Have to come out of state of denial to counter extremist narrative: Farhatullah Babar


ISLAMABAD : Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator, Farhatullah Babar has said that we cannot employ the enormous power of the media to fight extremism until we come out of the state of denial and call a spade a spade.

The PPP Senator stated this while addressing a workshop on countering terrorism through media organized by the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in Islamabad for members of the Parliament on Monday. Members of provincial of Punjab, KPK and Balochistan, GB and AJK attended the workshop.

Farhatullah Babar said that item 14 of the National Action Plan (NAP) calls for demolishing the structures of militants’ narrative but little attention has been paid to it.

He said that narratives are made up of words and have tremendous power and significance. Quran says that the Universe was created with one word “kun” (Be it) and Bible expresses the same thought that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.

The PPP Senator said that the militants narrative began to be constructed in 80’s when special syllabus was constructed in seminaries that taught Alif sai Allah, Bai sai Bandooq (gun), Jeem sai Jehad, jeem say Jahannum (hell), Kaaf sai Kafir (infidel), K sai Kashmir, meem say mujahid and Te sai Toap and teenager mujahids holding guns to ‘kafirs’, he said.

This syllabus was reinforced when Zia adopted motto of “Iman, Taqwa, Jehad fi sabillillah” and privatized jehad inside and outside Pakistan’s national boundaries. Today we are reaping the fruits of that syllabus, Farhatullah Babar said.

No wonder that narratives glorifying war in the name of religion leads to violence in the name of religion.

The extremists narrative is that kufr and apostasy are crimes punishable with death and that it is our duty and right to punish kufr. That non-Muslims are born to live under subjugation of the Muslims and any government of non Muslims is illegitimate and must be thrown out by force. They desire one single state of the Muslims of the World under a khilafa.

Building counter narrative requires intellectual infrastructure based on academic freedom, tolerance for dissent, plurality and critical thinking. It will not be built in garrisons and barracks where the emphasis is on unity of command and not to encourage dissent. Most importantly it requires for us to come out of the state of denial.

Proscribed organizations like Jaish are protected from UN action, banned outfits allowed to reappear under different names and promises made to choke terror financing are not fulfilled but few speak up. We are still living in a state of denial and until we come out of it there is little hope of success in countering extremists narrative, he said.

Orignally published by INP

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