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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Counter extremism: Terrorism shall follow the suit

[Featured Image: Courtesy CNN] On the eve of Haj, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz said the terrorists have gone astray and are destroying the image of Islam. He cautioned the Muslims about the menace of terrorists using the religion’s name while sabotaging peace. He urged Muslims to strive for spreading the real message of Islam— peace, love and brotherhood. And while addressing the UNGA on September 25, Pope Francis said; “Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective…and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion...including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime….We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges”. This convergence of thought amongst the leadership of two major faiths is a healthy sign. Grand Mufti and Pope have done their bit in this direction, now the global political leadership should pick up the cues and devise a global plan of action for countering terrorism while addressing the core issues of radicalism and extremism. Though terrorism is a global phenomenon, during recent years it has converged more onto Muslim countries, including Pakistan. Menace of terrorism stems out of extremism which in turn draws its origin from radicalism. Therefore, beside terrorism, any meaningful counter terrorism effort should also focus on radicalism and extremism. While the government of Pakistan is striving to counter terrorism, countering extremism and radicalism are the weaker links in the National Action Plan (NAP). NAP evolved from the urgency of countering terrorism and thus has significant relevance in overall security matrix to address the immediate need of connecting different responses and incorporating these in a functional policy framework. However, in the process, actions focused at de-radicalization and counter extremism did not attract requisite focus. It is expected that in due course, government will come up with a comprehensive de-radicalization and counter-extremism strategies as well to complement existing provisions of the NAP.

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In tandem: violence and peace process

[Featured Image: Courtesy CARTOONSSTOCK.com] The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei has condemned terrorist attack on Badaber; said, China supports Pakistan in firmly combating terrorism. Apparently this attack was aimed at, once again, disrupting the next round of reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA), which appears round the corner. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated during recent weeks following a sudden spike in violence in Afghanistan. Angered President Ashraf Ghani had said that his country will now not seek any help from Pakistan for brokering a peace deal. However, behind the scene strenuous efforts were on to revive the peace process.Pakistan’s policy on Afghan peace process is rather clear. Pakistan has always been ready to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process because it feels that peace in Afghanistan is important not only for the people of Afghanistan but also the people of Pakistan and the region. In this regard, the success of Zarb-e-Azb in eliminating terrorists is well-known to the world. Afghan government should cease the opportunity and rejoin the peace process. Afghan side should understand that charisma of Mullah Omar is so powerful that he continues to have impelling influence on the rank and file of TTA, even two years after his death.

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National [in]Action Plan

The decline in terrorist attacks because of action against militant in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency has generated an impression that NAP is performing well. But, beneath the surface there are grey areas, which came to surface during the meeting. Execution of the 20 points NAP is moving at snail’s speed, to say the least. Listing the nine weak points, the premier said a lot needs to be done as regards madrassas, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, terrorist financing, reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Afghan refugees, legal amendments, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta), religious persecution and sectarianism. The cabinet expressed satisfaction over progress in the remaining areas of the NAP. Main challenge to implementation of NAP is posed by criminalization of politics and politicization of crime. As a corollary, there is underlying fear that anti-terror laws shall be used against political workers; even if they are not used, there are ample hoax calls to portray such usage. Hence, there is an undercurrent within mid-level political cadres across the political divide to go slow on NAP. Another closely associated impediment originates from the behavior of political appointees in law enforcing agencies (LEAS); they are more loyal to their appointing personalities and less to pay master—the state/government. Confusion also prevails over what is and what is not ‘terrorism’; leaving much room for the low ranking investigators to terrorize ordinary criminal on the pretext of booking them under terror laws to fleece them; while at the same time intentionally framing weak charge-sheets against actual terrorists, either under duress or incentive. Apparently, criminal-terrorist cartels appear effective in buying time by impeding the pace of NAP implementation in view of sunset clause about military courts. Even though resorting to military courts is not an ideal way of dealing with the situation.Gains achieved by military operations would be lost if NAP implementation does not pick up requisite speed to deny space to terrorists and militants. Military actions involving the use of force should complement the government’s broader campaign to fight against extremism and terrorism, but this is not happening. Gains through military operations would be lost if NAP implementation does not improve immediately and deny space to terrorists and militants.

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Cold start or Hot start, We are ready!

Times of India has reported that Modi government's plan to celebrate the 1965 war as "a great victory" has raised quite a few eyebrows because even Indian defence ministry's official war history had long ago described its end as a stalemate. In military jargon, the term “stalemate” is synonymous to defeat when used to portray own performance. Army chief’s quip: “Cold start or Hot start, We are ready!” is reflective of national sentiment in the face of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing childish brinkmanship. Archives of the Indian media show that grossly exaggerated claims of military success were made by India during the 1965 war; some of the headlines were: “Our valiant forces have set up a civil administration in Lahore after capturing the railway station, airport, Mughalpura, an ordinance factory ….”; “Civilized attitude of our soldiers wins hearts of Lahoris” & “Lahore captured: Our forces are moving into Kasur”. Closest the Indian forces came to Lahore was 14.2 “Bloody miles”. Indian psyche remains unchanged. After 50 years, India officialdom has embarked upon a foolhardy spree to make believe that India was outright victorious.

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Fallacy of Indian Victory in 1965 war

Archives of the Indian media  show that grossly exaggerated claims of military success were made by the Indian military; some of the headlines were:- “Our valiant forces have set up a civil administration in Lahore after capturing the railway station, airport, Mughalpura, an ordinance factory ….” Civilised attitude of our solders wins hearts of Lahoris,” “Lahore captured: Our forces are …

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