What are the causes, impacts, and way forwards of Terrorism in Pakistan? | Terrorism in Pakistan: Causes, Impacts, and Way Forwards | CSS Essays | PMS Essays | Essays by Sir Syed Kazim Ali
Usama Nawaz Dothar 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.
- ✓ Terrorism, a global evil threatening the world’s peace
- ✓ Wreaking havoc in Pakistan
- ✓ Affecting the socio-political and economic fabric of the country
- ✓ Raising a diverse range of issues for the country
- ✓ The miserable state of affairs urging for a viable solution
2- CURRENT SITUATION
- ✓ At present, Pakistan, along with other problems, is still struggling with the issue.
- ✓ According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan witnessed 319 terrorism-related incidents in 2022 and 169 associated deaths of civilians.
- ✓ After the withdrawal of the USA, the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan further escalated the situation along the Pak-Afghan border.
- ✓ According to the Pak Institute of Peace Studies, a local think tank, as many as 433 people were killed and 179 injured in 250 attacks in Pakistan between August 15, 2021, and August 14, 2022
3- WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CAUSES BEHIND THE MENACE?
- ✓ Burgeoning national-provincial and provincial-provincial rift
- ✓ Halting socioeconomic growth that leads to a lack of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
- ✓ Overpowering all other concerns state resources under constant pressure, as a significant chunk of the budget goes for security buildup
- ✓ An increasing number of unemployed youngsters is an impetus for radicalization.
- ✓ Governing and relocating problems of Internally displaced persons, issues of refugees, and infrastructure rebuilding
- ✓ Sparking a concern to move to a safe place in the country or abroad
5- HOW SOME PRAGMATIC MEASURES CAN HELP PAKISTAN TO OVERCOME THE MENACE
- ✓ To educate and register madarises
- ✓ To create jobs and a business-friendly environment
- ✓ To eradicate religious and ethnic differences.
- ✓ To develop consensus among all stakeholders.
- ✓ To provide awareness to the masses through campaigns and the media’s active role.
- ✓ To expand state writ.
6- CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Terrorism is a global evil, threatening the world’s peace that humankind has struggled to achieve for centuries. Terrorism, the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population, is an organized warfare to achieve a diverse range of goals, particularly political objectives. In pursuance, terrorists, in particular, target innocent citizens and infrastructure worth millions to put immense pressure on the state authorities to kneel before their irrational demands. This heinous crime against humanity has halted many countries’ progress and jeopardized their peace, prosperity, and stability. For instance, events like the Twin Towers 2001, Mumbai Attacks 2008, and Army Public School 2016 jolted states’ security apparatus and psychologically made the public suffer. Unfortunately, the world has witnessed the brunt of terrorism, and Pakistan is the only country still reeling to combat the menace. As a result, the country has seen unprecedented bloodshed in the past two decades. According to Inter-Services Press Release (ISPR), more than 75000 lives have been claimed by terrorism, of which 65000 were civilians and 10000 were armed personnel. Undoubtedly, it has affected every socio-political and economic fabric of the country; however, the root of the problems lies in the state and society: lousy governance, racial and ethnic disparities, religious schism and intolerance. In fact, the ongoing dismal affairs have ignited a diverse range of issues, such as widening engulf among masses, convulsing conducive business environment, increasing unemployment and, above all, the issue of Afghan refugees. In fact, despite its complex nature, it is not impossible to be eradicated. A sincere and ambitious effort to root out terrorism is a need of the hour. Without any second thought, there is a need to review the education system as a whole, introduce structural changes, and make a compatible parallel system of madaris and private schools with the public sector. Further, accommodating youth, easing the doing of business for locals and foreigners, working to ensure parity among masses, developing a micro to macro-level consensus, and empowering state machinery to ensure state reach further are some immediate measures to curb the menace.
At present, terrorism is again around the corner. Despite a crackdown previously by security agencies, the terrorists who flee to Afghan soil are once again started pursuing their anti-state agenda in Pakistan. With empathy, the country has been up against several issues, such as political turmoil, economic slope, and the resurging terrorist activities tearing the country apart. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan witnessed 319 terrorism-related incidents in 2022 and 169 associated deaths of civilians. Undoubtedly, except for 2020, the average attacks in the country scored 160. Further, a holistic look at the year 2022 provides a speedy rise in terrorist attacks. In fact, the much-celebrated victory of the Taliban government in its western neighbour, Afghanistan, proved more lethal for Pakistan, evident from recent cross-border firing incidents. Furthermore, after the US withdrawal, the Afghan front’s situation has worsened, and terrorists manoeuvre along the border more freely; as a result, the country has started facing another blow of terrorism. According to the Pak Institute of Peace Studies, a local think tank, as many as 433 people were killed and 179 injured in 250 attacks in Pakistan between August 15, 2021, and August 14, 2022. Meticulously, the burgeoning bulk of the crisis might engulf Pakistan. The country has been fighting on many fronts, including environmental, security, and socio-political issues. Every problem has its solution; the state can nip it in the bud by mobilizing its resources, as it did after the Army Public School attack in 2016. But, keeping in mind that the previous mistakes would not repeat.
The genesis of the problem lies in socio-political and economic fault lines, which widen the aperture. There are a number of causes. In Pakistan, since its inception, the unequal distribution of wealth, racial discrimination, and unequal opportunities has widened the gap between rich and poor. Due to such inadequate treatment, poverty has multiplied tens of times after independence. In a recent report published by the World Bank, the country, for the fiscal year 2020-21, is 78.4%, using an upper-middle poverty rate of US$ 5.5 per day. Poverty deeply affects a person’s thinking capability, and he becomes unidirectional. In addition, the growing bomb population has started putting pressure on state resources. As a result, more than half of the youth are unemployed, and these demoralized young souls are more prone to terrorist ideologies. Next, the evil political and religious leaders corrupt practices are also one of the main factors behind increasing poverty and lack of jobs. As Nelson Mandela rightly said: “Poverty is not an accident, like slavery and apartheid. It is manufactured and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” In short, poverty knows no religion or humanity, so the poor and unemployed become more radicalized and know no right and wrong to earn their livelihood. For them, the only good is how to have a meal, so they start spreading terror to fulfil their wishes.
Preceding one of the appealing causes behind terrorism is a misinterpretation of religion. Not just a misunderstanding but also a rigid interpretation that has marred the universality of Islam. They are provoking inter-religion and intra-religion divides, which gives an impetus for terrorism. This makes society more vulnerable, and terrorists find it favourable. Indeed, they easily manipulate people by offering different perks to a person’s family and ensuring him of Paradise hereafter by reminding God’s promise. Nevertheless, with fewer ulemas and more mullahs, Mullah’s emphasis on struggle with the sword nurtures violent behaviour; also, they connote the sole reason behind Muslims’ miserable condition of the American People. After brainwashing, an individual’s tolerance level and sense of perceiving things drastically change. As a result, he considers people other than in-group enemies to him, society, and Islam. Therefore, he does not hesitate to kill himself, such as in suicide bombings. To understand fully, the Sunni-Shia riots in Pakistan are good to consider; in the 1980s, there was a norm to kill one another. In a critical diagnosis, the Muslim nations have waged war against each other based on religious differences and Saudi-Iran rivalry. On the contrary, Islam talks about universality and pluralist society. Conclusively, one of the strides behind terrorists’ sways is rigid and misinterpreting religion.
Going down the ladder, one of the striking causes behind terrorism is sectarian and ethnic differences. The divide between Balochi, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Mohajir has further aggravated the situation, and stunted the country’s growth. In short, minority and majority anathema and these differences ultimately provide ground for terrorism nurturing. For instance, the Mutahida Quami Movement activities in Karachi, terrorist groups in Swat, and the Federal Administrative Tribal Area (FATA0, now part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), are pertinent to mention here. Indeed, ethnically motivated terrorism has its reasons. On the contrary, the sectarian division also unwelcomed dissent opinions, imbibing feelings of hate. Nonetheless, the ethnic and sectarian splits have radicalized society and started nurturing terrorist ideology. As of this, terrorist groups are growing in size and quantity.
Further, to talk about any issue in South Asia and the Middle East, the role of international and regional players is of great concern. In devoid of it, one cannot fully comprehend the reasons behind the problem. The United States (US) and its ally’s invasion of Iraq to carry its nefarious attacks resulted in Muslim hatred towards the West. Geographical compulsion was the reason Pakistan became a forefront ally of the US War on Terror after 9/11. Reluctantly, the country’s leadership found itself helpless in front of the United States’ immense pressure. Moreover, the war in the western neighbour provided momentum for different proxies. Rationally, the terrorism was a reaction against western proxies, which cost Pakistan more than the devil itself. Despite bearing many losses, the populous opinion in the US always censures the country’s efforts. The role of international players is not confined to the US role only but also the role of India, Israel, and other Eurasian Nations, which tried to destabilize Pakistan internally and isolate it internationally. In fact, the state and non-state actors started funding internal insurgent groups, eroding statehood sinews. One of the prime objects behind these fundings and proxies was Pakistan’s nuclear disarmament. In furtherance of their prime object, India and Israel started campaigning to stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons in Pakistan by creating propaganda they might end up in the hands of non-state actors, terrorists or Islamic radicals. Hence, the countries having vested interest promote terrorism in the country.
Last but not least, the other culprits behind terrorism are the executive’s role and Afghan refugees. The executive has failed to maintain the law. In comparison, the judicial system also has near to collapse. The erroneous irregularities in procedure and corruption have allowed law-breakers to flee, bypassing the system. The criminals know how to manage the police or judiciary. As Adam Smith rightly said, “The mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.” Therefore, when people lost hope, they decided to take the law into their hands. On the contrary, the state has failed to accommodate Afghan refugees. The burden of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was not enough that the government opened its borders to Afghan refugees on humanitarian grounds. The IDPs left their homes, business, and belongings but are now at the state’s mercy. The drone attacks were counter-productive and killed many civilians. The relatives of those families stand against the state, and some join terrorists. Injudicious and unpopular decisions of the government have raised some issues. In short, the above causes contributed to fanning the flames of terrorism, raising some challenges for Pakistan.
First, the rising rift between national-provincial and provincial-provincial is of great concern. The burgeoning issue has waged a war of mudslinging on one another. For instance, the Karabagh dam issue, a much-advocated project to meet water and energy viability, is a result of the split. The national-provincial dissent on a number of losses and inadequate compensation has divided the house so that separation voices are now heard from different sections and parts of the country. However, Pakistan has not forgotten the secession of East Pakistan. Indeed, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, the country must develop a consensus by putting aside its trivial issue to eliminate terrorism from its soil. Otherwise, the dingy state of affairs annihilates the country. Nevertheless, the gap between person to person has started widening. Political polarization is also an outcome of growing differences. Second, a death blow to the economy. According to official estimates, Pakistan has lost precious lives and infrastructure and suffered a loss of around $ 35-40 billion since 2001. Due to the ongoing war on terror, the country’s economy still suffers $6 billion in export losses annually. The clouds of fear and uncertainty have devastated the country’s business outlook. Owing to such far reaching impacts and future implications, the business sector is on the verge of collapse, and foreign direct investment has touched a record low, thus, further breaking the back of the poor and deprived masses. If the division and fear kept increasing, it would be more feasible for terrorists to carry on their agenda.
Third, the issue of security has overpowered all other concerns of the state. The major chunk of the budget goes for security build-up, which has made Pakistan lag behind other nations in terms of social indicators. Specifically, the country has repaired particular walls of official buildings and installed fences around them. Further, the government has increased security in different public places. In short, the government has to spend public money on bullets and tanks, which, thus, shifted the state’s focus from other works of public welfare, such as human capital development. Conclusively, security-related issues have overshadowed the country’s other concerns today. On similar lines, fourth, the unfettered growth of the population has further aggrandized the state’s agony. In particular, the youth, forming the majority of the population, is left on its own. As a World Bank report suggests, Pakistan’s youth unemployment rate for 2021 was 9.42%, a 0.2% increase from the preceding year. As a result, the demoralized youth without any purpose has become prey to terrorist ideals. Further, if the state would not accommodate youth and streamline their potential, they might become a weapon of terrorism, such as suicide bombers. Critically, if Pakistan wants to cherish its dream of becoming the tiger of South Asia, it needs to employ more than half the population, which is constituted by its youth. In short, these issues have hampered the state’s socio-economic growth and provided a stimulus for terrorism.
Next to it, fifth is the issue of relocating Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Afghan refugees. Retrospectively, many people vacated their homes to facilitate law enforcement agencies. In this regard, Pakistan’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) report unveils the number of total displaced persons. IDMC’s report shows around 70,000 displacements were recorded in 2021, mainly triggered by terrorism and disasters. Ostensibly, the government has sat on the fence to seek the issue, and people who came as frontline solider to sacrifice their hard-earned money, in particular homes, are struck by thunder that government is unable to alleviate their miseries. Certainly, the issue calls for an early solution. Otherwise, like terrorists, these people may follow the path of insurgents. Similarly, the issue of Afghan refugees, a looming sword of threat on our necks, has always stabbed in our back. In a joint report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Pakistan verified that 1.3 million Afghan refugees live today in Pakistan. Morally, giving them a piece of land to reside on humanitarian grounds was idealistic, without thinking of future liability. However, they have become such a liability that the state wants to drive them out. On the contrary, the refugees blame Pakistani that they are the sole reason behind the turmoil. Therefore, due to international pressure, the country has tried to alleviate IDPs and Afghan refugees to achieve perpetual peace for generations. Indeed, both issues have stunted the country’s socio-political and economic growth.
Last but not least, the people started moving towards safe places and even started residing abroad in quest of peace. When people’s basic rights, such as life, liberty, and property, are under constant attack, no one finds the country a place to abode. So, Pakistan’s intellectual and skillful labor has left the country, further distancing the country’s dream of achieving prosperity. Brain drain has become a grave issue for Pakistan. In a recent Gallop Survey, 7,50,000 people left the country for better life and opportunities abroad. Brain drain harms sending regions, such as reduced human capital, limited capacity to innovate, reduced economic growth, demographic shifts, and a higher cost of public goods. The issues, mainly, are knitted with terrorism. Precisely, terrorism has penetrated fear in all sectors of the country, instigated significant unrest, hampered social mobility, and robbed the future of million. Pakistan is up to several challenges because of terrorism.
After the diagnosis, one calls for an effective treatment. The cancerous disease of terrorism has jeopardized the state’s health, but, for sure, it is a curable disease. To cure, the state needs to adopt some pragmatic measures in the right direction at the right time. Some of the measures are following, which can eradicate the disease. First, improvement in the education sector can root out the problem of terrorism. The government should mitigate the gap between private-public schools, missionary schools, and madrassas. As per assertions of a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children, counting 22.8 million children between the ages of 5 and 16, representing 44 per cent of children not attending schools. For sure, it is a dreadful situation. Illiterate ones can easily be exploited. Hence, an outdated syllabus and effective policy to enroll the maximum number of kids in school should be the state’s priority. Then, an ambitious effort, teachers must pursue to teach tolerance, patience, and hate against violence to root out the problem permanently.
Second, there is a need to create a conducive business environment. A much-needed effort to uplift local industry by introducing structural adjustments via a public-private partnership. Meanwhile, measures should be adopted to gain foreign enterprises’ confidence so that they can pour FDI. By creating such a feasible environment, the unemployed millions can have jobs and help eradicate poverty. If the measures are taken judiciously, it will help the country to portray itself as an emerging economy. Next to it fourth, the country needs to galvanize society and weave it into a single entity by rooting out all ethnic and sectarian conflicts. To do so, the country must ban hate material, register religious and local bodies, enact new laws, and provide equal opportunities to all, ensuring their growth and popularity. Anti-Terrorism in this regard was also a great achievement, but the vague interpretation of it further fueled the fire of sectarian conflicts. So, a commitment by state, province, local bodies, and religious schools to adopt tolerance and accept dissent can help eradicate the monster of terrorism, as a myopic mindset often promotes violence.
On the same footing, five pragmatic and far-sighted policies by the government can extirpate terrorism from Pakistan. First, Pakistan is bleeding because of ill-advised policies. Therefore, a road map adopted with the consent of all stakeholders can be a step forward to combat the menace. Further, a campaign to reach people regarding the evils of terrorism and take them in confidence can help implement policies and provide public support as the state has not had enough resources, so public involvement is a need of the hour. In this regard, Media can help promote anti-terrorist agenda to vitiate them from our soil. Media can highlight the dangers of terrorism and provide public pain-relieving news in time without sensitizing other propaganda. Meticulously, these steps help counter terrorist ideologies prevailing in society. Finally, the state needs to implement rule of law and other anti-terrorism laws, so culprits should be punished within due time. Even the speedy trials and separate courts for terrorists help root out terrorism. The Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATC) was a great development. However, the lack of security to judge derailed the process. So, the state needs to enforce its writ to far-flung areas and provide security to the functionaries, which helps punish criminals in time, resulting in deterrence. Conclusively, deterrence can help people fear the wrath of the state and a strong state writ. After that, terrorists find no place to hide and no mercy. As a result, peace will be ensured.
In a critical diagnosis, the issue of terrorism has overshadowed all other concerns Pakistan faces today. The devil has engulfed the country’s peace and prosperity, leaving it in a swamp of destruction. However, the state has the potential to close the devil in the bottle. Terrorism has created innumerable losses and fright that people still fear taking a breath in the fresh air. Indeed, things take time to settle; the state has once achieved victory against the devil. But, lack of farsightedness and too early celebrations have brought it back. Now, it is time to learn from past mistakes and monitor the cross-border flow of people. Moreover, Pakistan has neglected the costs of its porous borders on both the eastern and western borders. If the state needs to immune itself from terrorism, the state and global leaders must take a hard stance against the countries providing a safe haven to terrorists. Otherwise, the elusive dream of the world to achieve perpetual peace and peaceful co-existence with diverse nations can never be achieved.
To encapsulate the whole debate, terrorism has wreaked havoc in every sphere of life. The right to freely move, live and have a family is under constant threat because of terrorism. Pakistan has paid the price and still paying for it. Many factors have promoted terrorism in Pakistan, such as poverty, unemployment, racial and religious split, and misinterpretation of Islam. The far-reaching impacts are visible in the country’s social, political, and economic domains. According to official estimates, Pakistan has lost precious lives and infrastructure and suffered a loss of around $ 35-40 billion since 2001. Due to the ongoing war on terror, the country’s economy still suffers $6 billion in export losses annually. In addition, the figures, painting a gloomy picture of the state outlook, are appealing in every sphere, such as social indicators have touched the lowest of all time. Nevertheless, if taken timely, pragmatic measures can help Pakistan not only expatriate terrorism but also achieve unsurpassable growth. Judicious and prudent analysis highlights that Pakistan alone cannot combat the global menace single-handedly. A much-contested and collective effort is needed at regional and global levels to get rid of the devil for now and for times to come.
About the essay writer
Usama Nawaz is a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. He is a young writer and legal advisor. He writes on a diverse range of issues: contemporary social, political, economic, and environmental, with which the world has struggled. Further, he has done Llb (Hons) from the University of Punjab, Pakistan. Moreover, he has worked as an Associate in different firms such as Asma Jahangir Law Firm. Moreover, he writes to raise his voice against human rights abuses and pens his thoughts on various topics: opinions, blogs, and issues. Besides, he has done different internships, volunteered in different organisations, and unconditionally helped others. Now, he is learning writing communication skills to give his thoughts words under Mr Kazim’s mentorship. Lastly, he is a thorough gentleman preparing for competitive exams to pursue his dream of serving the Nation.
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