National narrative on terrorism

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THE way our security forces tackled the menace of terrorism has no parallels – something which needs to be commended on a wider scale.

In this endeavour, they also rendered ultimate sacrifices for a better and prosperous future of the country.

The nation will remain indebted to those who laid down their lives for the security of the motherland.

Whilst the back of terrorists has been broken and they have no organized presence in any part of the country, yet their sleeper cells, abetted by the foreign handlers, keep striking off and on to hurt the interests of the country.

This is something which the authorities concerned need to consider very seriously and come up with concrete measures involving also soft interventions to eliminate the menace once and for all.

The terrorist attack on Army Public School (APS) Peshawar on 16th December 2014 happened to be watershed and its emotional side was strong enough to redefine Pakistan anti-terrorism course of action by bringing all stakeholders at a point of consensus.

The result of this consensus was National Action Plan (NAP) which provided a new direction to the state interventions in the domain of anti-terrorism.

Soon after coming to power, present government had announced to review the NAP and we expect that the departments concerned will be working on it to address the gaps in the existing document.

Two things are very important for the success of any narrative against terrorism. Firstly, it should be owned by all and secondly it should also envisage a complete implementation mechanism.

Without national unity, the fruits will be hard to come. Hence, an effort should also be launched to do away with the current polarization in the society and create an enabling environment to develop a consensus document.

For this all political actors either in the government or those protesting on the roads will have to demonstrate flexibility.

The security forces are fulfilling their responsibilities with due diligence and dedication to crush the terrorists but some soft interventions also needs to be made which in fact were also part of the original NAP.

The national narrative must incorporate a counter narrative to strike down theological distortions introduced by the militants.

Religious scholars should be encouraged to play their role in this regard. Paigham-e-Pakistan was a step in the right direction and this document may serve as a stepping stone for evolving the counter narrative.

Then the elements creating confusion regarding the national identity needs to be discouraged by the society as a whole because a strong national narrative cannot come up from the identity confusion.

 

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