IN a religious decree on Saturday, religious scholars termed the terrorist attacks in Pakistan as ‘Haraam’ and unlawful.
Alluding to multiple hadith, the scholars answered the question of who can declare jihad saying the leader of an Islamic State is responsible for defending the region and thus has the power to declare it under the permitted circumstances.
They declared that those who are killed while protecting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, such as, the police and army personnel, are without a doubt considered martyrs.
The statement by the Ulema comes days after the chief of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that his group is open to guidance from Pakistan’s religious scholars if they believe the direction of our jihad is wrong.
It is yet to be seen as to how the TTP reacts to the decree but one should be certain that their operatives under no circumstances will surrender or lay down their arms.
Given the recent surge in terrorist acts in different parts of the country is a clear manifestation of it.
In the past also, the TTP has used the announcement of ceasefire to regroup itself. Hence, trusting the terrorist group will amount to be living in a fool’s paradise.
As regards the decree of religious scholars, it is a welcome development that really reflects that this important segment of the society is also on board to eradicate the menace of terrorism.
But this is not the first time that such a decree has been issued against terrorism. Back in 2018, the government had also launched Paigham-e-Pakistan – a document signed by over 1800 scholars – as a counter narrative to extremism.
This was also dubbed as a much-needed and symbolically significant step but it was not followed by substantive steps.
Those brainwashed into committing acts of faith-based violence will not be dissuaded by a fatwa.
It is important that terrorist groups are no longer have a license to indulge in divisive, inflammable rhetoric or force the government into making concessions by brandishing the threat of violence.
According to a report recently released by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, a total of 262 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan in 2022 including 14 suicide bombings which claimed 419 lives and injured another 734 people.
A 25 per cent increase was recorded in fatalities in the outgoing year as compared with 2021.
These figures should raise alarm bells in the quarters concerned and needful should be done to curb this violence.
Both kinetic and non-kinetic measures need to be taken to crush this menace from roots once and for all.
The support of religious scholars of all schools of thought will be a key in the implementation of non-kinetic measures.