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Suicide bombing in Pakistan started after 9/11. Today Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism. After 9/11 incident, Pakistan supported the war on terror in Afghanistan. That war effected Pakistan very much. As border was not sealed so most of the Talibans ran away from Afghanistan to Pakistan. They were given shelter by the people of tribal areas of Pakistan because of their tradition of hospitality and clan bonding. As already Afghans were in refugee camps in Pakistan, so it was difficult to differentiate Talibans and Afghan refugees. Pakistan became a target as we found friends in Taliban’s enemy. Suicide bombing started in Pakistan. Initially, only the security forces were targeted but now even the common public is not spared. The war has spread to every nook and corner of Pakistan.
First suicide attack in Pakistan was done in Islamabad in 1995. A truck full of explosives entered the Egyptian embassy and 14 people were killed. After investigation it was found out that bomber was Egyptian. Second suicide bombing was in Karachi. French engineers were attacked outside Sheraton Hotel in May 2002. In this attack 14 people were killed in which 11 were French engineers. Another attack in June 2002 was done outside American embassy.
In 2003 President General Musharraf was targeted. In 2004 there were five suicide attacks including one attack on Prime Minister. In 2005 only 2 suicide attacks occurred. In 2006 suicide bombing again started to increase as there were 6 suicide attacks in which American embassy and Pakistan security forces were also targeted. In2007 these attacks were increased and total suicide attacks were done. In these attacks was on Former Prime Minister on Benazir Bhutto. In 2008 59 suicide attacks were done. In year 2009 till November 19, 70 suicide attacks were done.
During Afghan jihad against Russia, America and Pakistan joined hands to fight it together. After the war, the U.S.A left the region in distress and civil war started in Afghanistan. The idea to use religion as a tool to convince people to fight this war and organizing private militias resulted in destruction of Afghanistan after the war. It did not stop there. Pakistan continued on using religion as a tool and helped Taliban to form a government in Afghanistan. The whole episode of Al-Qaeda taking refuge in Afghanistan and 9/11 attack gave rise to a new fear. Previously, the whole world had their eyes closed to this Frankenstein they themselves created. Suddenly there was a hue and cry everywhere. Islam was said to be the threat to the whole world. Muslim bashing started happening and things got from bad to worse. America got dragged into this war and Pakistan along with it. Now after fighting it for this long, there seems no going back. There is no victory in sight and it cannot last forever. So it is a confusion which has found no solution.
CAUSES OF SUICIDE BOMBING IN PAKISTAN
One reason of suicide bombing in Pakistan is a tradition of Pushtoons called” badal”(revenge). This is the tradition according to which if a person of its tribe is killed by the person from other tribe then revenge is being taken from the killer tribe and that revenge is called badal. So similar to this happened in Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan. People of those tribes were killed by American and Pakistani army. So reply to that they started targeting the check posts of army but later on they changed their target and now their target is innocent public of Pakistan. They considered it their right to kill the people in order to take revenge.
Another reason of suicide bombing is American involvement in Pakistan. Pashtoons have got a history that they do not allow the foreign forces to occupy their land. American involvement in Pakistan is also not liked by Pushtoons and Taliban of Afghanistan and Tribal areas. Taliban has targeted Pakistan for their commitment to America. America’s drone attacks within Pakistan territory is one of the reasons for the increase in suicide attacks. Bajaur incident and Lal Masjid operation has helped Taliban by providing them new recruits for suicide bombing. In both incidents innocent students were killed. In retaliation there have been a lot of suicide attacks in Pakistan for the last three years.
American invasion of Islamic countries has contributed a lot to the common hatred in the Muslim world. Economic bondage was already there and then war was imposed on independent and sovereign countries. The feeling of resentment giving rise to Al-Qaeda and their extreme philosophies did not help the situation. Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia and Kosovo are all examples of Muslim occupied territories. Things were fine for the western world as long as there was no organized retaliation. It was bound to happen someday and it did happen. The result is that the world is very unsafe today and there is a lot of hatred which can result in a clash of civilizations.
Injustice is one of the foremost factors that breed terrorism. When the grievances of the people are not redressed they resort to violent actions. So this is the case with Pakistan where timely justice has always been a far cry. Hence, the delayed justice is working as incentive for victims and dragging them to the swamp of terrorist organisations.
Illiteracy is the root causes of extremism and terrorism. More than one in five men aged 15 to 24 unable to read or write, and only one in 20 is in tertiary education. such a high illiteracy rate has made Pakistan vulnerable to terrorism. furthermore, technical and vocational education, and adult literacy, are especially important but unfortunately have been neglected the most in Baluchistan, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the Tribal Areas. 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.
Regarding poverty, it is also an incubating cause of terrorism. And it is said that “a hungry man is an angry man.” Notably, majority of people in Pakistan are living below poverty line. While especially for the youngsters, unemployment has made the matter worse. In these adverse circumstances, some people go to the level of extremism and even commit suicide. These are the people whose services are hired by the terrorist groups and they become easy prey to terrorism.
Food insecurity is also linked with militancy and violence. When people remain unable to afford food and cannot meet their basic needs civil strife grows. A report by the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute The highest levels of food insecurity, for instance, exist in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, according to the report, where 67.7 per cent of the people are insecure. The next highest level is in Baluchistan, with food insecurity at 61.2 per cent, and then in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, 56.2 per cent. In Pakistan some extremist forces are exploiting the feelings of lower and lower middle class food insecure people. They are motivating their unemployed youth to commit heinous crimes such as suicide attacks against innocent people.
In view of the root causes described in above paragraphs, the possible remedies could include:
• To begin with, a national commission needs to be set up, which identifies the fault lines and the root causes of the rise of extremism in Pakistan taking into consideration the post-Nine-Eleven developments.
• It should also take up the question of reforming the madrassas. The heads of all the major religious groups should be contacted and engaged to explore short-term and long-term solutions.
• Our universities and research institutes should take up the intellectual task of re-interpreting the Islamic injunctions in the light of modern knowledge and 21st century challenges (with emphasis on social justice).
• The government must improve its performance. Bad governance and corruption have lowered its credibility and clout,
• Parliament must debate Pakistan’s present relationship with the US, with particular reference to the American war in Afghanistan and operations in Pakistan.
• Our government should make efforts to develop sector. Without any doubt, these efforts will play a crucial role not only in providing employment to the millions of people but will also eliminate poverty in the country.
• Pakistan’s government should particularly emphasise the need of technical education by promoting it. In this respect, more institutes should be opened in order to promote technical education.
• It is mentionable that there are two types of terrorists, extremists and moderates. In order to cope with terrorism, our government should neutralise the moderate terrorists through reconciliation by offering them general pardon and asking them to renounce terrorism. Even extremist insurgents can be offered mediation. Nevertheless, those militants who reject the offer could be fought through military operations.
• Nonetheless, for their on global and regional interests, US-led western allies must not only increase the military and economic aid of Pakistan but also provide direct market access to Pak products on zero rate duty to help stabilise the country’s bleak economy in the wake of the war against terror.
• As Pakistan has been successfully coping with the menace of terrorism, US-led some western countries including India should also give up their propaganda campaign against Islamabad and blame game against its intelligence agency ISI.
• US should help in resolving the Kashmir dispute to deal with the problem of militancy in the region.
• In order to fight terrorism, Pakistan’s media should play a key role. It must point out the criminal activities of the militants like hostage-taking, killing of the innocent people? torching the government buildings including girl schools and car-snatching. It should also indicate that Islam is a religion of peace and does not allow suicide attacks.
• As Pakistan is already facing various crises of grave nature in wake of terrorism, so our politicians must stop manipulating the same for their own self-interests. By setting aside their differences and by showing power of tolerance, both our rulers and opposition parties need to act upon a policy of national reconciliation to cope with the problem of terrorism and to stand before external pressure.
• Finally, our politicians, general masses and security forces must show a strong sense of unity to fight terrorism.
Pakistan is a peace loving nation and playing its important role in combating terror. Recognition of efforts to fight menace of terrorism and sacrifices rendered thereof are testimony to the commitment and resolve to bring peace in the region. Unfortunately sometimes its commitment is doubted by some of its allies. Mistrust can lead to diversion of efforts, which will not be beneficial to common objective of peace in the region. Pakistan is a responsible nation; fully capable of defending its territorial integrity. Pakistan has singularly committed large forces to combat menace of terrorism more than any other country. No foreign troops are either present or deployed on Pakistan soil.
All citizens of Pakistan must propagate moderate vibrant culture of Pakistan to promote good will of world community and shun misconstrued beliefs. Attacks on security forces personnel are executed at the sponsorship of hostile intelligence agencies. Such anti state elements must be singled out and brought to lime light to defeat evil agendas of our enemies. Pakistan has sacrificed the most in the ongoing war on terror; criticizing Pakistan’s efforts at national/international forum will be counter-productive to the overall objectives of war on terror.