Countering Regional Extremism and Terrorism: Pakistan’s Perspective

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By

Air Commodore(R) Khalid Iqbal TI (M)[1]

Background: Evolving Patterns

Terrorism or a militant facade of extremism has increasingly become a trans-national and trans-regional phenomenon. The regional dimension of terrorism embodies complex dynamics and complicated networking systems, requiring comprehensive and smart solutions.

This necessitates the coupling of national and regional approaches to counter this menace. Despite an unprecedented international effort to militarily subdue terrorism, no lasting solution is in sight. Likewise, scores of flawed studies and half baked de-radicalization programmes have not been able to address the issue of extremism beyond skin-deep solutions. Hence, radicalized societies/groups continue to churn-out militant extremists in scores. International counter terrorism efforts are politically motivated and their pace and tenor is determined by the time span during which interventionist forces want to stay in a particular conflict zone. When such interest recedes, a terror inflicted zone may be abandoned abruptly and left as an open wound. Conversely, if the issue of terrorism is settled through a political process but the interventionist entity wishes to stay on, then a fresh crisis is created under a new brand to justify the prolongation of stay or a revisit.

So far, the international community has failed to discreetly define terrorism, but this does not mean that the action needed to combat terrorism has been postponed; rather at times there has been an overreaction, courtesy definitional ambiguity. Nation states need to realize that their stability and prosperity depends upon the stability and prosperity of other states—especially immediate, regional and extended neighbours. And that export of terrorism will always come full circle to hit the initiator. Also from the broader perspective, most of the mammoth military interventions, in the name of countering terrorism, have only led to a messier environment; in an attempt to resolve one set of issues, these have thrown up other sets of problems with equally daunting challenges.

Regional Expanse of Terrorism

Asia in general and South Asia in particular are confronting the challenge of extremism and terrorism for many years. At least four South Asian countries—India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives are prone to terrorist activity of one type or another. Sri Lanka has recently overcome the LTTE issue. Terrorist activities are not restricted to South Asia alone; neighboring counties like Iran, Afghanistan, China and Russia also experience terrorist activities of varying shades and intensity. Moreover, adjoining regions of the Middle East, South East Asia, Central Asia and West Asia are also affected by the phenomenon. South Asia offers trans-regional connectivity between all regions of Asia. Hence any event taking place in any region of Asia is likely to have its impact on South Asia; likewise, anything happening in South Asia radiates aftershocks in its neighbourhood. Therefore, taking Asia as a single integrated entity in the context of terrorism and counter terrorism effort may be more helpful than regional and sub-regional approaches.

As most of the terrorist organizations have global appeal that may cut across geographic and ethno-sectarian divides, interstate borders are meaningless in the context of outreach by such influences and, at times, these borders also hamper counter terrorism efforts. Despite concerted efforts by the government forces of a number of countries, including the US led campaigns in various parts of Asia, terrorism has not been reigned in. In fact it is on the rise, it is just changing its form and location.

Some of the contemporary facades of terrorism within and around South Asia are: the arc of instability arising out of Islamist militancy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh; the “Red Corridor” comprising Maoist insurgency in India and Nepal; spill over of Afghan conflict to Pakistan through its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), political rise of Hindu radicalism in India and ensuing hype in anti-Muslim sentiment and erstwhile LTTE in Sri Lanka etc.

Prominent terrorist entities which operate or have links in South Asia are: the Tehrik-i-Taliban (Pakistan & Afghanistan chapters), Al-Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic State (IS) and numerous Afghan militant factions. South Asia has the highest concentration of militant groups in the world. India tops the list with more than 50 active or dormant terrorist organizations. Many of these regional outfits have ties with international organizations.

The terrorist landscape in South Asia is diverse and dynamic. Not only has the menace of terrorism grown in intensity, it has afflicted new sub-regions and become more advanced technologically. An examination of the South Asian terrorism profile reveals that it is becoming increasingly skewed towards more grisly and indiscriminate actions. Terrorists are displaying increasing sophistication in their strikes, not only in weaponry but also in ways of carrying out attacks; they look for bigger and more dramatic actions to draw regional and world attention to their causes.

South Asia, which had experienced very low levels of organized terrorism until the early 1980s, has undergone a dramatic transformation to become the scene of the bloodiest terrorist violence in the world. In terms of casualties, it ranks as the world’s most terrorism- battered region, followed by the Middle East. Combating terrorism has become the biggest political challenge to the national leaderships of South Asia. And if present trends are any indication, terrorism may remain the main political problem in the region at least for quite some time.

In South Asia, terrorism has for long been a factor influencing interstate relations as well. Situations of conflict and cooperation on the issue of terrorism in South Asia have a conflictual stance on the interpretation of terrorism. For example: India’s stubborn attitude

towards the Kashmir dispute and its mindset to equate the indigenous movement of Kashmiris, for exercising their right of self-determination, with terrorism is not acceptable to Pakistan and the international community. This is so because the Kashmir dispute continues to be on the UN agenda and a permanent UN military observers group is deployed for monitoring the ceasefire violations in Kashmir.

In the broader context, India routinely blames Pakistan and its intelligence agencies for all sorts of terrorism in India. Interestingly, there have been very powerful voices from within India suggesting that some of the high profile acts of terrorism, earlier blamed on Pakistan, like the attack on the Indian Parliament, were false flag operations staged by Indian intelligence outfits. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that some of the worst anti-Muslim riots in India were facilitated by Indian law enforcement agencies with the connivance of, at least, state (provincial) governments. India also has complaints against Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh for allowing the terrorist organizations of North Eastern India to utilize their territories to run terrorist camps.

Sri Lankana has also had problems with India regarding their help to the Tamil terrorist organizations of Sri Lanka. Evolving effective strategies to combat terrorism in South Asia is important as this region accounts for the highest terrorism-related deaths. Regional counter terrorism strategies should focus on good governance, revitalizing the role of civil societies, joint early warning & response mechanisms and developing appropriate structural framework to prevent and combat terrorism. Regional cooperation is extremely important to deal with various security issues, including terrorism, in the changed global security and economic environment. The 3rd South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu (1987) adopted a resolution to suppress terrorism, which was further reinforced in the Summit of 2001. SAARC has adopted several conventions, these are: SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism (signed by all member states and came into force in 1988); Additional Protocol to the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism (2002); and Bilateral Counter Terrorism Agreements. SAARC members have also focused on National Counter

 

Terrorism measures and regulations. SAARC can take additional specific measures such as: sharing intelligence/ information; enacting a consolidated strategy to counter the financing of terrorism by adopting regional money laundering laws; evolving a code of conduct to prevent members’ interference in any member’s intra-state conflicts, either directly or indirectly; regional law enforcement coordination; regional capacity building training; political climate management/ crisis management structures; counter new/ emerging threats through proactive and innovative preventive mechanisms; setting up of a Regional Counter Terrorism framework; Joint counter terrorism exercises; coordination among regional law enforcement agencies; regional capacity building training; development of a regional strategic communication plan etc.— all easier said than done. The biggest hurdle is that as most South Asian countries are mired in serious conflicts, perception of what constitutes terrorism is seldom accurate and uniform. Someone perceived as a terrorist by one state may turn out to be the proxy of another state.

At national level, there are a number of ways a country can respond to terrorism ranging from: making concessions on the end of the counter terrorism spectrum to ruthless suppression through military action, on the other extreme of the counter terrorism effort. Concessions are only likely to work when there is moral substance to the terrorist cause, and or when such concessions are reasonable. Military intervention may be used when the terrorist threat is too big for the civilian authorities to handle. To link national effort to a broader regional canvas, international law obliges nation states to either extradite terrorists to the country where their crimes were committed or to punish them themselves.

Middle Eastern Terrorism Narratives Impacting South Asia

Recently, Al Qaeda released a video on September 04, 2014 announcing the establishment of a new branch on the Indian subcontinent, saying it is meant to revive jihadist activity in the region. Mr Zawahri while announcing raising of “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent” said that it had taken more than two years “to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity”. Indian media has reported that the country’s Intelligence Bureau has verified the video’s authenticity and has alerted police officials across the nation to a heightened threat level. In the video statement, the Qaeda leader vowed to “crush the artificial borders established by the English occupiers to divide the Muslims.” This new entity has claimed responsibility for hijacking a Pakistani naval ship PNS Zulfiqar on September 06, 2014, and trying to use it to fire rockets at the US vessels in the Arabian Sea. This was the first major (mis)adventure by this South Asia focused group.

From another perspective, after seeing the failure of the Al-Qaeda philosophy to enact socio-political changes through a regime change strategy, an alternative philosophy has come to surface under the concept of Islamic State(IS), this splinter entity of Al-Qaeda aims at physically occupying as much land as possible to proclaim statehood and then continue defending and or expanding it. The IS already controls a wide stretch of land in Iraq and Syria, including 1/3rd of total oil wells of Iraq. As of now, the IS is a defacto State. This is a more challenging form of terrorism; because the original state’s inability to evict such regimes from their proclaimed territories would mean that a trend to setup such principalities would receive encouragement with a hope that they may sooner or later acquire legitimacy. Some jihadist organizations across the Middle East have begun announcing their support for the Islamic State without formally joining the organization; these include Al-Qaeda in Yemen and some groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Such developments also entail unleashing of proxy wars at regional level by the neighbouring states in support and against emerging principalities.

Alongside the establishment of “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent”, the IS has also made its first public appearance in Pakistan with the distribution of pamphlets and other material in the suburbs of Peshawar, capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. The booklet titled Fatah (victory) is published in Pushto and Dari languages. Some copies were also sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar. And lately such documents were also found in the Ismaeli community bus that was attacked by terrorists in Karachi on May 12, 2015. However, at the official level, the government of Pakistan denies the presence of IS in the country, claiming that it is only a Middle East specific outfit. The IS, now is considered the largest and richest militant outfits in the world, it has gained strength from anarchy. It’s a combination of split warring factions which is now aided by fighters from many countries. The Islamic State has its recruiters all over the Western world seeking out new members through social media or known supporters in Canada, Britain, the US and other largely non-Muslim nations. The US State Department said it knows of “dozens” of US citizens fighting with the IS, the Canadian government claims there are at least 130 Canadians and the British government’s most recent headcount is over 500 Britons. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has issued an edict to fight against the IS terrorists. Following this, Saudi Arabia has arrested a number of suspected extremists. Recently Iran also arrested Afghan and Pakistani citizen crossing over to join the IS fighters. The IS has 30,000 fighters who control an area the size of Britain and rake in about $3 million a day in black-market oil sales.

These developments indicate that at regional level, terrorism may be more close to formulation stages rather than to a culmination point and South Asia may become a playing field for the competing narratives of the IS and Al-Qaeda.

Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Effort: Challenges and the Way

Forward

Pakistan has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. After 9/11, Pakistan aligned itself with the international community in general and the United States in particular to fight against terrorism in its neighbourhood. Pakistan permitted the UN mandated coalition’s access to its military bases, gave permission to use its ground and air supply routes. Logistical support provided by Pakistan played vital role in sustaining the international counter terrorism effort in Afghanistan. Moreover, Pakistan arrested and handed over to the US over 600 suspected al Qaeda members. Pakistan has played an effective role in countering and combating extremism and terrorism at national, regional and global levels. It has voted in affirmative for all UNSC resolutions to combat terrorism and is in compliance with all such resolutions and other instruments on this subject. Pakistan is a member and observer of important regional organizations like SAARC, ARF SCO, etc. which have explicit declarations with respect to countering terrorism.

After 9/11 Pakistan military’s primary role would have been to prevent the influx of hardened fighters fleeing from Afghanistan due to their chase by the US led coalition forces; however, it became embroiled in another demanding contingency. In a dramatic false flag operation, the Indian parliament was attacked by five persons allegedly associated with the struggle for the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

India used this as a pretext to deploy its forces on its international border with Pakistan in an aggressive posture. This forced Pakistan to divert its military and intelligence resources towards the Indian border, where they remained deployed for nearly one year. Due to paucity of resources, the border with Afghanistan remained insufficiently guarded; whereby there weren’t sufficient arrangements to check and completely stop the inflow of the extremist fighters from Afghanistan. These incoming militants melted down into the tribal people as they had similar physical features and could speak the local dialect in an inconspicuous way. Soon they began to reorganize, reconstitute and regroup. Their activities initially remained trans-border, crossing over to Afghanistan and back and occasional low scale terrorist activities in Pakistan. In the meanwhile, they were able to place their sleeping cells at important urban locations.

The first manifestation of their power was the defiant mood of women students of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad. An operation to evict militants from the Lal Masjid in July 2007 was a watershed—a tactical success but a strategic fiasco. Militants fanned out into the tribal areas of Pakistan. In December 2007, the existence of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was officially announced under the leadership of Baitullah Meshud — an ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee. On August 25,

2008, Pakistan banned the group, froze its bank accounts and assets, and barred it from media appearances. The government also announced bounties on prominent leaders of the TTP. All these steps were to have only a nominal outcome as a mechanism to effectively implement such declarations in FATA did not exist.

The creation of TTP marked a turning point in relation to the tempo and tenor of terrorist activities. These were no longer confined to a handful of foreign intruders. Their local collaborators were now well trained, motivated and networked to participate in the never-ending terrorist activities. Their activities were no longer runaway attacks or cowardly ambushes or acts of erratically thrown explosives. Now these were well organized attacks aimed at fighting their way to targets and destroying them. Their high profile attacks on well guarded civil and military targets created a feeling of perpetual insecurity. Suicide bombers occupied centre stage. It appeared as if nothing was safe. These circumstances led towards a national consensus to use hard force to tackle the terrorist outfits. A series of operations have been launched since 2008 to combat terrorist entities. These operations led to systematic pushing of terrorists from all adjoining areas to North Waziristan. Now a massive operation code-named “Zarb-e-Azb” is underway in North Waziristan. A brief resume of important military operations against the terrorist outfits is as follows:-

  • Operation Rah-e-Rast. This operation meaning “Right Path” began in Malakand/Swat area in May 2009. The Pakistan Army and Air Force took the militants head-on in a fight for control of Swat district. The military operation was launched throughout the district and elsewhere to evict the Taliban. This resulted in the displacement of around 2.2 million persons. The operation was a success. By August 22, 2009, a major bulk of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had returned home. A majority of the middle ranking Taliban leaders had been captured and the militants were evicted from the area. However, two cadres of militants were able to escape. This was followed by massive de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes. The Swat operation was a resounding success, it earned international
  • Operation Rah-e-Nijat. Rah-e-Nijat or “Path to Salvation” was a strategic military operation by the armed forces of Pakistan (army and air force) against the (TTP) and their extremist allies in South Waziristan. Pakistan was now taking the fight to the then TTP Chief Baitullah Mehsud’s mountainous stronghold that was lodging about 20,000 hardened militants. A major land-air offensive was launched on October 17. By December 12, 2009, the operation was over and the military retook the whole of South Waziristan. However, none of the top Taliban leaders were killed or captured in the operation. At various stages of these operations, Pakistan’s military had requested their ISAF/ NATO counterparts to increase their border posts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border so that they could stop the exodus of fleeing militants into Afghanistan. However, this request was not accepted, resulting in an exodus of all top tier leadership of Taliban to Afghanistan. During this operation, 11,080 families (80,000 individuals) had registered themselves with the IDP camps. These displaced persons returned to their homes after the operation was over.
  • Likewise, in a well managed campaign of military operations, militants were also flushed out from other administrative units of FATA. These combatants kept pouring into North Waziristan. Soon this area became home to over 10,000 battle hardened militants of local and foreign origin.
  • North Waziristan Dilemma. Pakistan faced tremendous domestic and international pressures to launch an offensive in

North Waziristan. Having realized that the armed forces had not been able to completely extricate from any of the earlier operations, the military command thought it appropriate to avoid the mission. This mindset continued till the change of political and military leadership in 2013-14.

o Giving Negotiations a chance. Tackling the terrorists was an electoral issue for the 2013 elections. There was a national consensus to eradicate terrorism; however, the major political parties differed on strategy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party preferred a negotiated political settlement. Soon after assumption of power in June 2013, the Prime Minister evolved a parliamentary consensus for negotiating with the militants. However, the 4-month long cumbersome process failed because of the inflexible attitude of the militants and their continued committal of acts of terrorism.

o Back to the Hard Power Option. After the failure of talks, the government decided to launch a military operation in North Waziristan. A major military campaign “Operation Zarb-e- Azb” was launched, on 15 June 2014, to expel the militants from North Waziristan. It resulted in the displacement of over a million persons. Major objectives were achieved within three months; over 1500 local and foreign militants were killed; the middle command order of militants stood decimated, the remaining militants are on the run; and militants no longer retain the capacity to carry out sustained/ organized violence; however, they still have the capability of carrying out sporadic attacks at the places and timing of their choosing. The on going military operation is dictated by Pakistan’s own national interest, and is backed by a national consensus. Despite mounting international pressures over the previous years, the choosing of the timing and scope of operation Zarb-e-Azb was a well thought out national decision; the operation will continue till militancy is eliminated from the country. The operation has received widespread support from the Pakistani political, defence and civilian sectors. The two largest Islamic clerical groups (the Pakistan Ulema Council and the Council of Islamic Ideology) have declared a fatwa (edict) endorsing the military operation, calling it a jihad against terrorism. Apart from the domestic dimension, peace and stability in North Waziristan is also linked with how the situation evolves in Afghanistan in general and the Afghan provinces adjoining Waziristan in particular, and how the Afghan government cooperates in controlling the violence from its side.

Before 9/11, Pakistan had witnessed just one suicide attack. However, since 9/11, the country has recorded over 400 suicide attacks, resulting in a huge number of fatalities and injuries. There are over two dozen countries around the world where terrorists resort to suicide attacks, all such attackers are non-state actors. Everywhere, sympathy is expressed with the victims of such attacks irrespective of their colour creed or occupation; ironically such international empathy and sympathy is missing whenever a suicide bomber attacks the Pakistani people and structures. Pakistan is therefore, justified to expect a fair deal in this context.

International effort to eliminate terrorism from Afghanistan has not been fully successful, there are many question marks regarding the future trajectory of transitions in Afghanistan. Militant outfits of Afghanistan retain the capability and capacity to attack all types of targets at the time and place of their choosing. As long as the militants of Afghanistan retain this capability, its effect will continue to impact Pakistan. Afghanistan is the trigger-station for violent activity in the region. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have serious capacity and capability issues, with no early solution in sight. The discipline and motivational aspects of ANSF are worrisome. This puts a question mark on the ability of the Afghan government to effectively control the border movement—and as a corollary, acts of terrorism originating from Afghanistan.

There are credible assessments that alongside Western foreign entities, Indian and Afghan intelligence entities have made deep inroads in some of the outlawed ethnic sectarian organizations as well as separatist elements in Pakistan. Indian intelligence agencies have invested heavily to make enduring contacts amongst these organizations and local notables in FATA and Balochistan for future activities. At the international level, India has deftly exploited the sensitivities of Western countries to tarnish the image of Pakistan. Simultaneously India has also set out to meddle in the domestic politics of Pakistan by exploiting traditional fault lines. It frequently provides a platform and logistic facilitation to separatist ethnic elements from Balochistan. Now the Indian intelligence agency RAW has been assigned a special project for disrupting implementation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, with an initial funding of an equivalent of US$ 300 million.

Counter terrorism requires a comprehensive approach encompassing all facets of terrorism, most importantly, rehabilitation of demobilized militants. Pakistan has carried out meaningful reforms in some sectors to create a hedge against proliferation and facilitation of terrorism. Of special mention are: revision of academic curricula for school, college and university levels to weed out controversial material; persistent effort towards mainstreaming religious seminaries and banking sector reforms to choke the flow of cash to terrorist outfits, etc.

The Government of Pakistan has issued a comprehensive National Action Plan, with a special focus on countering terrorism with an aim to creating a multi-disciplinary effort towards its elimination. This plan envisages the setting up of a revamped, better organized, trained and equipped counter-terrorism force. Policy stipulates an integrated approach towards intelligence sharing and incorporates an elaborate reintegration strategy. Earlier, a new statutory instrument entitled “Protection of Pakistan Act 2014” was approved by the Parliament of Pakistan. It addresses the problems faced by the prosecutors in getting meaningful punishments awarded to the terrorists. This legislation is likely to ensure the speedy trial of terrorists. Moreover, the constitution has been amended to make a time-bound (two years) provision of military courts for trial of “jet-black” terrorists.

Pakistan has all along been making a strenuous effort to combat terrorism at home. The armed forces of Pakistan are spearheading the campaign against militants and have given many sacrifices in this regard. While combating terrorism, Pakistan has suffered nearly 60,000 civilian and over 6,000 military casualties. Moreover, quantifiable economic loss is of the tune of US$ 120 billion. This loss of blood and treasure by Pakistan needs due acknowledgment and compensation by the international community.

Rehabilitation and reintegration of militants are important steps in eradicating terrorism. In this context, the Pakistan army has established and successfully run some model skill enhancement rehabilitation programmes in Swat and other areas. The key to the success of such programmes is that once an individual has acquired a skill, a corresponding job should be waiting for him. Enormous international effort, in the form of a marshal plan may be required to create an appropriate socio-economic environment to prevent a relapse of those who renounce militancy as a result of the political process, and again become disgruntled due to the lack of an adequate reintegration plan.

Causes leading to extremism and terrorism include but are not limed to: ideological/cultural inclinations, distortions and or inhibitions; perception of political deprivation; lack of even playing ground for socio-economic development; external intervention, etc. In the regional context, common factors leading to extremist inclinations may be: poverty and exploitation; proneness to natural calamities; inter-state tensions and non-resolution of core disputes; hegemonic policies of external state actors leading to intervention; and threat to sovereignty of smaller nation states, etc. Traditional trans-national and trans-regional ethno-sectarian fault lines are the readily available vehicles for outward transmission of extremist sentiment to attract a wider support base, as well as for inward flow of logistical support to the troubled spots to influence the tactical level outcomes.

Contemporary terrorist entities identify themselves at micro as well as at macro levels; varying from the isolating world of sub-national minorities—weak, disempowered, disenfranchised and angry— to another kind of minority—networked, globalized, transnational, armed, and dangerous. Highly skilled small groups and trans-national sleeper cells are increasingly gaining prominence. Though expanse of terrorism is global, some of its forms are regional and local, hence requiring regional and local solutions—mostly based on power/resource sharing. Today, no nation or region or community is totally immune from terrorist violence or from its effects. Moreover, there is a close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime like: illicit human, drug and arms trafficking, money-laundering, illegal movement of potentially deadly materials, ungovernable swathes of territory and unregulated border economies. Addressing these contributory causes of terrorism requires global, regional and national level efforts—singly as well as in unison.

Lack of effective trans-national cooperation towards countering terrorism creates an advantageous and enabling environment for terrorist organizations. Countering terrorism at a regional level requires combining the efforts of society, states and regional structures. Pre-requisites for success of a counter-terrorism effort are: ‘just peace’ based on equitable fair play in the resolution of international conflicts, a concerted effort for ethno-sectarian harmony and improving the quality of life of the deprived stratum of societies. These complexities should be fully comprehended for finding ways and means for systemic disentangling of these knots at various tiers of the thought process through: intra-state socio-economic and political reforms, proactive diplomacy, international dispute management, domestic and international structural reforms, human resource development etc.

Conclusion

Pakistan stands committed to contribute its bit towards eradicating terrorism. The ongoing state of socio-political flux in various parts of Asia indicates that our region is poised to endure a terrorism enabling environment for some time. Apart from application of military power against terrorist individuals and entities there is need for a whole range of non-military measures to achieve the objective. There is a national consensus in Pakistan to eradicate terrorism from its territories and not to allow any individual or entity to use its territory for launching terrorist attacks on any other country. Being one of the severest victims of terrorism, Pakistan considers itself as a part of the solution for countering terrorism. Pakistan has always advocated an all-inclusive regional and international approach to address the causes of terrorism in and around Pakistan, and indeed the entire world.

 

 


    The author is a consultant on Policy and Strategic Response at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). He is a retired Air Commodore and a former Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force.