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Moeed Yusuf | Oct 25, 2016

OF late, I have been studying Sri Lanka’s war experience. The country has fascinated students of comparative politics like me as it defies virtually all conventional wisdom about peace and conflict within societies.Unlike the rest of South Asia, it checks several boxes typically associated with relatively peaceful outcomes for nations. It boasts a 90-plus per cent literacy rate. It is now formally a middle-income country — even when it wasn’t, it didn’t suffer from the kind of abject poverty typical of South Asia. Also, Sri Lanka has an aging population. The worry about scores of youth floating idly and turning to bad things wasn’t as pertinent, at least on paper.

Finally, the country’s majority is Buddhist — a pacifist religion at its core. Yet, it experienced brutal violence lasting decades. The LTTE-inspired insurgency introduced suicide bombing to the modern world and killed thousands. Less known but equally violent insurrections took place in the south of the country. Sri Lanka’s experience throws out any number of lessons for peer countries, including Pakistan.

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