Terrorism is not new and even though it has been used since the early times of recorded history, it can still be fairly hard to define terrorism. Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. Terrorism has often been used by the weaker force to come in the limelight. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local people, the government, and the world to their cause.
The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. Terrorism is an effective way to cease fire without the trouble of going through negotiations with the opposing party and compromising for the establishment of peace. It is used by many to forcefully make their rivals accept their terms and abide by their wishful laws.
Causes of Terrorism:
The question, “what causes terrorism?” is not quite the right question to be asked, because we will never be able to answer it. We cannot say that the presence of one factor provokes it as there are a number of factors that add to it. Although today it is believe by a myriad of people that religious extremism and fanaticism “causes” terrorism, it isn’t true. It may be true that religious fanaticism creates conditions that are favorable for terrorism but it is not the only reason of modern day terrorism.
Terrorists act are motivated by social and political injustice: People choose terrorism when they are trying to make right what they perceive to be a social or political or historical wrong. The belief that violence or its threat will be effective they rush to it. Many terrorists in history said sincerely that they chose violence after long contemplation, because they felt they had no choice. Internal causes encouraging this menace are Socio-Economic Causes, Political Causes, and Religious Causes.
Terrorism all around the World:
The 9/11 attacks in America marked a turning point in world history and the beginning of the ‘War on Terror’. The attacks are estimated to have killed 3000 people making it the deadliest terrorist incident in human history. The subsequent War on Terror led to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The rise in Terrorism has begun since then. Before 9/11 terrorism was flourishing nonetheless. In Latin America, Narcotics Lords were spreading terror by victimizing innocent civilians and military forces both. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980’s lead to formation of deadly terrorist groups which have tilled now threatened the security and sovereignty of many countries. Holocaust of eleven million people by Hitler during WWII is no less inhumane act of terrorism.
Genocides of Armenians by Turks, Muslim genocides around the world. All this took place way before 9/11. But what makes 9/11 a historic event in leading up to the rise of terrorism all around the world? After 9/11, Muslim countries suffered the most and are still suffering greatly of the consequences of the attacks of 9/11. This is a graph of the number of incidents labeled as terrorism and not believed to have been carried out by a government or its forces. According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. In 2015, the country with the highest rate to terrorists’ activities was Iraq. While Afghanistan came second and Pakistan third.
Terrorism in Pakistan:
The gravest problem Pakistan is facing and has been faced since a past few years have been Terrorism. Pakistan’s involvement in the War on Terror has led to this. We are facing war like situation against the terrorists. This daunting situation is caused due to several factors. These factors include social injustice, economic disparity, political instability, religious intolerance and also some of international conspiracies. Some of people who have their vicious interests to fulfill have not only taken countless innocent lives but also distorted the real image of Islam before the world through their heinous acts.
Pakistan is facing the serious security threats within its borders due to Islamic Radicalization, unequal distribution of wealth, military coupe and denial of provincial autonomy. Talibanization is created by our in-visionary state organs to obey our masters. Unemployment, selfish politicians and unmotivated civil and military bureaucracy has failed to counter the main problem. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009. With almost 80,000 Pakistani’s dead.
Illiteracy is the root causes of extremism and terrorist activities. Illiteracy and lack of skills provide fertile ground for those who wish to recruit young men and women to their cause, especially when significant monetary payments are attached as one of the other major causes of Terrorism is Poverty. Albert Einstein said “An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.” If we take a look at the past, poverty has been the main cause of French, American and many other revolutions around the world. Poverty is a deciding factor for people who are poor. The desire to attain wealth gets them to do anything and everything.
Lack of proper government set-up and Instable democracy leads to dissatisfaction among the public. The military regimes of Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan then of Zia-ul-Haq was altered by yet another military regime that of Musharraf. All these regimes produced political instability, poor governance, and institutional paralysis and caused a downfall of society. All this provides a fertile ground for terrorism to grow. Religious intolerance has been the major factor in Pakistan contributing to terrorism. Religious extremism and Sectarian violence has been the biggest threat to Pakistan’s security and sovereignty. Youth, educated through religious Madrasahs, are taught extreme ideas. They become intolerant and hostile towards other religions and even other sects of their own religion. They impose their own extreme ideas and tis Intolerance makes society inhumane. It is proving destructive phenomenon for social serenity, political stability, and economic growth.
The soviet Afghanistan war was the most critical event responsible for spreading terrorism and intolerance in Pakistan. The aftermath of the soviet withdrawal exposed the damage and transformation of violence into Pakistani society. It ultimately plagued Pakistan with a new trend commonly referred as “Kalashnikov Culture” and “Talbanisation”. This was perhaps an end to our long established pluralistic culture and values. Result was a wave of vicious cycle of Sectarian and Inter-sect and Interfaith violence/terrorism.
The drone strikes have increased anti-Americanism in Pakistan society and the region. Drone attacks are popularly believed to have caused even more civilian casualties than is actually the case. The continuation of these attacks on Pakistani territory is continuously creating public outrages and alienating people from government and Army. The drone is a tactical weapon and has certainly given good results tactically to support coalition forces operation on their sides of the border but strategically history has many unanswered questions. The drone attacks have done much damage to the lives of common citizens and established an anti-American feeling in the hearts of people.
Due to excessive terrorism in Pakistan, the tourism industry has suffered greatly. People from other countries fear Pakistan and the threat of terrorist attacks alarming on their heads has restricted the people to visit Northern Pakistan’s beautiful scenic locations. It has prevented the tourism industry from growing to a large scale like the other tourism industries in the world have.
Many of the terrorist groups have emerged in the past years. Names like Al-Qaeda and ISIS are known around the world as the major terrorist groups. They claim themselves as Muslims and have ruined the face of Islam in the Western World. People associate, religious fanaticism, terrorism, abuse against women and other inhumane acts of violence, with Islam. The religion of Islam is assumed to be the one tolerating extremism and terrorism abroad. However Islam is the religion that condemns any acts of violence and it promotes peace.
As we discussed terrorism in Pakistan and the causes and effects of it on the lives of citizens. We conclude that terrorism is a vice. It is the worst form of violence and nothing ever has been achieved of it but anguish and loss of lives along with economic and social depravation. Pakistan has been lately doing some operations to combat terrorism they include, Operation Zarb-e-Azb against the Talibans.
On December 16th 2015, the worst act of terrorism was committed in Pakistan and it was the killing of innocent school children in Army Public School, Peshawar. This shocked the nation and urged the military and government to work tirelessly to end this menace. We hope that one day Pakistan will be a country free of terrorism and work towards becoming a successful nation whose greatest priority would be to protect its citizens from violence and establish a society filled with peace and serenity.
Feature Image Credits: Stock Snap