Way Forward to Counter Terrorism

Dialogue on counter-terrorism strategyBy N Khan Pakistan being the front line state in war on terror has been exerting its utmost efforts to combat the menace of terrorism. However despite its all out efforts desired results  have not been obtained mainly due to following reasons:-

  • Failure to effectively counter/ defeat the ideology of terrorist organizations.
  • Inability to stall the funding of terrorist organization.
  • Lack of writ of government in most of Tribal Areas and FR region where most of the terrorist are hiding.
  • Inability to check, contain and counter the hostile agencies rendering support to anti-state elements in Pakistan.
  • Lack of political will to whole heartedly combat terrorism.
  • Inability to address the concerns of aggrieved groups including Baloch Nationalists.
  • Lack of Integrated Effort to combat terrorism.
  • Inability to have proper control over Madaris including their curriculum, activities for funding and code of conduct etc.
  • Poor performance of LEAs amidst their inefficiency, lack of resources, improper org and corruption.
  • Inapt handling and management of media as regard to war on terror. Lack of public awareness regarding their responsibilities and obligation in fight against terrorism.

Way Forward

Ideological Campaign

A psychological warfare/campaign be launched at national level to refute the terrorist ideology as unreligious/irrelevant, radical and irrational. This should be done through media, educational intuitions including Madaris.

In this regard services of Religious Scholars of all sects be used to effectively and widely counter the Terrorist ideology using various platforms such as media ( both electronic, print, local/ FM media), Madaris, Academic institutions etc.

 Check / Contain Terrorists Funding Sources 

  • Terrorist organization if deprived of their funding could be rendered ineffective. Hence concerted efforts are required to determine the various sources of their funding and then a deliberate plan be chalked out to block the same.
  • Public campaign through media be launched to bring awareness amongst the masses to refrain them from funding the various banned / militant outfits. People should also be encouraged to report the threats of extortion of money with the guaranteed fool proof security of the individual by the LEAs. In this regard LEAs may adopt some mechanism to provide the security to threatened people by getting some payment (already in vogue in KPK) which will not burden the Government’s exchequer.

Establish the Writ of Govt in TAs. Presently, majority of Tribal Area and most of FR is inaccessible as well as void of any writ of Government. These areas are safe heavens of terrorists. Writ of government in these areas at be established all cost.

Effective Counter Intelligence. Currently our adversaries through their hostile agencies are taking full advantage of our internal situation in the country by fanning the prevailing rifts / rivalries amongst various religious, sectarian, ethnic, regional, linguistic groups. A national level integrated effort be made to determine and effectively check the hostile agencies involved in supporting the violence and militancy in the country.

  • Integration of Efforts .  A national level organization such as Joint Intelligence Cell or National Counter Terrorism Cell be formed. This organization should be made responsible for coordination of all Intelligence Agencies and LEAs to generate a joint as well as effective response to counter the terrorism. Further it should also evaluate the performance of all LEAs besides issuing necessary guidelines.
  • Addressing Concerns of Aggrieved Groups .Government should engage all aggrieved parties/groups including Nationalists, Religious, Sectarian etc and should endeavour to address their genuine concerns. Effort should also be made to persuade these groups to end violence and resolve their issues through negotiations.
  •  Scrutinization and Reorientation of  Madaris. Some Madaris have also been found inculcating extremism, radicalism, sectarian hatredness and militancy. Following needs to be done to address this problem:-
  • A detailed survey of all Madaris be carried to determine the Madaris which are fuelling extremism. These Madaris be closed immediately and their mentors be dealt according to rule of law.
  • A code of conduct should be formulated for all Madaris. LEAs be tasked to carry out spot checking of Madaris in their respective AOR. Immediate action be taken against any Madrassa found involved in any forbidden activity.
  • Curriculum of all Madaris by keeping on board the religious leaders of all sects be formulated, which should also include other academic subjects. This curriculum be implemented strictly across the board.
  • A code of conduct for sermons by religious leaders/Khateeb especially during Juma prayers be formulated, circulated and implemented.
  • Meetings of religious leaders of all major sects be arranged frequently to create harmony amongst various sects.
  • Committees/Sub-committees consisting of religious leaders and administrative officials be made at district, tehsil / town, sub tehsil / qasba and villages level be made. These committees should be mandated to monitor/inspect Madaris in their AOR to ensure strict implementation of approved/disseminated curriculum, adherence of circulated code of conduct and carryout detail audit of their accounts.

Improvement of Efficiency of LEAs

Presently LEAs are ill-organized poorly equipped and ill-trained with inadequate resources. Moreover, it is politicized and also corrupted. Following measures need to be undertaken:-

  • A special counter terrorism force be raised within Police which should consists of best selected officers and other ranks.
  • Police should be given sufficient resources in terms of vehicles, weapons, equipment etc. Moreover, it should also be adequately trained to effectively fight against terrorism.
  • Special Police CT Force should be paid handsomely which would to great extent curb the monetary corruption amongst the Police. Thereafter any person found involved in corruption should immediately be dismissed from service.
  • No political pressure should be accepted by Special CT Police official in order to act against terrorist freely.
  • Police should also be trained in prosecution and investigation incorporating the modern techniques and gadgets.
  • Police officials should maintain close interaction and liaison with Intelligence agencies at all levels to acquire valuable information/intelligence about terrorists on fast track.

Media’s Handling / Management to Counter Terrorism. Media handling / management to denounce the terrorism and create general awareness among the masses and accrue their support had been ineffective. Following is suggested in this regard:-

  • Counter terrorism theme be evolved and circulated through PEMRA to media which should be bound to project those themes in their own ways.
  • Cardinal points of media theme could be:-
  • Challenge the ideology of terrorist organization and prove it unreligious, radical and irrelevant.
  • Denounce the terrorism and violence.
  • Unveil the criminal activities of terrorist organizations including extortion of money through threat calls, kidnapping etc.
  • Terrorist working on behest of foreign hostile agencies are infact the agents of our adversaries.
  • Terrorists are non Muslim or not good Muslims and they resort to un-Islamic acts.
  • Project Inter Sect harmony by frequent talk shows, dramas etc.

Create general awareness amongst public on following:-

  • Be always vigilant to surrounding and report any suspicious activity or person to LEAs.
  • Do no rent the house without deliberate personal and police verification. Subsequently, owner should continue monitoring the activities of a person to whom house is rented.
  • Every person should have an eye of his neighbours and report any suspicious/unusual activity.
  • All banned material used for bombs such as explosives, detonators, special circuit should be shown on media. People should be motivated not to sell these items especially to suspicious persons. Moreover people should be encouraged to report the selling of banned items as and when observed.

Role of Political Leadership in Counter Terrorism . Political leadership should  develop consensus in owning the war on terror and extend full support to LEAs in fight against terrorism. Political leadership to do following:-

  • Presently grievances of various religious, sectarian, ethnic, regional, linguistic groups (against their rival groups or government) are being exploited by hostile agencies which support and encourage them to resort to violence against their rival groups. There is dire need to unite all religious, sectarian, ethnic, regional, linguistic groups by addressing their grievances, thus bringing them into government fold. This will deprive the hostile agencies the platforms to create law and order situation as well as instability in the country.
  • Demonstrate full political support to LEAs through media and public campaign to fight against terrorism.
  • Should not patronize any organization especially the sectarian and ethnic which resort to violence or involve in extending support to terrorist organization by any mean.
  • Disarmament of their militant wings.
  • Should let the LEAs work with out any interference or influence.

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