism cannot be equated. Islam forbids terrorism and aims to bring peace and security to the world. In fact, no divine religion permits terrorism and violence. 
Since Pakistan was created on the name of Islamic ideology, the belief which teaches peace and love and rejects the hatred and killings, how can we allow intrusion of these brutal forces like TTP in the Pakistani society? The father of the nation visualized Pakistan as a modern democratic country having peaceful and tolerant society which will be a role model for rest of the world. Unfortunately, after the death of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the vision could not be implemented. In its later history, owing to many domestic and external factors, a section of the peaceful society of Pakistan was driven towards extremism with terrorism as its extreme form. The major contributory factors were the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 and the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. In either case the geopolitics of Pakistan, owing to its significance and contiguity with Afghanistan was used. Indeed, not only geopolitics, but the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan were used. 
Thus, one can say that, the current state of instability in Pakistan is the result of a series of direct intercessions in Afghanistan by Russia and the United States. The 9/11 was a milestone in the current history of Pakistan and is a source of inconceivable domestic turbulence and extremism in the society especially in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), part of Balochistan and KPK. Nevertheless, the roots of the extremism and terrorism in the country are linked with the Western sponsored Jihad against the invasion of former Soviet Union in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Ever since the start of global war on terror in the post 9/11 scenario, this peaceful nation has lost over 40,000 innocent civilians and security forces personnel while acting as a frontline state. These losses have been caused by so-called Islamic militants; the TTP, Al-Qaeda and their cohorts, during their terror attacks either on security forces, innocent masses or else due to collateral damages caused in the process of combating the militancy. In fact the number of casualties Pakistan has suffered during this so-called war on terror outnumbers the loss of life in all the wars with India.
This speech of General Kayani remained a focus of our media and analysts, besides the international media and think tanks. Majority of analysts have appreciated the stance and consider that this is the only way forward for Pakistan to come out from its current crises. The main question is how to save the Pakistani society from getting into extremists and terrorists’ class. I feel that, people must learn to know that, US is not going to fight for Pakistani nation to eliminate extremism and TTP militants. Rather, the visionary people and analysts must guide the nation towards right direction through their write ups and analysis. 
What to talk of PMA cadets, who have fought this menace, I feel our youth in schools and colleges needs similar messages and awareness to save themselves and future generations. The need of the hour is that we have to come out from predetermined mentality and a biased approach. Pakistani analysts and media too should project positive points needed for the betterment of society. Any good point coming from any quarter must be welcomed and projected positively. In no case should we mislead the nation and have negative projection of our armed forces, whose men shed their blood for their motherland. 
drmk_edu@yahoo.com

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