Combating Terrorism
Posted on December 22nd, 2009

By Alam Rind

There is no doubt about the fact that we are at war. A war which is no more confined to borders rather it has altered its form to accommodate fragile nuclear hangover prevailing in the Sub-continent. In this war soldiers, civilians, women and children are being targeted by terrorists with out any discrimination. They would target any place they can reach out to with total disregard to its sanctity or who their victims would be. Religious scholars have already pronounced them as non-Muslims, because none of the sects of Islam allows self mutilation or killing of innocent people. With every passing day their area of influence is increasing. They are engaging diverse targets with enhanced lethality. Ascribing this whole phenomenon as the vengeance of Taliban for their eviction from Swat and Waziristan is taking the situation rather too simplistically. Certainly they are funded, armed and tasked by their mentors, those who want to weaken Pakistan, create anarchy in the country and demoralise its people for the fulfilment of their sinister designs. In such changed environment the nation has to fight shoulder to shoulder with its security forces in every nook and corner of the country.

Recent blasts at Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan have inflicted heavy losses in terms of human lives, injuries and loss to the property. Indeed, the whole nation is grieved and sympathises with the affected families. But, if for a moment, we set aside our emotions and try to analyse the situation objectively, it wonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t be hard to infer that the terrorists have a well established network, which includes a large pool of trained manpower, a huge stockpile of explosives and multiple teams of experts to identify potential targets and to plan as to how the attacks could be executed. For the purpose they need safe heavens and a certain degree of protection which is not possible without local facilitators. How they can manage all this? Why people donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t report their presence? And what people should do to protect themselves? These important questions need to be answered.

Absence of jobs, exploitation, persistent poverty and a general apathy towards the state of affair of the deprived segments have become accepted norms. This indifference breads loss of hope. Impecunious segments driven by their instinct to survive become an easy prey for terrorist outfits especially once the same are guised as religious and philanthropic organisations. Sending their sons to religious seminaries besides relieve them of the responsibility to feed the child also mollifies them that their offspring is acquiring religious education. This provides an opportunity to their spurious religious teachers to indoctrinate them. It is done through transmission of delusive and distorted Islamic injunctions exploiting their strong religious predisposition. Through their deceitful teachings they prime such youth to be used as a suicidal bomber. As per Interior Minister Rehman Malik they are available from Rs 500,000 to Rs 1,500,000. What a pity, our youth is being used by our enemies against us. Is it really difficult for us to check the spread of hate through religious seminaries? Certainly not. Only thing we need to do is to keep a close watch on what is being taught there, have greater interaction with our children and to closely monitor people visiting and staying at such institutions. We must report any unusual activity to law enforcing agencies. It certainly will go a long way in checking terrorist activities in the country.

Terrorist safe heavens are not confined to religious seminaries only. Now they have been able to fan out to lesser conspicuous places. The evidence is that large chunks of explosives have already been dumped at different locations. Probably it is beyond the capabilities of law enforcing agencies to be able to spot all such sites. The custodians of such sites would behave in abnormal manner like, disallowing acquaintancesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to visit their residencies, shops, warehouses etc, minimising their interaction with the local community and being visited by strangers at odd timings. Such activities can only be monitored by the locals through establishing close interaction with each other. To institutionalise the whole process village and mohalla committees can be constituted having due liaison with law enforcing agencies. Initiative of formulating such committees has to be taken by the people themselves.

The war has changed its form. It is being perpetrated by our enemies, the powers those who want to see Pakistan weak, denuclearised and if possible undone. With the changed modus operandi the country is being weakened from within through terrorist activities. Therefore, the method of combating the same has to be re-tailored. The presence of disguised enemies in our ranks and files demands for greater cohesion between civilians and law enforcing agencies. We need to be fully conscious of the urgency of the situation and the pressing requirement to take immediate actions. The best way forward is mobilising and empowering people. They should be mobilised to constitute committees at village, mohalla, shopping centre, town and city levels including remote areas to monitor unusual activities while having communication with police for quick response. Service providers like property agents, transporters, taxi drivers etc needs to be highly careful so as not to be deceived by the terrorists. Besides this, every Pakistani must take the responsibility of being vigilant all the time and to report any unusual activity as soon as it is observed. In short term, government should start an awareness campaign to educate people as to how they should fight this menace. In long term, there is a dire need to invest in education especially targeting underdeveloped areas and initiate projects aimed at sustained development and poverty reduction to improve living conditions of the deprived sections of the society.

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