Pakistan in Crossroads

Comment

The death of Osama Bin Laden is considered a martyr among all Jihadist and Islamic Militants globally. His death, although has brought a low morale among his followers does not mean that the ideological goals of Al Qaeda will die off. Militant Islamic groups operating globally have their own agenda’s and political motives but will hold dearly to Al Qaeda’s ideological goals....

The death of Osama Bin Laden is considered a martyr among all Jihadist and Islamic Militants globally. His death, although has brought a low morale among his followers does not mean that the ideological goals of Al Qaeda will die off. Militant Islamic groups operating globally have their own agenda’s and political motives but will hold dearly to Al Qaeda’s ideological goals. This is clearly evident in the protest march in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden’s followers just after his killing.

His presence in Pakistan is now international news and the need for grassroots counter-extremism efforts in Pakistan is more than needed before. Pakistan is being blamed for protecting Osama bin Laden within certain establishments quoted as supporting and safe guarding his presence there. It underlines the problems linked to terrorism and extremism within Pakistan.

In the past few years, politicians, moderate clerics and religious minorities in Pakistan have been targeted with intimidation and violence by extremist operating under the influence of Al Qaeda and Taliban organizational ideologies. These attacks has led to the deaths of Pakistanis and impacted the political and economic stability of Pakistan.

Pakistan militants and foreign based jihadist from Al Qaeda have used Pakistan as its base to carry out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, India and across the waters internationally.This has increased regional instability and the threat does not seem to stop there. Extremism in Pakistan can threaten regional security and Pakistan itself.

Earlier today, the Pakistani banned militant Islamic group, Thereek-e-Taliban has issued a warning that it will take revenge on Osama’s death and its prime target will be within Pakistan. They also said their second target will be the United States. Sources provided stated that the militant group has also been rumored to have been protecting Osama bin Laden during his presence in Pakistan.

The Pakistanis solution to a long haul and lasting stability to these problems is to spearhead the struggle against extremism and to develop non-violent means of political expression soonest as possible. If left untreated the problem will continue to grow and will lead Pakistan further into extremism and radicalization and it will be difficult for Pakistan to come out clean as a moderate Islamic country.

This will also build and foster terrorist and militancy to operate within Pakistan freely. If not treated at this point, Pakistan could become another Afghanistan. It is clearly showing signs that political will is not proving to address the current issues at a serious level. The establishments that have been quoted in supporting extremism are frightening.

The Organization of Islamic Council needs to play a vital role in addressing sectoral violence and extremism in the Muslim World and to support actively individuals and groups challenging extremism. The OIC and the international community both can recognize and provide training and support to homegrown organizations and bodies to promote their ideas at the grass-root level.

The killing of Osama bin Laden may undermine militant Islamic terrorist organizations but this will not solve the radicalization and extremism already talking place in Pakistan today. The international community cannot only provide military aid and funding to Pakistan but to actively involve themselves in the process.

The international community needs to actively support Pakistanis in order to support and organize them to counter extremist ideologies. This can be done by engaging through civic action and by support structures provided to them. Pakistan will continue to be a hub for militant Islamic groups and radicalization, unless extremist ideological views and beliefs are discredited by the larger population.

Andrin Raj (andrin.raj@stratad.net) is a Counter Terrorist expert and the Director for Stratad Asia- Pacific Strategic Centre and currently the Southeast Asia Regional Director for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals

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