By S. M. Hali
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. It comprises those violent acts which are intended to create fear and are committed for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. The perpetrator of these heinous acts is labeled as a “Terrorist”, who employs clever schemes and wicked propaganda to attract the innocent people to join their ranks/groups. Sometimes terrorists hide under the garb of freedom fighters while at other instances; those engaged in a genuine struggle for liberation are mislabeled as terrorists. Alex Perry, in his Op-Ed: ‘How much to tip the terrorist’ in “Time” magazine of September 26, 2005, clarified that, “There is the famous statement: 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' But that is grossly misleading. It assesses the validity of the cause when terrorism is an act. One can have a perfectly beautiful cause and yet if one commits terrorist acts, it is terrorism regardless.”
Terrorism is classified in six different various types: Civil disorder, Political terrorism, Non-Political terrorism, Quasi-terrorism, Limited political terrorism and State terrorism.
It is beyond the scope of this article to get into the details of each type but terrorism in Pakistan is an aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the 1980s, it began primarily with supporting the Soviet-Afghan War, and helping launch the Afghan Mujahedeen. The conflict brought numerous fighters from all over the world to the region in the name of jihad. These mujahidin conducted guerrilla wars and insurgent activities inside Afghanistan, while the Soviets retaliated by launching terrorist attacks within Pakistan.
The invasion of Afghanistan by the US-led allies following 9/11 and Pakistan’s support for the war on terror catapulted Pakistan into a prime target of terrorist attacks, which now included the suicide bombers as a primary tool. Terrorist employ various means to recruit fresh blood and swell their numbers. Having succeeded to mentally envelop the simple and straightforward individuals into their treacherous folds, the terrorist motivates his ranks by projecting Pakistani security forces as their enemy who have allegedly joined hands with US forces, make flamboyant speeches using glittering phrases and impressive slogans, glorify slain Taliban/Al-Qaeda terrorists by showing their dead bodies with jihadi music/poems (in Pashto) played in the background, construct fake scenes of destroyed Pakistani tanks in Swat and forged photos of Pakistani security forces being eaten up by dogs, presenting Pakistan Army soldiers’ alleged involvement in torturing the prisoners and fictitious pictures of Pak Army soldiers relaxing in hilly areas with US soldiers. The aim is to depict Pak Army as the real enemy while boasting jingles and courageous catchwords are used with a firm resolve to defeat Pak Army. They also show videos of Taliban successes like downing of US Chinook Helicopter, improvised explosive devices (IED) operations and cutting throats of an alleged spy. Such psychological techniques are used to motivate the recruits to undertake terrorist training willingly. They also infuse a ray of hope in their ranks by boasting the fearlessness and heroic bravery of terrorist leaders.
A common technique employed to motivate the youth from tribal regions to become terrorists is to quote out of context extracts from verses of the Holy Quràn advocating martyrs to enter heaven. To make the deception complete, these misguided youth are informed that if they sacrifice their lives in the “cause”, they will enter paradise, where they will be greeted by seventy-two houris and they will also pave the way to have forty of their close relatives to enter paradise, when they die. To further endorse their false claims, the young recruit is handed over a formal and official looking certificate to “book his place in paradise”.
The cancer that has grown into a horrible disease needs to be treated urgently before it takes a higher toll than the 35,000 that have perished so far. There is a need to counter terrorists’ psychological campaign by uncovering their real designs and power motives. They themselves have gone astray and are being supported by foreign masters to accomplish their agenda. The propaganda video clips used by them are totally forged based on malicious intentions. They have no respect for religion and Islam and use brutal acts of violence to meet their objectives. Recent example of cold blooded murder of FC soldiers kidnapped for ransom and or for negotiating easy exchange with their top leaders already arrested by security forces is a clear cut example of their heinous practice, which needs to be checked.