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Leadership For Pakistan

V. Terrorism


Introduction & Background

All too often we are reminded that terrorism continues to inflict pain and suffering on people’s lives all over the world. Almost no day goes by without an act of terrorism taking place some where in the Pakistan, indiscriminately killing and maining dozens of innocent people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unequivocally traumatic in its impact, the crime of terrorism eludes simple analysis. The dark complexity of suicide attacks has exposed inadequacies of security forces, moral philosophers, psychologists and theologians alike. Countering this scourge is in the interest of entire nation and this one issue has been the top agenda of both Pakistan and the countries around the world , for the last two decades.

However despite anti terrorism operations by the military and other law enforcing agencies a lack of political initiative and a much needed dialogue has long been felt. The goal of any program is to have impact. As such strategy forms a basis for any concrete plan of action: to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; to prevent and combat terrorism; to take measures to build state capacity to fight terrorism; to enlist the support of the civil society, particularly religious leadership and the tribal elders.. The Strategy should build on the unique consensus achieved by all the stakeholders to condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and without any further delay adopting and implementing it to promote comprehensive, coordinated and consistent responses, at the local ,provincial and national level..

Our commitment should stem from our fundamental conviction which we all share: that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is unacceptable and can never be justified.

Uniting around that conviction is the basis for what we hope will be a collective national effort to fight terrorism -- an effort bringing together Governments, political parties,the civil society and the private sector, the academia and intellegenica ,religious scholars, -- each using their comparative advantage to supplement the others

A effective strategy should be further built on the “five Ds”-- the fundamental components which are:

    • Dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it;
    • Denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack;
    • Deterring States from supporting terrorism;
    • Developing State capacity to defeat terrorism, and;
    • Defending human rights.

All five are interlinked conditions crucial to the success of any strategy against terrorism. To succeed, we sill need to make progress on all these fronts.

Implementing a national strategy requires us to dissuade people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it, by driving a wedge between terrorists and their potential constituencies. We need to launch a national campaign of Governments, the civil society and the private sector, and aa other stake holders with the message that terrorism is unacceptable in any form, and that there are far better and more effective ways for those with genuine grievances to seek redress. One of the clearest and most powerful ways we can do that is by refocusing our attention on the victims. It is high time we took serious and concerted steps to build national solidarity with them, respecting their dignity as well as expressing our compassion.

Denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack means denying them access both to weapons and to financial resources to acquire them . That will require innovative thinking from all of us about today’s threats -- including those which government cannot address by themselves . Similarly, it will mean working together to counter terrorists’ growing use of the Internet. We must find ways to make sure that this powerful tool becomes a weapon in our hands, not in theirs.

Our work in deterring those who support terrorism must be rooted firmly in our law -- creating a solid legal basis for common actions, and holding law enforcing agencies accountable for their performance in meeting their obligations. This work is intimately linked with the need to develop government capacity to defeat terrorism.

Urgent steps to build and to strengthen the government capacity is vital to make it effective in all the relevant areas -- from promoting the rule of law and effective criminal justice systems to ensuring law enforcing organizations have the means to counter the financing of terrorism; from strengthening capacity to preventing national assets from falling into the hands of terrorists, to improving the ability of the government to provide assistance and support for victims and their families.

Finally, defending human rights runs like a scarlet thread through the needle. It is a prerequisite to every aspect of any effective counter-terrorism strategy. It is the bond that brings the different components together. That means the human rights of all -- of the victims of terrorism, of those suspected of terrorism, of those affected by the consequences of terrorism.

Government must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with their obligations under national and international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. Any strategy that compromises human rights will play right into the hands of the terrorists.

All countries in every region -- large or small, strong or weak -- are vulnerable to terrorism and its consequences. They all stand to benefit from a strategy to counter it. They all have a role to play in preventing it and responding to the challenges as they evolve.

It is also essential that the government as soon as possible,devise a Comprehensive national anti terrorism strategy and enact a law ,building on national consensus if possible.

By adopting and implementing a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, our Government will have a historic opportunity to confront he vicious scrouge of terrorism and demonstrate its resolve to challenge and eradicate and eliminate it.