ISIS: the face of terror and options for Pakistan to deal with it
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Qazi Abdul Mohsin |

It may be surprising to hear, but it is a plain fact that modern global jihad originated as a consequence of US Foreign policy. Afghan jihad was started and supported by the US to achieve the Target of Trapping Bear. The USSR, but they have opened a door to hell. All terrorist groups and extremist organization with radical ideologies have ascended amid the chaos and instability of Region or State. The victorious freedom fighters who came from different part of the world to fight the Afghan Jihad were lionized by the Americans at that time.

There is no contradiction in the fact that in the contemporary world most of the underdeveloped states are caught up in chaos, socio-economic and political instability providing the conducive environment for the mushroom growth of non-state actors like Daesh.

Later on, these chickens of Afghan jihad came back to their respective homes to roost. The Iranian revolution has provided much more inspiration for those freedom fighters to pursue their armed struggle under the curtain of religious ideologies. The thesis “Clash of Civilization” has further fueled the situation and paved a way for more ruthless and more radical jihad. Arab spring, frequent interventions, and civil war added further insult to injury.Whether it is “Revenge of History” or “Revenge of Geography”, back. They have started their struggle against the western ideologies and Western Nation State system after readback. This has provided an open house to ISIS to act in a political vacuum created by global and regional powers. It is a new version of dark ages in the 21st century, a concept synonymous to restructure, massacre and atrocities. The socio-economic fabric of most of the States is decaying because of this militancy. Pakistan is one of those which is facing the more severe consequences. So, it would not be wrong if we say that the Brzezinski’s jihad did not win the Cold War. It only sowed the seeds for the another war. They sowed the cyclone and we are reaping its blowback.

Read more: Pakistanis must learn the limits of military led counter-terrorism

Why is the organization mushrooming?

There is no contradiction in the fact that in the contemporary world most of the underdeveloped states are caught up in chaos, socio-economic and political instability providing the conducive environment for the mushroom growth of non-state actors like Daesh. Afghanistan and Tribal Area of Pakistan has remained home for a number of non-state entities for almost 4 decades. The socio-economic and political instability in Afghanistan is providing a good pitch for non-state actors to act. ISIS is promoting its agenda by targeting all socio-economic and political problems of a society. All such groups have taken the advantage of power vacuum and weakened the state security and played a substantial role in harnessing the sectarian violence in Sunni majority Area. The question is that why ISIS is so appealing in this new era of globalization where information is just a click away? The answer is no rocket science: identity crisis and surge of Islamophobia. In this world of Globalization, people are losing or in search their identity so they fall easy prey to extremist ideologies. Moreover, the technological advancement in terrorism plays an overwhelming role in recruiting through social media. Daesh has recruited more than 30,000 fighters through social media.

ISIS undertook horrible and devastating attacks ranging from suicide bomb blast on Lal Shahbaz Qalander shrine to the suicide attack in the emergency of Quetta civil hospital with almost 70 casualties.

A threat to peace and stability 

There is no denial in the fact that ISIS has emerged more strongly and shown a mushrooming growth across the globe and has become a super-existential threat to the peace and security of region as well as the world. This was also acknowledged by the Russians Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that “ISIS poses more stringent threat to neighboring countries than any other group.” Russia is worried about the increasing footprint of ISIS in Afghanistan that may create instability in CARs states by developing the relationship of franchise and franchisee with other terrorist organizations like IMU. etc. These recent developments in Afghanistan have opened doors for Taliban as they are being considered less dangerous as compared to ISIS. Inter-alia China has serious concerns regarding Islamic conservative entities. Therefore, China wants that Afghan Taliban and other factional conservative groups to be mainstreamed as a political entity.Iran is also on the same page with other stakeholders including Pakistan.

Read more: Expanded remit of military operations in Punjab, no decision on PSL yet

The rising threat of ISIS and Pakistan

ISIS undertook horrible and devastating attacks ranging from suicide bomb blast on Lal Shehbaz Qalander shrine to the suicide attack in the emergency of Quetta civil hospital with almost 70 casualties. Almost two years ago Baluchistan government informed federal government regarding the increasing footprints of ISIS in Pakistan. In the beginning, government was in the denial regarding the presence of ISIS in the region but later on the wretched and punk law and order situation in the country and large-scale activities claimed by ISIS showed it other way and sanctify by the government officials. Pakistan Military and LEAs are in a operation against terrorists but lot more needed that has to be done. Pakistan’s  civil and military leadership is more inclined towards stick policies i.e. military operation but there is a need of creating and implementing counter-narrative. After the APS attack all parties agreed to implement the 20 points of National Action Plan ( formulated to combat terrorism) aimed at stern measures but unfortunately it was neither channelized nor implemented in totality.

Options for Pakistan to cope with ISIS

Being a terror victim Pakistan has faced many casualties But the question is that is the country ready to counter the ISIS phenomena? The provincial government as well as Federal government has been negating the presence of ISIS in Pakistan but the commission report of Quetta blast is an eye opener not only for both governments but also for all LEAs. Peace and stability is not possible without the implementation of substantial counter-terrorism policies. Counter-terrorism strategy which the authorities have been focusing is military-heavy but this menace cannot be eradicated without formulating and implementing stringent policies and counter narratives. To begin with, the government should take every pain for the revival of NACTA (National counter terrorism authority). Moreover government should formulate a strategy for the registration and mainstreaming of all madrassas and mosques. In addition to that government should play a decisive role in creating counter narrative through media. Not only this but cyber-cell must be made proactive for stopping terror financing and recruiting through social Media. Sympathizers of terrorists must be brought to the justice.

In addition to that, the government should play a decisive role in creating counter-narrative through media.Not only this but cyber-cell must be made proactive for stopping terror financing and recruiting through social Media.

Intelligence base operations (IBOs) by LEAs proved to be a fruitful but not sufficient. There is a need to propagate and replicate the well-tailored counter-narrative encompassing clergy, civil society, academia, intelligentsia and all other private and public sector including media. Border management, a long-standing problem, must be resolved and done on priority. NAP must be channelized and implemented in real spirit.

Read more: Are military operations the only way to counter terrorism in Pakistan?

In addition to that, the government should play a decisive role in creating counter-narrative through media. Not only this but cyber-cell must be made proactive for stopping terror financing and recruiting through social Media. Sympathizers of terrorists must be brought to the justice. Intelligence base operations ( IBOs) by LEAs proved to be a fruitful but not sufficient. There is a need of time to propagate and replicate the well-tailored counter-narrative encompassing clergy, civil society, academia, intelligentsia and all other private and public sector including media.Border management, a large standing problem, must be resolved and done on priority. NAP must be channelized and implemented in real spirit.

Read more: United States & Pakistan can work together to destroy ISIS: Pakistan’s Ambassador to US

To conclude, ISIS has not only become an existential threat to the peace and stability of the region but also for Pakistan and it must be dealt with all possible options. All regional and Major global powers consider Taliban as a key to checkmate ISIS. It has engulfed and stormed the number of countries across the globe with its radical ideology and fanatical religious beliefs. It has become a collective threat for all the effective states and region.So, there is a need  to take collective measures for ending this menace from its roots. Pakistan has given numberless men and material sacrifices in War on Terror. Therefore, all the state institutions of Pakistan should take effective measures by implementing counter-terrorism policies with new horizons for the eradication of this menace.

Qazi Abdul Mohsin is an Engineer and a political analyst with a penchant of Diplomacy, International Relations, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

COMMENTS AND DISCUSSIONS