Violent Extremism and Terrorism

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South Asia is the region that is home to the largest number of jihadist groups in the world. The most lethal such as Al-Qaeda, Islamic State of Khorasan, Afghan Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), etc. It has increased ever since the war on terror was initiated and spread across the Pak-Afghan border due to the complexity of the region. The social-economic and political spheres all were affected as a result of the invasion as this war was being fought on ideological narratives.  Pakistan suffered on a massive scale due to the war on terror it vowed to take on a strategy to counter a religious ideology that was not sought before. Suicide bombings in mosques, churches, temples, and public places had once become a daily routine for the citizens of Pakistan. And now after the evacuation of United States forces from Afghanistan, there is again a rise in extremist and terrorist activities in the region. There is no single factor that can be accredited to the process of violent extremism and Terrorism in this region. The complexity of the South Asian Region highlights the reality that the manifestation of all forms of extremism revolves around the ungoverned spaces of weak institutional mechanisms, governance issues, economic crisis, sectarian divide, ideological difference, and contradictory national interests of the states. International terrorist movements add fuel to this fire. In addition to this, the crime and terror nexus further complicates the situation. Pakistan’s successful pushback against militancy proves it has the capacity and competence to deal with such threats. A policy of appeasement is therefore not an option. Now, more focus should be on reconsolidation of Counter-Terrorism operations’ gains, tackling sympathizers of extremists, better governance, public service delivery, effective policing of cyberspace, and reforming the CJS. Last but not the least, there is a dire need for a regional strategy and cooperation to end this evil.

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