Land trembled followed by an ear deafening noise. Smoke and dust caused an unpleasant darkness, people were shouting and crying in pain, blood was everywhere. This was a dreadful scene of a bomb blast. Terrorism, you may have heard this word many times especially in recent years. So what is terrorism? What is its origin? How can it be defined? These are common questions which arise in a person mind when he hears word “Terrorism”. The word terrorism origins from the French word “terrorisme”.(Online etymology definition) Before I can explain terrorism in Pakistan I will try to establish what terrorism and terrorists are.
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Terrorism in simple words can be described as systematic use of terror to cause uneasiness in the society. Terrorism has no legally accepted criminal law definition. Common definitions of terrorism describe it as the violent acts carried out in order to cause dismay, and these acts based on religious, political or ideological goals as their motives. Definition of terrorism has proven to be a controversial matter. Many governments and states use their own legislating definition of terrorism which is different from other definitions due to colliding ideology. Many religious and social factions also have their own beliefs about it.
Research has found about more than 100 definitions of terrorism. (Jeffrey Record, (2009).
But there isn’t even a single definition which is accepted by everyone. Some points differ in every definition of terrorism, yet there is one thing which is common in every definition as Walter Laquer said “”the only general characteristic of terrorism generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.”
(Centre for strategic and statistical studies)
In this regard Angus Martyn said in Australian Parliament. “The international community has never succeeded in developing an accepted comprehensive definition of terrorism. During the 1970s and 1980s, the United Nations attempts to define the term floundered mainly due to differences of opinion between various members about the use of violence in the context of conflicts over national liberation and self-determination.” Hence it can be concluded that there is no legitimate definition of terrorism accepted by everyone.
What is a terrorist? In simple words a person who commits an act of terrorism is called terrorism. He may be a single person or a group of people sharing common ideals. There is a lot of controversy about it; it all comes down to how a person ideology allows him to see things. As David Hanny said “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.(David Hanny, 2005)
I can easily correlate this argument with help of an example, when Soviet Russia attacked Afghanistan the resistance group was called Afghan Mujahedeen (Freedom fighters) by almost all the world. And after 20 years later when these men tried to fight off American forces to save their homeland, they were crowned as Taliban (A terrorist Group). A liberal person working for the betterment of the society may be called terrorist by some people while others may call him a patriot or statesman. An example would be Martin Luther King although he worked all his life for liberty of black people; he was called a terrorist by west media and politicians for a long portion of his life.
Now I will try to establish some of the common type of terrorism types. Violent acts carried out in order to disturb the peace of society pertaining to cause disorder can be classified as civil terrorism. A common example of it can be target killing. Sometimes terrorists perform violent actions in order to achieve some political agenda; this can be labeled as political terrorism. Perpetrators of this type of terrorism have some political aim as their motive. Death sentence of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is considered as political terrorism by some idealists. Sometimes terrorist will work as a lone wolf, he doesn’t has any ideal or a political agenda behind it. He will just do it for fun; he doesn’t even intend to cause uneasiness in the society nor is it his aim to destroy peace. Common example can be of a target killer. State terrorism is type of terrorism in which a nation will violate other nation right of freedom, invade it and continue to capture and rule it by fear. There is a lot of controversy involved about what is in boundary of state terrorism and what is not. Some people consider American aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq to be state terrorism, while some consider this aggression to be justified on grounds of eradicating terrorists. Another controversial example of state terrorism will be of Israeli aggression on Palestinian home. It was strongly condemned by the Arab world but was supported by America. Many Muslim countries still hasn’t accepted Israel and war still rages on. Yet there are some examples of state terrorism accepted by most of ideologies around the world. Indian reign of Jammu Kashmir is prime example of this kind of terrorism. Soviet Russian aggression on Afghanistan can also be placed into state terrorism. Religious terrorism is terrorism performed by a group or a single person, motivation of this type of terrorism is rooted in ethics and religious understanding of the group or individual. These types of terrorist acts have been performed since old time in order to enforce a system of belief. A religion cannot be necessarily held responsible for it; it all comes down to the understanding and interpretation of individual. Deadly operations such as 11 September World trade centre attack, London underground bombings and 2002 Bali Bombings are prime examples of this type of terrorism.
(Sageman, Mark 2005)
Bomb blasts, target killing, murders, and drone attacks unfortunately these topics are the headlines of news nowadays in Pakistan. Pakistan has been target of constant terrorist activities since its birth, it has been challenged by various group on basis of nationalism, religious segregation and political ideology. 1947 separation, 1971 civil war are biggest examples of this kind. Even today Pakistan is facing several distinct conflicts, both national and international.
The annual death toll from recent terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009, massing up to 35,000 Pakistanis being killed as of 2010. According to Government of Pakistan estimates the total economic damage caused by terrorism directly or indirectly masses up to 68 billion dollars. (Mohsin Hameed, 2011)
These statistics gives us the idea of how gravely these terrorist activities are hurting Pakistan. Now I will try to narrow down the causes of terrorism.
Unemployment is one of the biggest primordial of terrorism. Many people engage into terrorist activities because they don’t have other means to realize their basic needs. Perpetrators approach these people and ask them to carry out their hideous missions in exchange for large sums of money. Sometimes these people have to comply to perpetrator demands because they have no alternate route to make money. Another big cause of terrorism is illiteracy and lack of awareness. Many people of tribal areas are tending to be brainwashed by terrorists because they lack education and awareness. These people then indulge into terrorist activities while believing that what they are doing is right. Exploiting religion is also one of causes of terrorism. Religious doctrine in our view is a justification for terrorist activities. Religious extremists are tending to indulge in terrorism because they are discontent with the political and economic status quo. “Religious justifications are often combined with other, explicitly political, goals, such as nationalism or self-determination.” (Martha chensaw, 2005).
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These religious extremists then make use of innocent people by brainwashing them, making use of false religion facts. Politics also causes terrorism in some form or other, target killing nowadays is comprised of political enviousness. These are the main causes which make up the roots of terrorism in Pakistan. Now I will try to illuminate about the effects of terrorism in Pakistan.
Terrorism in itself causes the loss of life and money. It also has various other related effects which cause problems for Pakistan and its people. Terrorism directly or indirectly embodies fear into mind of the people. People tend to stay at homes and avoid public gatherings. It has changed the lifestyle of people mostly in big cities. People aren’t certain whether they will return from work alive or not. People are abandoning their homes in tribal areas where war against terrorism is being fought. Due to fear of terrorism foreigners are avoiding to visit
Pakistan and it has drastically declined our tourism industry. Foreign companies hesitate to make investment in Pakistan.
Pakistani Governments has made efforts towards ending terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistani army is at war against rebel groups in tribal areas. But is this enough? Government efforts to decrease target killing in Karachi and Baluchistan have all been in vain. What does this tell us? Government efforts most certainly aren’t enough to end terrorism. These efforts may have decreased terrorism but are tending to fail in the long run. If Governments efforts aren’t enough to end terrorism then what should be done about it?
Everyone in the society has an obligation to eradicate terrorism. Government should hold seminars to spread awareness about terrorism. It needs to educate people of tribal areas and spread the true knowledge and spirit of Islam so that perpetrators can’t exploit our beloved religion. It should provide adequate jobs to people so that people won’t tend to indulge in criminal activities. Government needs to have talks with terrorist groups and try to talk them out of it. It should listen to their reasonable desires. Government should also make efforts to stop drone attacks. Killing innocent people of tribal areas can’t be justified by labeling them terrorists. People whose loved ones are killed by these horrendous attacks won’t stay silent. They will indulge in terrorist activities to take revenge for their loved ones. Violence begets violence. We can’t stop violence using violence. Media also has a huge role to play if we want to end terrorism. Foreign Media blames Islam for terrorist activities, which is a blatant accuse. It is our media duty to prove the World that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and strongly condemn terrorist acts. If Pakistani media is able to show the bright side of Islam and Muslims foreigners will stop hating us. This will break the cycle of hate and if we are able to break cycle of hate, terrorism will be uprooted from the world.
Terrorism is a grave problem world is facing at the moment. We can end terrorism and eradicate the perpetrators with mutual understanding and harmony. It is everyone’s duty in the world despite which religion or faction you belong to make efforts towards ending it. All Globally conflicted issues should be dealt with dialogue and talk.
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