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Policy on militancy

Published Oct 12, 2012 10:07pm


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STRONG words from the army at a time of intense emotions over the attack on 14-year-old Malala are an important addition to the national revulsion at the Taliban and the way of life they seek to impose on Pakistan. Important as it is to have clarity in the national discourse about the Taliban — something the religious right even now is seeking to obfuscate by talking of conspiracies and bringing up red herrings — what is equally, if not more, essential, is to have the determination to build and then implement a clear strategy against militancy. At a meeting of the senior-most officers of the armed forces convened by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Shameem Wyne on Thursday, the armed forces did try and lay down a marker against the Taliban. In tone and tenor, it was in keeping with the straight talk of Gen Kayani on Aug 14 and will help dispel some of the propaganda being spread by those sympathetic to the Taliban and their cause.

But — and this is a critical qualification — the strongest of words will not substitute for meaningful policy. And policy will never be meaningful until a fundamental decision is taken: a zero-tolerance policy towards militancy. Only from that starting point will a clear and coherent strategy emerge and only from there can we have a chance of definitively rescuing Pakistan from the grip of militancy and the non-violent extremism that creates an enabling environment for violent action. Too much attention is paid to the details sometimes — which groups should be taken on first and where, what should be done about North Waziristan, how should Pakistan adjust its preference for a Pakhtun-dominated set-up in Afghanistan. All these are very important questions in their own right and intrinsic to solving the riddle of militancy but they do have the unfortunate effect of detracting from a core understanding: until Pakistan adopts a zero-tolerance policy towards violent militancy and its superficially non-violent extremist counterpart, the country will slip deeper and deeper into the vortex of instability and insecurity.

Given the unfortunate political history of Pakistan, the idea that a zero-tolerance policy towards militancy is state policy can only come if the military lays down that marker. Through its actions it must make it clear to its civilian counterparts and the public that the stated policy is in fact the actual policy. Of course, when it comes to rolling back the infrastructure of jihad, the armed forces will need the civilian leadership to exhibit courage and leadership too. But the first step must be taken by the men in uniform.

Comments (9) Closed

Thass Oct 13, 2012 01:53pm
Pakistan is slowly bleeding to death. Its people ravaged by these ruthless murderers, chidlren left orphaned, women lefy destitute. Now even the child is not spared. This has nothing to do with Islam. It is the cult of the gun and the bomb. The future of Islam and Pakistan is at stake. The enemy is within. Ignorance and fanticism devoid of any religous basis.
AHA Oct 13, 2012 02:18pm
The religious right are the direct beneficiaries of an intolerant and militant society. They can never support enlightenment and truth.
tariq aziz Oct 13, 2012 12:14pm
i like to say that zero-tolerance policy is not best of our country.its result will be dangerous.
AHA Oct 13, 2012 02:42pm
True. The enemy is within.
mazharuddin Oct 13, 2012 01:23pm
Not possible to control militancy till we harness truth to our people and that is only possible through freedom of expression and open discussion on each issue in order to realize fact by the person himself instead relying on socalled scholars who have one sided agenda. It is fact truth has bitterness and media too ignore truth, claim truth as hateful how people understand fact. Should accept truth on media to communicate to people
bilal afzal Oct 13, 2012 08:37am
I totally endorse the idea of zero-tolerance policy towards militancy. Leniency towards militancy just give a signal of cowardliness and fear to the militants. However, to implement this policy, proper plan and will is required. Also, training of police and its investigation procedures need to revamp. judges dealing with terrorism cases need high security to save them from possible threats from militants. As we saw in the previous years that militants got free owing to lack of evidence and threats to judges. The police officers who launched operation against the culprits in Karachi were also assassinated. Protection of those people who are involved in counter-terrorism activities should be made necessary so that they will perform their duties with more zeal and zest in future
Jawad Oct 13, 2012 05:31am
it's already high time, time to take concrete and result oriented steps and turn these policies into actual actions.
manna Oct 13, 2012 10:34am
yes zero tolerance policy is the need of the hour, but its manifestation will only be possible if the parliment passes the law against terrorism lying in abysance with them since long or elso it should give the Army a free hand to exterminate all terrorist on spot but then the government should be ready to face the criticism of extra judicial killing and the hue and cry of entire planets humanitarian organizations.Similarly the government will have to do something about illegal foreigners particullarly Afghans who are deeply rooted in our society.As a national policy they should be isolated and expatriated immediatly.Similarly a code of conduct for construction of mosques, appointment of qualified imams, registeration and reforms of madrassahs etc will have to be put in place and followed vigourously. To pursu this civil society will have to come forward and play their role in striking a balance between their religious and societal obligations, they themselve will have to check, sensor and monitor the activities of their mosque imams, madrassah operator etc. They will have to rise and vet / question the validity of cermon given by their area imam,qari sahib etc, no sacrosanction be granted to them. similarly the chanda muhims by various organizations also needs to be curtailed, monitored and audited. The way forward can only be ensured in just oplitical, judicial , developmental and economical speedy reforms. Zero tolerance by all segments of the society and not by military only will save our coming genration from this menace presently surpassing us.
M. Asghar Oct 13, 2012 10:23am
It is not that difficult to set up a zero tolerance policy towards the ravaging extremism, but the real task is to implement it effectively in an accountable manner on the ground everywhere in the country. However, this has been lacking for a long time, but one cannot do this anymore.