The terrorism phenomenon recurs throughout human history and the waves of terrorism keep on transforming. The recent wave of transnational terrorism has altered the social structural dynamics of terrorist networks as well as counter-terrorism organizations, as they continue to adapt to the changing environment as well as advanced technologies.
Transnational terrorism involves terrorist activities across the border and to carry out such activities, advanced intelligence technologies, social media platforms, bots (automated accounts), and impression accounts are being used. Such latest technologies and AI (Advanced Intelligence) are used to launch hybrid warfare and cyber warfare in order to spread propaganda and chaos among the public.
Hybrid warfare is a combination of intelligence systems including the latest technologies and fanatic fighting styles. Whereas, cyber warfare involves such actions by the non-state actors that are aimed at damaging computer systems and information networks. Hybrid warfare, cyber warfare, and gray-zone tactics have posed unremitting challenges to the defense area.
Read more: Rise of social media is fuelling interest in cyber warfare
Today, because of the excessive internet accessibility and social media apps usage, it has become convenient to spread terrorist propaganda, fake news, disinformation, mistrust, and chaos among the public.
Therefore, it has become crucial to winning a battle over psychology by disrupting terrorist propaganda, presenting ideologies in a positive way, image building of the country, presenting loyalties and agendas to the target population through AI and social media platforms. MPECI (Military, Political, Economic, Civil, and Informational) is very important in order to understand all dimensions of hybrid warfare in order to disrupt terrorist propaganda.
On 29th June 2021 FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office), UK has issued travel advice for Pakistan. According to this latest travel advisory, foreigners must restrict their movement and must not visit some areas of including KPK, Balochistan, north Sindh and Line of Control due to the threat of terrorism.
According to previous general travel advice available on FCO official website, the foreigners living in Pakistan, must not visit crowded areas and have highlighted many areas including some sectors of Islamabad. FCDO and the international community portray Pakistan as a terrorism-prone country irrespective of the war it has been fighting against terrorism.
Read more: FATF mislabels Pakistan as “terrorist” while India goes scot free
Pakistan’s fight against terrorism
Pakistan has been grappled with serious challenges and is still fighting the war on terrorism for since long. It has been facing continuous threats of terrorism from traditional as well as non-traditional violent extremist groups and terrorist networks. In recent years, Pakistan has taken steps and introduced acts and policies in order to counter and control terrorism.
According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal Index, Pakistan has declined in terrorism by 89% in 2017 since 2009. Pakistan has faced 319 terrorism incidents in 2020, which is a great decline from nearly 4,000 incidents in 2013.
Pakistan has also played an unparalleled role in the Afghan Peace process and a mediatory role in US-Iran, US-China strained relations. Pakistan has also played a significant role in achieving Climate Action – SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of UN Agenda 2030 and the most effective COVID-19 strategies.
Read more: Sustainable Development Goals: Pakistan’s peculiar challenges
Pakistan has made great progress in legislation in order to comply with the FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) stipulations. Some of the important legislative steps are as under; Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2020; Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment), 2020; National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) (Amendment), 2020; Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act, 2020; Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The list also includes; United Nations (Security Council) (Amendment) Act, 2020; Anti-Terrorism (Second Amendment) Act, 2020; Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020; Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Act, 2020; Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act, 2020; Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Act, 2020; The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Act, 2020 and Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Act, 2020.
How to end prejudice against Pakistan?
Irrespective of the efforts Pakistan is making to control the menace of terrorism and building a soft image, it has always faced international bigotry and prejudice. Therefore, there is a dire need to raise the voice against such prejudice.
The spread of fake news, fake social media trends (initiated by bots), and the spread of propaganda by extremist groups, terrorist networks, non-state actors, and foreign government institutes should be dealt with on a priority basis.
Read more: Pakistan warns UN over Indian NGOs behind ‘fake news’
Social media and propaganda risk management tools should be developed and effectively used to measure the risk status and achieve resiliency success through timely and synchronized actions and operative decision-making.
The author has done MS in Management Sciences from Riphah International University. She has 8 years of working experience in the development sector and has also made significant efforts in countering terrorism. She is working as an Independent Researcher in the fields of Management Sciences and Counter-Terrorism to shape significant connotations between the two fields. She can be accessed through firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.