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Thread: CPEC and Developments

  1. #136
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Lijian Zhao, China's Deputy chief of mission, Pakistan

    Farukh Saleem, Columnist, The News, Pakistan....

    Going through the comments, one stands out, typical PTI-sh propaganda to attack the ruling party. No moral courage to appreciate development

    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Sep 17, at 14:49.

  2. #137
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Mainstreaming terrorists before they have disarmed...

    Mainstreaming of terror outfits | Daily Times | Sept 24 2017

    There are no signs that groups like JuD, LeT and JeM have been disarmed

    The recent by-election in Lahore’s National Assembly constituency NA 120 has ignited an important debate about the counter violent extremism, radicalisation and terrorism in the country. For many, the candidates fielded by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) linked Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), led by Barelvi extremists was alarming.

    But there is a far greater number of ‘experts’ and commentators, belonging to even the liberal quarters supporting it as the best strategy to ‘eliminate’ terrorism by allowing them in the political and social mainstream if they renounce violence.

    The proponents of ‘mainstreaming’ are quoting Northern Ireland’s IRA/Sinn Fein duo and a more recent process in Afghanistan wherein a former militant warlord Gulbadin Hekmatyar was allowed to join politics. The narrative, howsoever it seems appealing, is thoroughly misleading to say the least. Talking about the Afghan process, it was led by the political leadership of that country with transparency and openness to the extent that several drafts of the ‘peace agreement’ were signed with the militant group, the text of which appeared in media and was commented upon by a range of commentators, before finally declaring the group ‘former militants’.

    Also, Afghanistan’s scenario is absolutely sui generis, with a history of warlordism, which was so intertwined with the political fabric of the country that it still is quite difficult to completely isolate warlords from their tribal areas of political influence. Almost the entire parliament comprises these former (or current) warlords. In this backdrop, it is a sensible approach to bring the rogue warlords to the folds of legitimate political activity, to prevent them from joining or to isolate them from their existing alliances with domestic militants and terrorists actively engaged in crimes against Afghan people and state.

    Coming to the Northern Ireland process, ever since this successful peace process it is pretty common in the world of counter terrorism to try applying the lessons learnt during this textbook case of negotiating with the terrorists. In 2012, Jeffrey Donaldson and Denis Haughey, two prominent Irish politicians flew to Afghanistan to offer advice to Hamid Karzai’s government to help kick-start a formal process of peace talks with the Taliban. Donaldson was in the Ulster Unionists’ negotiating team in 1998 for the famous Good Friday Agreement, while Haughey led the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) team in the Brooke-Mayhew Talks and later the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. Although the Irish and the Afghan insurgencies has altogether different ideological shades, with the former demanding the right to self determination and the latter committing acts of terrorism on Afghan people in order to impose their rule and their own version of religion. Yet there were some applicable lessons from the Irish experience that Afghanistan could employ in dealing with its own domestic militants.

    The Northern Ireland peace process, however, is starkly different from what happened in NA 120 recently or has been happening generally in Pakistan despite military operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan (NAP). The peace process followed in Northern Ireland was stretched over various years and culminated in the complete disarmament of the insurgency and its leader’s mainstreaming into the political process. The process was completely transparent wherein various agreements were achieved and announced, but not before briefing the parliament thereon. One could cite speeches by John Major and later by Tony Blair to the parliament briefing on the process.

    In case of JuD, all of it might not be applicable or even comparable. Sinn Fein was political face of Irish Republican Army, an underground organisation with domestic agenda that disarmed and surrendered weapons to be accepted as legitimate actor in political process. The groups like JuD, LeT and JeM are already quasi-state supported and there is no sign they have been disarmed. Secondly, these groups have been carrying out violent activities outside Pakistan. This will certainly affect our image internationally.

    Since they are not protagonists in a civil war, their international targets and victims have to accept their demobilisation. Otherwise, Pakistan’s international isolation would exacerbate.

    More importantly, these groups will inject xenophobia and extremist views in the body politic if given free hand in politics. They’ll propagate their xenophobic ideology to masses who are already ripe to fall for the trap. If it happens, the state would gradually lose its agency to change the policy if it wants to change it in future. The recent example being the anti conversion law that Sindh’s provincial assembly passed. After strong opposition led by JuD and other groups, the provincial government decided to let go of a law made by the elected representatives.

    The optics of such an opaque ‘mainstreaming’ of these terrorist organisations won’t go down well with the world. Whosoever is propagating the image of us as a terror-supporting nation, would be dancing to see all this because this gives them enough meat to continue with their hoopla.

    The question, then arises, how else to deal with these Frankenstein monsters? The answer is simple; the state should immediately stop all kinds of ideological or logistic support to these groups. If there is a process of negotiations, parliament must be requested for input and buy-in. Once the disarmament is achieved, it must be properly announced with evidence of arms decommissioning, so that the entire world knows what these groups are committing themselves to. A carefully devised de-radicalisation framework should be developed for these groups before allowing them any political activity. For a specific period, all activity by these groups must be watched by a specially designated Commission to ensure they don’t eulogise their militant achievements and glorify their violent methods and objectives. We have to have guarantees in place to ensure that while mainstreaming the violent extremists, we are not mainstreaming extremism.


    The writer is a staff member who tweets at @marvisirmed and can be contacted at marvisirmed@gmail.com

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