Terrorism in Pakistan: A Critical Overview

Terrorism-in-Pakistan-A-Critical-Overview

Terrorism in Pakistan Essay for CSS and PMS Aspirants | Terrorism in Pakistan: A Critical Overview | Terrorism in Pakistan: Causes, Impacts, and Way Forwards | CSS Essays | PMS Essays | Essays by Sir Syed Kazim Ali

Nimra Fawad has attempted this essay on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students, who have consistently been qualifying their CSS and PMS essays. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice how to write a comprehensive outline; how to write bullets in an outline; how to write the introductory paragraph; how to connect sentences and paragraphs; how to write a topic sentence; how to put evidence within the paragraphs.

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1- Introduction

2- A bird’s eye view of terrorism in Pakistan

  • ✓ Currently, terrorism has become a matter of great concern for the country’s survival.
  • ✓ Pakistan ranks 10 out of 163 countries in terrorism-affecting countries, The Global Terrorism Index (2021)

3- What are the alarming impacts of terrorism experienced by the country?

Social Impacts

✓ Restriction on social mobility

  • Terrorism served as an impediment in the way of the country’s social mobility
  • The recent attack at a Shia mosque in Peshawar on 4th March 2022

✓ Reduction in school enrolment

  • Education institutions remained no more secure from the heinous acts of terrorist organizations
  • Appalling attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar (2014)

Economic impacts

✓ Tourism industry in loss

  • Terrorism is an alarming challenge for the fostering of the country’s tourism industry
  • In 2017, national tourism faced a decline of almost 80% in all tourist activities, The World Travel & Tourism Council

✓ Declivity in Foreign Direct Investment(FDI)

  • Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) touched its lowest ebb in the presence of terrorism
  • The FDI in Pakistan declined from $41.9bn to $35.6bn in five years from 2016 to 2020, The State Bank of Pakistan

Political impacts

✓ Threat to national security

  • Terrorism fettered the country’s political advancement by making it vulnerable to the security threats
  • Abbottabad operation of the Americans regarding the sheltering of Osama bin Laden 

✓ Defamation of the country worldwide

  • Terrorism left no stone unturned to defame the country.
  • A soft image like a cash-able commodity, existing in its worst condition in Pakistan, the analysts of international economics  

4- What are the grim culprits behind the menace of terrorism in the country?

✓ Prevailing poverty

  • Poverty is a significant cause of exacerbating the terrorist activities
  • 60% of the population living below the poverty line, Pakistan Economic Survey (2021)
  • In his book, A Handbook of Labor Economics, Freeman stated that criminal behaviour is closely related to poverty.

✓ Wrong and rigid policies of the previous dictators’ regimes

  • Last, through their inappropriate policies, dictators’ governments sowed the seed of terrorism in the land of the pure.
  • Pakistan- American alliance in the Soviet-Afghan War

✓ Religious manipulation

  • Conservative-minded mullahs become the significant driver of further intensifying terrorism. 
  • The International Crisis Group’s report reports that around 10-15 per cent of the schools become a breeding ground for radical Islamic militants.
  • At least 299 madrasahs were found to be involved in terrorism in Punjab alone.

✓ The exploitation of local persons during the launching of drone attacks

  • Mistreatment with inter displaced persons become another major reason of raising terrorist attacks 
  • Massive internally displaced person (IDP) movement in FATA in 2007 as a result of frequent U.S. drone strikes

✓ Foreign involvement

  • Foreign interference in raising the misery of terrorism in Pakistan is no more hidden.
  • Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim sectarian militants Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is an example of where Saudi Arabian donors are channeling funds, the statement of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

5- What practical measures can address the monster of terrorism in the country?

  • ✓ To improve the education system and employment rate
  • ✓ To review the anti-terrorism policies and implement them strictly
  • ✓ To register the religious seminaries and disclose the conspiracies of conservative-minded mullahs
  • ✓ To rehabilitate the terrorism-related affected people
  • ✓ To make anti-terrorism diplomacy a priority in the country’s political approaches

6- CRITICAL ANALYSIS
7- CONCLUSION

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Terrorism is one of the most pervasive challenges ranking high on the agenda of all international organizations. It has disrupted the peace and stability of the whole world to a great extent through violence to achieve political objectives. Similarly, according to the claim of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), during the last fifteen years, more than 61,000 terrorist incidents have occurred, which have claimed over 140,000 lives worldwide. However, it has affected Pakistan much more severely than other countries because the country has played a role as a front-line state against the war on terror. As a result, terrorism has shaken the country’s social fabric, hampered its economic progress, and shackled its political system. Moreover, worsening the state’s foundation, it has blown several other issues. Some of them are restrictions on social mobility, loss in the tourism industry, slope in the Foreign Direct Investment(FDI), and rise of national security issues. Nonetheless, all these dreadful challenges have not emerged in isolation. Many alarming factors are rooted behind terrorism, including poverty, delay in implementing anti-terrorism policies, religious maltreatment, and foreign involvement. Therefore, it is high time for Pakistan to take fundamental measures to win the war against the monster of terrorism. Improving literacy and employment rate, reviewing the anti-terrorism policies, registering the religious seminaries, and prioritizing the counter-terrorism approach in the country’s foreign policy may help the country come out of this misery. The following essay highlights the consequences and ills of terrorism in Pakistan and the measures needed to alleviate it in the country.

Before exploring the dreadful impacts of terrorism in Pakistan, it is imperative to explain the current profile of terrorism in Pakistan. Terrorism has become a matter of great concern for the country’s survival. It manifests in many ways, including augmenting chaos and anarchy, loss in Foreign Direct Investment, and a volatile national security environment resulting from rising terrorist attacks. Ironically, all these socioeconomic and political hurdles in the way of the country’s prosperity push the country toward collapse. Therefore, as per the report of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2021, Pakistan ranks 10 out of 163 countries owing to the bleak consequences of terrorism. Moreover, Pakistan still cannot achieve its anti-terrorism objectives despite making multiple anti-terrorism policies and agencies and launching counter-terrorism operations. Notwithstanding, if the government sticks to its goal of fizzling out of this problem and reviewing its strategies, it will yield fruitful results shortly.

As every action manifests its impacts afterwards, terrorism also has inevitable and dire influences on Pakistan’s society. Here, light has been thrown on some of its severe footprints. Terrorism has served as an impediment in the way of the country’s social mobility. Jeopardizing the country’s peace and security undermines the enjoyment of the civilian rights of life and liberty. Owing to the rising threats of terrorist attacks in the last two decades, people remain stressed and feel insecure about visiting their places of worship outside. For instance, the attack at a Shia mosque in Peshawar on 4th March 2022 is a reminder that Pakistani mosques and other public places are unsafe and vulnerable to periodic terrorism. Correspondingly, prevailing social rigidity among the people plays a crucial role in dividing society and, ultimately, shrinks their role in marching the country forward. To sum up, terrorism has inculcated a sense of social isolation in the nation to hamper the country’s social progress.

Furthermore, educational institutions have remained no more secure from the heinous acts of terrorist organizations. To enhance the climate of fear among the public, terrorists have brutally blown up several renowned educational institutions in the country. For example, the inevitable and horrific massacre in Army Public School in Peshawar (2014) has taken the lives of 132 innocent children. In addition to it, the proponents of education have also been targeted in the country. The case of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the face and head by a Taliban activist, can also be quoted in this regard. Sadly, these incidents of terrorism have become a reason for depriving the youth of securing their bright future as the fear of terror has forced the provincial governments to adjourn the educational activities in schools and colleges. So, the peril of terrorism has proved to be devastating for the education practices enabling the youth as productive members of society.

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Apart from other consequences, terrorism has become an alarming challenge for fostering the country’s tourism industry. As the attacks have distorted the image profile of the country’s tourism destinations, many local and foreign tourists avoid visiting the country’s public places due to their security concerns. They consider the law and order system of the country most crucial for their visit, which is in the worst condition in Pakistan. Consequently, Pakistan has to bear the huge loss in income generating tourism industry. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council report in 2017, tourism in Pakistan has faced a decline of almost 80% in all tourist activities owing to the prevailing threat of violence. Due to this slope, persons affiliated with the tourism industry have also been involved in anti-state activities to meet their needs. Thus, terrorism has severely impacted the state’s economic plight by reducing the revenue generation from its tourism industry. 

Moreover, the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has touched its lowest ebb in the presence of terrorism. The frequent bomb blasting has pushed foreign investors away from investing in the insecure country, which makes the country economically unstable. It is not denied in the fact that Pakistan has to face the loss of billions of dollars due to reducing the business-friendly environment. Therefore, as per the statistics of the State Bank of Pakistan, the FDI in Pakistan has declined from $41.9bn to $35.6bn in five years from 2016 to 2020. Moreover, several industries running on the FDI have now been shut down in the country. Similarly, the country’s poverty and unemployment rate have also been miserably augmented due to the rising issue of the balance of payment. In short, terrorism has hit the country’s economic fabric hard by adversely declining the FDI.

Further, terrorism has fettered the political advancement of the country by making it vulnerable to security threats. As Pakistan’s dictators’ governments have adopted the inappropriate policies of feeding the mujahedeen during the Soviet-Afghan war to secure the region from invaders after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, America considers it suspicious and funding the country to terrorist organizations. By benefitting from its vulnerability to Pakistan, America has started interfering in the state’s matters. Moreover, without the consent of Pakistan’s government, America has launched many operations against terrorism on the pure of land, which has become a threat to the country’s autonomy. Specifically, the Abbottabad operation of the Americans regarding the sheltering of Osama bin Laden in the country by the CIA is a prominent illustration of the breaching of the state’s sovereignty. Due to these incidents, the government could not work autonomously to protect its citizens from dangers. As a result, people started to lose their confidence in the government and become out of control, eventually making the country’s law and order system fragile. To conclude, Pakistan has to confront several security threats in the existence of terrorism. 

Along with other impacts, terrorism has left no stone unturned to defame the country in the global society. Frequent terrorist attacks in the country have presented it as a safe haven for terrorist organizations in front of the international community. Due to this fact, other countries have lost their confidence in Pakistan and considered it an insecure country to invest and trust in its nationals. Contrarily, following the analysts of international economics, the soft image is like a cashable commodity for the country’s well-being. However, the frequent incidents of terrorism have given a bad name to Pakistan in the international markets, causing damage to its economy, polity, and society on multiple levels. Besides reducing the FDI in the country, Pakistani locals have to face many difficulties abroad because foreigners picture them as mistrustful. Hence, terrorism has become a dreadful factor in tarnishing the country’s soft image.

Above discussed, impacts do not grow automatically. Nevertheless, many reasons exist behind this worst situation in the country. Here, it is important to discuss some of the major issues which have motivated the production of terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Amongst the major culprits of terrorism, poverty is a leading reason for exacerbating terrorist activities in Pakistan. Due to the prevailing hunger in 60 per cent population of the country, as per the Pakistan Economic Survey (2021), people have become helpless to meet their needs at any cost. Moreover, it is estimated that a 1 per cent increase in poverty is associated with a 0.064 per cent increase in the total crime rate. In his book, A Handbook of Labor Economics, Freeman also stated that criminal behaviour is closely related to poverty. The poor in the country have remained unable to feed and educate their children properly. These deprivations have created frustration and insecurity among them. As a result, terrorist organizations easily exploit their plight and make them harmful and violent against society’s peace. Poverty has played a role as a catalyst in fostering the menace of terrorism in Pakistan.

Next to it, previous dictators’ regimes, through their inappropriate policies, have sowed the seed of terrorism in the land of the pure. As an illustration, the regime of Zia ul Haq in Pakistan fed and trained the Mujahedeen with the support of America against Russia during the Soviet-Afghan war, fought in the land of Afghanistan. Notwithstanding, after the war, when the government could not further assist the mujahedeen and left them in the lurch, they became violent against the country and joined hands with terrorist organizations. They, with other terrorist groups, have spread chaos and anarchy in the country through bomb blasting. Thus, former inefficient governments have sowed the seed of terrorism in the land of the pure. 

Additionally, conservative-minded mullahs have become the significant driver of further intensifying terrorism in Pakistan. They have been interpreting the Quranic teachings as per their desires. Instead of spreading Islam’s message of peace, they impart a sense of intolerance among the nation and, ultimately, force them to take swords in their hands. The icing on the cake is that the government does not bother to take action against these extremist mullahs and scrutinize the institutions from where they are inculcating the element of radicalism in youth. It is because, as per the report of the International Crisis Group, around 10-15 per cent of the schools in Pakistan are affiliated with extremist religious groups, which have become a breeding ground for radical Islamic militants. Similarly, Punjab has become a significant hub of these fake mullahs among the other provinces. At least 299 madrasahs are involved in terrorism and sectarian activities in Punjab alone. Paradoxically, all these strategies of mullahs against Pakistan have badly repelled the country’s youth from participating in making the country a peaceful, stable, and prosperous society. Without a doubt, it is the domain of the country’s security forces to secure the country from internal and external threats, not the responsibility of citizens to take weapons into their hands without the government’s approval. On the whole, narrow-minded mullahs have hindered maintaining a peaceful environment in Pakistan.

Similarly, the mistreatment of Internally Displaced Persons has become another leading reason for raising terrorist attacks in the country. Many nationals have become victims of the drone attacks launched by the government or other states in their areas to stop the activities of terrorists. For instance,  FATA has consistently been targeted by U.S. drone strikes to uproot terrorist groups, resulting in human collateral damage and a massive internally displaced person (IDP) movement in 2007. However, instead of revitalizing the condition of the IDPs by providing them food, shelter, and education, the government has also left them high and dry. In turn, terrorist agencies take benefit from their grieving situation and use them to exploit the government. Therefore, the unfair attitude of the government toward the IDPs has promoted the peril of terrorism in the country.  

Likewise, foreign interference in raising the misery of terrorism in Pakistan is no more hidden. For example, the exploitation of Pakistan’s land by Saudi Arabia and Iran for their interest clearly shows this reality. As per the statement of the U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabian donors are one the most significant funding source to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, and Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim sectarian militants Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is an example of where funds are being channelled. Miserably, where on the one hand, Saudi Arabia maintains a law and order system in its country. Contrarily, the country has lost its stability due to their conspiracies of funding to own version of Islam to flourish in Pakistan. Now, people do not bother with the country’s rule of law; instead, they brutally kill their Muslim brothers and do not feel shame over their baleful acts for pleasure. To summarize, foreign involvement in matters of state cements the foundation of terrorism in the country.

Although terrorism has jolted Pakistan’s foundation by badly impacting each segment, it is not a problem that cannot be solved. Every ailment has its remedies. As past mistakes instigate to ponder its reasons and ways to bring down these reasons, Pakistan must pick up the gauntlet of terrorism and devise some practical measures to crunch it at the gross root level. Here is some effective way forwards which may help reverse the country’s peaceful situation.

First, Pakistan can counter the menace of terrorism by increasing its literacy and employment rate. It is because the higher the literacy and employment rate exist in the country, the lower the chances of poverty in that country. By enhancing the employment rate in the country, people would become self-efficient to meet their needs and overpower their insecurities and frustrations, which are the reason for participating in terrorist activities. Similarly, literate people are well- aware of the dangers of terrorism and what is better for their society. Accordingly, they do not easily exploit through terrorist agencies. To cut short, the rise in literacy and employment rate enables the country to deal with terrorism.

Second, the government can curb the peril of terrorism in the country after reviewing its anti-terrorism policies. For this objective, instead of following the policies of previous governments, which were not in favour of the state, but in favour of terrorism, the government has to change its attitude in making counter-terrorism policies and prefer the safety of the nation over its interests. In addition, the country should focus on devising proactive policies rather than reactionary ones to prevent terrorism in the future before it would have engulfed the country’s sovereignty. Moreover, these counter-terrorism policies are to strengthen the capacities and coordination mechanisms of federal, provincial, counter-terrorism, and criminal justice institutions. Hence, after reviewing and strictly implementing the counter-terrorism policies, the government may become capable of mitigating the danger of terrorism in the country.

Third, the rehabilitation of terrorism regarding affected people is the need of the hour. The reason is that their miserable condition has made them dangerous to the state. Nevertheless, it is high time for the government to allocate a few portions of the fund to recover their losses and give them food, shelter, and education opportunities to revitalize their good old days. Consequently, no option would remain for them to engage in terrorist activities. However, they may help the country preserve society’s peace for its socioeconomic development. So, restoring the terrorism-affected people may assist the country in buckling out of the bleak challenge of terrorism.

Next to it, registering the seminaries of mullahs is compulsory to control terrorism in the country. Through these seminaries, fake mullahs have found a way to brain wash innocent people against the country. Conversely, to curtail the hazard of terrorism, the government should take action against these mullahs and register their institutions. True scholars can also participate in this aim to reveal the false teachings of mullahs and inculcate a sense of tolerance and peace in the nation. Accordingly, these actions against the mullahs may help the country to restrict the rising chaos and conflicts in society. To conclude, having records of mullahs’ institutions is one solution to alleviating terrorism in the country.

 Lastly, another panacea to grip the monster of terrorism is to give importance to discussing this issue on international platforms. The reason behind adopting this action is that despite taking various pragmatic approaches to overcome this challenge at the national level, the challenge of terrorism would not be solved until Pakistani diplomats would raise their voices on the international platforms against it and request the great powers to stand with the country to cope with this global issue. If Pakistan can successfully persuade the global powers to counter this issue collectively, it would be straightforward for the government to reduce the prevailing terrorism in the country. To summarize, Pakistan can crumble the jeopardy of terrorism by making it a priority in its diplomatic agenda. 

Terrorism has emerged as an existential threat to the country’s survival. It has given birth to multiple socioeconomic and political challenges, such as social immobility, loss in the tourism industry, and threat to national security by challenging the country’s governance. Disturbing the state’s socioeconomic fabric and political might, it has repelled the FDI and tarnished the country’s soft profile in the global community. As a result, socioeconomic inequalities have prevailed in Pakistan’s society, causing chaos and anarchy. This overpowering mayhem in society eventually makes the state’s autonomy insecure. Hence, terrorism serves as a bottleneck to Pakistan’s existence. 

In a nutshell, Pakistan’s peace and sovereignty are in jeopardy due to the burning challenge of terrorism. It has enhanced the miseries of the state. From social distractions to political instability, the country is at a loss. Moreover, poverty, misinterpretation of religion by mullahs, and foreign interference nourish this threat in the state. Nonetheless, Pakistan needs to tackle this issue timely and sagaciously before it would have engulfed the country’s integrity. For this motive, the whole nation should play its effective role, along with the government, to implement counter-terrorism policies rigorously. Besides, reducing poverty would help the country a lot against the prevailing threat of terrorism. Last but not least, the country should take the initiative at the international forums to counter the global misery of terrorism with the help of the global society to secure the future of the next generations.

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About the author

Nimra Fawad is a student of Syed Kazim Ali. She adds that one of those enthusiastic people who, their whole life, remain in search of how they can facilitate their society through their actions and polishing their own skills. She is multitalented as she has done her bachelor’s in Biochemistry and has mastery over social sciences. Moreover, as a talented writer, she loves to write on current domestic and international issues in which the whole global society, particularly Pakistan, has been entangled. In her writing, she presents social evils with research-based analysis. The motive behind this is to tell others about their role in building and the miseries of society from the past till now. Notwithstanding, at the same time, she gives her readers the best remedial measures to reverse the rising problems of society. In a word, her articles guide others in how to secure their own society from contemporary challenges. So, if you want to know about updated social issues, their foresighted panaceas, and fact-based logical analysis, follow Nimra Fawad on her social media accounts.

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