30 March 2016
The tragic events of this past Sunday are a stark reminder of how deep religious extremism has penetrated the country’s social fabric. The manhandling of religious evangelist Junaid Jamshed at the Islamabad International Airport, violent protests by supporters of Mumtaz Qadri at Islamabad’s D-Chowk and suicide attack targeting the Christian community at Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park signify that the fight against the threat of home-grown terrorism will remain incomplete without effectively tackling the conjoined issue of religious extremism.
Notwithstanding the economic damages of $107 billion and losing over 66,000 human lives in the last fifteen years, Pakistan does not have a national counter-extremism policy. The existing counter-extremism measures in Pakistan are dispersed, disjointed and ad-hoc.
Conceptually, the correlation between extremism and terrorism in Pakistan is of reverse causality – the two feed off each other. Extremism causes terrorism and terrorism feeds into extremist tendencies in society. So the extremism-terrorism bond has to be broken to overcome the twin challenge. The entrenched presence of various extremist groups and ideologies has been pivotal in transforming radical and extremist tendencies into violent manifestations.
… The writer is an associate research fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 31/03/2016