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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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