Terrorism is not a new phenomenon and the roots of Terrorism in Pakistan are too deep to date back into her evolution since 1947. It simply changed its forms and the terrorists simply replicated their faces. At present the gravest problem that Pakistan is facing is terrorism. It has become a headache for federation and a nightmare for public. Though, it is a global issue but Pakistan has to bear the brunt of it. Pakistan’s involvement in the War on Terror has further fuelled the fire. 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 external hands or international conspiracies. A handful 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. Terrorist acts like suicide bombings have become a norm of the day. On account of these attacks Pakistan is suffering from ineffaceable loss ranging from civilian to economic. People have become numerical figures, blown up in numbers every now and then. Terrorists have not spared any place. Bazars, mosques, educational institutes, offices, hotels, no place is safe anymore.
Defining the meaning of Terrorism is not as simple today as this word appears to be. Once it was defined as “an organized system of intimidation or the practice of using violence to obtain political demands.” OR “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aim or the calculated use of violence or threat of violence against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature, this is done through intimidation or coercion or inciting fear.”
According to FBI, “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objective.” Barack Obama, commenting on the Boston Marathon bombings of April, 2013, declared “Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.” Since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism, “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”
Walter Laqueur, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that “the only general characteristic of terrorism generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence”.
Classifications of Terrorism
In early 1975, the Law Enforcement Assistant Administration in the United States formed the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. One of the five volumes that the committee wrote was entitled “Disorders and Terrorism” produced by the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism under the direction of H.H.A. Cooper, Director of the Task Force staff. The Task Force classified terrorism into six categories. 1. Civil disorder – A form of collective violence interfering with the peace, security, and normal functioning of the community.
2. Political terrorism – Violent criminal behavior designed primarily to generate fear in the community, or substantial segment of it, for political purposes. 3. Non-Political terrorism – Terrorism that is not aimed at political purposes but which exhibits “conscious design to create and maintain a high degree of fear for coercive purposes, but the end is individual or collective gain rather than the achievement of a political objective.”
4. Quasi-terrorism – The activities incidental to the commission of crimes of violence that are similar in form and method to genuine terrorism but which nevertheless lack its essential ingredient. It is not the main purpose of the quasi-terrorists to induce terror in the immediate victim as in the case of genuine terrorism, but the quasi-terrorist uses the modalities and techniques of the genuine terrorist and produces similar consequences and reaction. For example, the fleeing felon who takes hostages is a quasi-terrorist, whose methods are similar to those of the genuine terrorist but whose purposes are quite different.
5. Limited Political terrorism – Genuine political terrorism is characterized by a revolutionary approach; limited political terrorism refers to “acts of terrorism which are committed for ideological or political motives but which are not part of a concerted campaign to capture control of the state. 6. Official or State terrorism –”referring to nations whose rule is based upon fear and oppression that reach similar to terrorism or such proportions.” It may also be referred to as Structural Terrorism defined broadly as terrorist acts carried out by governments in pursuit of political objectives, often as part of their foreign policy. Tactics of Terrorism
In this present world terrorism has become a complex phenomenon where terrorists are using different tactics of terrorism and different types of terrorist activities like suicide bombing, mass murders, burglaries, arson, kidnapping or hijacking and torture of the worst order. And there are always some limited causes behind all such kinds of terrorism which encompass Religious imposition, Social imbalances, political denials, ethnic emotions and economic dispossessions and deprivations. Such are certain major reasons of Terrorism in any part or country of this universe and likewise is in Pakistan. Islam’s Response to Terrorism
The religion of Islam (Submission), advocates freedom, peace and mutual agreement and admonishes aggression. The following verses make it very clear. “And do not aggress; GOD dislikes the aggressors”. (Quran 5:87) “You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant”. (Quran: 7:199) The relations of Muslims (Submitters) with others are based primarily on peace, mutual respect and trust. The theme in the Quran is peace, unless there is oppression or injustice that cannot be resolved by all the peaceful means available. The true religion of Islam forbids the killing of innocent people, irrespective of the cause, religious, political or social beliefs.
“…You shall not kill * GOD has made life sacred * except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you that you may understand.” (Quran 6:151) “You shall not kill any person * for GOD has made life sacred — except in the course of justice.” (Quran17:33) In Islam, an amazingly powerful emphasis is laid on developing love for mankind and on the vital importance of showing mercy and sympathy towards every creature of Allah Almighty, including human beings and animals. For indeed, love and true sympathy is the very antidote of terrorism. Causes of Terrorism in Pakistan
Pakistan has been afflicted by this worse form of social malice for more than 65 years. It changed its forms and with the passage of time became more lethal and frightening. The religious intolerance, political mistrust and instability, military interventions, partial economic policies, myopic visionary policies, ethnic, regional and lingual prejudices let the flame of terrorism flared up in full swing which resulted in economic instability, trust deficit among different social factions and sense of instability among the masses of Pakistan. Terrorism in Pakistan has assumed a frightening behavior and terribly affecting the social fabric of our country. Today it has become indispensable to avoid or ignore it lest it would distort the social, political and economic structure of Pakistan. For the purpose it necessary to know and discuss the core reasons behind this social Frankenstein. I. External Causes
The external causes include following major events in the history: i. Afghan War: 1979
The soviet Afghanistan war was the most critical event responsible for spreading militancy and intolerance in Pakistan. A fundamental change that altered the very character of Pakistani society occurred after establishment of the soviet backed communist regime in Afghanistan. The aftermath of the soviet withdrawal exposed the damage, transformation of violence and Weaponisation 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. ii. Iranian Revolution
Religious extremism that took its roots in Pakistan after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 is proving venomous for Pakistan. The increased danger of sectarian motivated acts of violence, have gained in power and influence over the recent past. External as well as internal influences have impacted the sectarian issues and have served to further intensify the magnitude and seriousness of the problem. Sectarian violence, therefore, was an extremely rare and unheard of phenomenon in Pakistan with sectarian disputes being very localized and confined rather than being frequent and widespread. iii. Incident of 9/11