Curbing terrorism By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA

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At the moment when Christian community was busy in the celebration of Holy Christmas, a church located at high security zone of the provincial capital Quetta came under attack. The unfortunate incident resulted into mourning at larger scale and condemnation messages from every side started emerging. This incident was not first one but in fact linked with a series of ongoing assaults against Non-Muslim minorities since long time. In the past, a large number of Christian homes were set into fire in Gojra and many Hindu temples were damaged in response of the Babri Masjid incident.

The Quetta tragedy also reminded me a similar attack on Peshawar Church, occurred few years ago. The Supreme Court, in the suo-motu action, asked me to share problems faced by minorities living across the country. I informed the honorable court during my sixteen times appearing that the presence of hate material in the curriculum of educational institutes is root cause of intolerance against minorities. Similarly, the dream of peaceful society cannot be fulfilled in the absence of security plan for minorities’ holy places.  My point of view reflected in the detailed decision of Supreme Court on 19th June 2014. Unfortunately, neither offensive hate material is deleted nor the security plan for protection of holy places is implemented as of today. On various occasions, it is also observed that poor victim families fail to receive financial support even after waiting for several years.

After the barbaric attack on Army Public School Peshawar, all political parties, despite of their differences, sat on table to prepare a concrete strategy for curbing terrorism. Regrettably, the CCTV footage of Quetta attack is a proof that Supreme Court’s 19th June decision and the National Action Plan, both are still needed to be implemented. The recent attack also puts a question mark on the performance of security agencies. On the eve of Christmas, ensuring the fool proof security of all churches must be our top priority.

Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of independent Pakistan demands every citizen to play active role in the national progress and development. According to various survey reports, the majority of Pakistani people hold positive views towards religion.  In this regard, this must be responsibility of all religious leaders to showcase that all religions are respectable equally and the attacks on holy worship places can’t be justified under any circumstance. The terrorists tries to deliver message that there is no space for Non-Muslims in Pakistan. All peace-loving schools of thought must join hands to reject the extremist ideologies that they wanted to enforce on Pakistani society.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, in its report on the Pakistani public schools also disclosed that school teachers are having limited understanding of religious minorities and their beliefs. This is quite unfortunate that they are successfully transmitting their biased views to the young generation. On ideological front, we need to review school curriculum on urgent basis. We need to create awareness among masses that Pakistan was established for providing equal rights to every citizen, regardless of religious affiliations.

After every tragic incident, it seems to become national practice to blame foreign hands behind the terror attack. We must not forget that foreign elements are helpless without the internal support. We must eliminate black sheep among our own ranks which are harming the national integrity just for their personal interests.  While the United States, after the 9-11 attacks, succeed for not letting any other such incident happen, Pakistani nation is still victim of terrorism. This is very painful when the international community ignores all our sacrifices and tries to link Pakistan with terrorism.

Traditionally, people of Pakistan shares a relation of brotherhood with Afghan people. Pakistan has always supported Afghanistan in the critical time of need. On diplomatic front, Pakistan must convince the Afghan government that cordial relation between both neighboring countries are essential for regional peace and stability. According to my information, countering terrorism is on the international agenda since 1934 and there are as many as fifteen international conventions in force. The issue of terrorism also comes under-discussion many times in the UN meetings. If there are solid evidences regarding usage of Afghan soil against Pakistan, we must take Afghan leadership, friendly countries and international community in to confidence to raise the issue on proper forums. We must also carry our efforts for a joint, effective and integrated Pak-Afghan border management system.

The valuable experience of other countries who were once victims of terrorism can also be beneficial for us. In the modern history, European Union, the UK and Sri Lanka are success stories who showed commitment to curb terrorism.  Today, we need to show unity on the same pattern as we did after the Army Public School attack. The history will never forgive us if we keep ourselves stuck in condemnations and fail to take solid steps for implementation of the Supreme Court’s 19th June decision and the National Action Plan in letter and spirit.

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