Pakistan has been under a serious threat of sectarian and religious fierceness since the time of its origin and it has witnessed various type of militancy in the form of intolerance, religious extremism and from radicalisation to violence. It is pertinent to note here that it is informed to the National Assembly by the incumbent finance minister Ishaq Dar that Pakistan has suffered losses of US$118 billion dollars and more than 50,000 lives in the war on terror over the last 10 years.
The origin of militancy in Pakistan can be traced back to the war against soviet occupation of Afghanistan but in addition to this, Zia’s Islamisation and socioeconomic factors have played a crucial role in the growth of militancy in Pakistan.
The first factor, which is responsible for the proliferation of militancy, is that of Russian invasion of Afghanistan. This invasion brought two superpower face to face in the regional arena and Pakistan aligned with the USA. Pakistan with the help of dollars and Saudi aid supported Jihadists and acted as a channel for the influx of Mujahedeen from Middle Eastern states. Unfortunately, the government at the time failed to realise the sectarian and religious extremism causes and their consequences. Jihadists were given free hand in Afghanistan and Pakistan after the withdrawal of Russian forces from Afghanistan. Consequently, Al Qaeda and Talibaniation came into existence. These two notorious organisations posed serious security threats to the world and then uneventful day, 9/11 carnage, took place in the history of America. Pakistan became the strongest ally of America after 9/11 tragedy and declared war against those who were responsible for this fatal event. Taliban with the help of refugees settled in KPK had started terrorist activities against the civilians of Pakistan. That is why we have lost fifty thousand innocent individuals in the war against terrorism.
Secondly, Zia’s Islamisation process, after toppling Bhutto’s elected regime in 1977, promoted religious and sectarian violence and most importantly nourished the militant culture in Pakistan. In order to remain in power, he had introduced draconian law and combined the military, the mullahs and the business class. His Islamic reforms not only strengthened the religious groups but also promoted a certain set of Islamic jurisprudence which eventually imbalanced the society in Pakistan. The so-called mullahs, who have their own axes to grind, took advantage of Zia’s regime and used ignorant people for their nefarious purposes. At present, contemporary Pakistan is facing religious and sectarian violence.
Now comes towards the third and most prominent factors, socio-economic issues such as illiteracy, poverty, social injustice and unemployment etc. The above-mentioned issues leave disastrous impact on the image of society. Literacy rate in Pakistan stands at 57 per cent and it is sad to note that 25 million children are out of schools. Poverty and unemployment have been major issues and remained interconnected since the creation of Pakistan. We have still 45 percent people who live below the line of poverty. Poor socio-economic condition leads them towards violent tendencies hence they are exploited by the militant monsters that use them for their nefarious purposes. Due to past blunders mistakes we have been facing the music.
It is pertinent to note here that after the carnage of Army Public School in Peshawar, the Pakistan army uprooted the entire network of terrorists from Pakistan and law and order situation has significantly improved but their remnants are still endeavouring to destabilise the peace making process. To counter the militancy from Pakistan the first and foremost duty of the government is to make socio-economic situation better in the country. To deal with religious, sectarian extremism and radicalisation in the society we need to promote social harmony through media. We have to unite our minorities. It is high time for us to come out of sectarian and religious wars for our dear homeland Pakistan.