INTERVIEW
 
Workshop on Terrorism Concludes
The News
27 March 2010
PESHAWAR: The two-day national workshop about Pakistan’s response to terrorism concluded here Friday. Experts from various parts of the country came up with strategies to counter the menace of terrorism at the workshop, organised by International Relations Department, University of Peshawar, in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany. Various experts discussed the issue of terrorism at length including its emergence in the society and the threat it poses to the state and society.

Most of the participants of the workshop were of the view that Islamabad’s policy regarding Afghanistan was partly responsible for the rise of terrorism in the country, as the policy has had a ‘blowback effect’.

Some of them said that role of the Pakistani establishment in Afghan affairs was a compulsion as the country’s security demanded it. However, most of the participants thought it was high time to do away with the old policy to counter terrorism.

They also said there should be zero-tolerance for any terrorist and militant group in the country as they have wreaked havoc and the elements within the state apparatus should mend their ways of nurturing extremist and sectarian groups.

Former Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Asad Durrani said many quarters wrongly held the military establishment responsible for the terrorism mess in the country. He said though the establishment might have committed many mistakes, there have also been many successes. He also said that Islamabad should not at all be concerned about the nature and composition of government in Afghanistan as whoever might be on the throne in Kabul it could not go against the interests of Islamabad.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Vice-President Dr Said Alam Mehsud said Pakhtuns were the worst sufferers of terrorism and had nothing to do with terrorism.

Dr Ishtiaq of Quaid-i-Azam University said the present phenomenon of terrorism in Pakistan is a complex one and it would need an elaborate strategy to counter it. However, he said that before countering it there is need to understand the phenomenon of terrorism.

Dr Khadim Hussain of Baacha Khan Foundation said there was a need to have a full-fledged strategy to counter terrorism. In this regard he came up with some suggestions including countering terrorism at the level of ideology through socio-cultural measures and above all political means.

Dr Wajahat of the University of Punjab said the current trend of terrorism has its roots in the country’s establishment of depoliticising society and investing in religious groups for furthering domestic and international agenda. He said that to promote a culture of tolerance in society the country should be made a pluralistic society and this could be achieved by giving every group the right to observe religious, cultural and sectarian values.

International Relations Department Chairman Dr Ijaz Khan said terrorism was the most critical threat to the society and now it was time to come up with really novel ideas to counter it.

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