10:51 pm - Monday February 8, 2016

Causes of Terrorism in Pakistan

Written By: Ali Jafar Bukhari

Terrorism in Pakistan has assumed a frightening behaviour and terribly affecting the social fabric of our country. Today it has become indispensable to avoid or ignore it lest it would distort the social, political and economic structure of Pakistan. For the purpose it necessary to know and discuss the core reasons behind this social Frankenstein.Pakistan Police Magazine

Once Terrorism was defined as a simple phenomenon to achieve certain political gains and motives but today this social menace has become complicated and hazardous enough to disturb the whole globe in a single event as in the case of September 9 terrorist attack on Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The meaning and interpretation of terrorism after this event has entirely been changed however certain old reasons of terrorism do persist specially in Pakistan. Social, Economic, Political, Religious, Ethnic, Regional and Lingual clashes and inequalities bring groups into direct and alarming confrontations.

Religious Fanaticism and Exploitation:

A famous analyst Lewis Fry Richardson stated in his analysis about religion “The one social factor that does have some detectable correlation with war is religion.”

Religious zealotry and fanaticism do play its role in terrorism especially in Pakistan. The ideology of Pakistan was based on Islam yet it was mistakenly taken as a theologians country against the true picture in the elevated mind of our Great Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The theologians, once against Pakistan’s evolution, tried to occupy it after independence, for the sake of their personal, direct and vested interests. However they could not gain weightage until 1980s when the Government of Pakistan felt their need for proxy war in Afghanistan against Russia. The silent consent of the Pakistan Government and agencies let theologians a loose hand to generate money, organise themselves internally, recruit Jihadis on volunteer basis instigate people for Jihad. They produced provoking literature (Jihadi Literature) for the sake of generating funds and gathering fighters against the infidels in Afghanistan and Kashmir. The Iran’s Islamic revolution also played its role that supported religious radicalism in Pakistan. This further aggravated sectarian violence in Pakistan between Shiite and different Sunni factions ultimately resulting in the loss of several intellectuals, Doctors, Engineers and many other important and Valuable personalities of Pakistan. Thousands of significant people of society became the victim of Sectarian violence and Terrorism in Pakistan. From the summer of 2007 until late 2009, more than 1,500 people were killed in suicide and other attacks on civilians.

Persistent Interventions in Political Process:

Pakistan Police MagazineIt is the tragedy of Pakistan that from the very beginning, she started facing abnormal atmosphere in the arena of domestic as well as international politics. The hostility of neighboring state, lack of funds, refugees influx and their settlement (about 7,226,000), mending international relations and many other important national and international issues were haunting the Government of Pakistan. But unfortunately Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not live long enough to make Pakistan constitutionally strong. Liaqat Ali khan’s murder further exasperated the situation. The confusion worse confounded by continuous interventions of Military that led the country towards uncertain and unpredictable condition. The country’s decisions were laid into the hands of military dictators. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s tenure as martial law administrator and his controversial “Islamization” policies provided oxygen to religious fanaticism. Military dictators made democracy weak and let it not flourish properly. All the three wars withIndiawere fought during military rules.

Democracy Itself A Cause:

Sometime the most effective and the most acceptable kind of Government system; Democracy itself becomes a cause of Terrorism. According to the Encyclopedia of Britannica Terrorism is, “the systematic use of terror or unpredictable violence against governments, publics, or individuals, to attain a political objective.” This Political objectives could be at international level or at national level could be frightening and terrifying when certain dictator minded democrats use their bestowed democratic power and authority as a force against their political opponents. Government agencies are used to avenge their own personal as well as political grievances or to terrorize public or their constituencies. FSF (Federal Security Force) was established by Z.A Bhutto and it is said that it was used to terrorize his political opponents. Likewise at ground level Police and Patwaris are used by Political representatives to suppress and strive the weak and deviants.

Poverty and Economic Inequalities:

Growing poverty and engulfed economic differences are creating disturbance in the minds of deprived. The social stratification and class difference is increasing. The rich is getting richer and the poor in getting poorer day by day. Middle-class alienation is disturbing the social fabric of society resultantly usurpation and violence is prevailing in the society ofPakistan. Poverty, hunger and disease have afflicted mankind through all ages and millennia. Men could be bought easily and violence becomes rampant. The poor feels sense of insecurity and the powerful cares not the life of a common man. As a result weapon and violence becomes a last resort to earn daily bread and butter.


Pakistan Police MagazineGlobalization, inequality and theThird Worldare directly or indirectly linked with Terrorism. Guelke asserted that “economic development is a more important factor to maintain law and order”. The phenomenon of globalization is a reality while Earth has been squeezed to merely an apple as far as information technology is concerned yet the factor (globalization) was introduced by the developed world to usurp the resources of the third world countries. It was an economic race to enhance more power and to control the markets of the weak; a new colonial phenomenon. The economically weakening countries are ultimately the victims of violence and terrorism and so isPakistan.

Science and Technology:

Science and technology could not be blamed completely for the terrorism however this factor played its role in spreading it and making it more violent and more horrifying. The terrorists use modern weapons and technology to fight and fright. The use of technology encouraged the terrorists to work in an effective way.

Media Sensation:

Media sensation and media publicity itself is a cause of Terrorism. In a direct way it terrorizes the whole society while highlighting certain social issues on the basis of realistic depiction of true face of society. Before 2000 the media was controlled by the government especially inPakistanand the news were analyzed by the controlling authority whether to be published or not in the longer interest of Nation. Though this method was used more for the Government Party’s favour and to defame the opposition however both the extremes could not be justified; the controlled media or the unbridled sensational media. Eric Hobsbawn in his book “Globalization, Democracy and Terrorism” suggested that Terrorism could be controlled if not provided the publicity oxygen.


There is relation between ethnic minorities and the likelihood of conflict. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and in Pakistan the fall of Dhaka all were followed by ethnic conflicts that escalated to violence and civil war and ultimately divided these countries. The assertion of language rights, religious beliefs and symbols, economic disparities, regional-ethnic parity in economy and the sense of deprivations in other aspects of life and necessities, is multiplied in such kind of ethnic prejudicial circumstances. Simon Williams, a famous British sociologist is of the view that such kid of situation ” generates perceptions of unfairness is competition/rivalry when an ethny is subordinated or disadvantaged in economic opportunity, social status, political voice and rights, or cultural expressions.”

Myopic Policies of Government:

Myopic Policies of any Government specially that of Pakistan, create dissatisfaction among its subjects and destabilize the peaceful atmosphere when the superficial effects of such policies are faded away. The Government of Pakistan at many issues and in many critical situations could not implement long term and sustained policies rather averted the focus by creating non-issues or temporarily dealt with it.Kashmiris an initial issue which was dealt wrong.

Pakistan used Jihadist model to deal Kashmir issue and later used it for the ill-conceived operation Gibraltarin the 1960’s. We could not get lesson and used this short term tactic again and again in 1979 and in 1996 in Afghanistan (the concept of global Islam). In kargil war again Jihadist model came forward but we received nothing except reverting from the decision.

As far as economic policies and political decisions are concerned, we could not establish our industries properly rather took decisions like nationalization (socialist economics policies) in 1970s and was reversed in 1977 in the shape of privatization. Similarly, the decision of thermal power stations rather than focusing on Hydel Energy production by Government of Benazir. Recently the Income support programme and Sasti Rotti like targeted subsidies and the rental power stations like decisions could not play any effective role in developing the dire economic situation ultimately creating more dissatisfaction and turmoil in the country.


Writ of the state in Balochistan is pathetic and deplorable. They have several reservations however being met with even more pathetic pace. Huge deposits of gas, bauxite, oil, copper, gold, and other minerals lie underneath the rugged terrain they inhabit. It has plunged the region into the throes of bloodshed and mayhem. Their dispossession from their own wealth and their demands towards equal distribution of resources is creating serious dissatisfaction resulting in terrorist attacks on government installations and properties. Missing and killings of people is at rampant. This kind of situation favours the anti-social agents in our dear homeland and especially when evil friends likeUSAwould have been setting their vultures eyes upon this important transit route.


Illiteracy and ignorance is the mother of all social vices. Terrorism has made Pakistan a pray with this social weapon against humanity. Literacy rate in Pakistan is very low and people easily become victimized of anti-social ideas. Their social, political and economic sufferings let an easy hand to anti-social elements to work for their evil cause. Injustice and inequality play the role of a catalyst while in the execution of the plans of the terrorists.


Pakistan Police MagazineSocial deprivations, poverty, illiteracy, lack of economic opportunities and Terrorism itself are resultantly producing more distress and more poverty which lead people towards vengeance. The areas like Balochistan and North Waziristan are becoming the hub of terrorists. The drone attacks are putting fuel to the fire and letting the tasks of the terrorists more easy to produce avengers for the killings and deprivations of their loved ones. Drone attacks have not only rocked the North Waziristan but the whole country. The survivors of these attacks and the faithful survivors of Bugti’s, Mengals and Marri’s are taking revenge for these brutalities. The debate whether right or wrong is another issue but it is true that zero tolerance policy in such cases produce more terrorists rather than reduction. Thomas Hobbes described human life as:

“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is the worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man; solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”


Marginalization means exclusion of any group or an individual from meaningful participation in society. When we ignore any group, faction, caste or community from taking part in the development of their country and alienate them from national reconstruction, they are forced to assert their point of view through violence. Baloch have long been marginalized by our governments since the evolution of this country. The continued plunder of Balochistan’s natural resources, its economic and political marginalization and militarization are the major causes of its rising instability and the mounting tension between the Baloch and the state. This caused a real push for Baloch towards Terrorist activities.

Social Immunity to Powerful (Social and Political Injustice and Inequality):

French revolution was a reaction from the poor against the rich. There were several reasons but the towering one was social inequality and injustice. The law for the poor was varying hard but for the rich it was Banana. The same situation has been observed in this country since long which envisages lawlessness and further anarchy in future. People soon would get fed up of the situation and forcibly react toward any injustice. Today we see that tolerance in community is fading away. People are turning violent against any injustice which could resultantly end at bloody revolution. NRO kind of things and immunity provided by the Presidents against judicial rulings would create dissatisfaction among masses. Martin Luther once said “Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere”. Hazrat Ali (KAW) said “The rule of infidelity could prevail but not that of injustice”.

International Games and clashes:

States have their own priorities and targets. In international relations interests are always the priority. Pakistanis today the hot bed of international power game. The region has recently gained more attention due to several reasons .China is growing economically rapidly. India is gaining international importance and wants to see us down-trodden, USA and her allies are in pursuits of oil and other precious minerals and treasures, Afghanistan gained a pivotal role international games, Iran is focusing over nuclear capability, central Asian states have trillions of dollars worth natural resources in their womb and Russia want to see USA licking the dust in Afghanistan as a revenge of the cold war. The Muslim countries, generally, have their own direct or indirect interests inPakistan. All these countries are today, playing their interests game in Pakistan resultantly the whole country has become a war field of international powers.

Narcissistic Rage Hypothesis:

Though this cause of Terrorism is not dominating and is purely an individual’s psychological issue however persists in our society in one or the other way. This is some sort of mentally ill approach of the “grandiose self” of a terrorist. The concept was introduced by Sigmund Freud and further developed by Heinz Kohut. It could be found in individuals but affect the whole society in the shape of terrorism. According to this psychological approach this kind of rage is the outcome of egoism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness, normal self-love and unhealthy self-absorption. In one or the other way these traits could be found in most of the people however become dangerous when rage in personality is involved.

Disgruntled, Disaffected Intelligentsia:

According to Rubenstein’s thesis the main cause of terrorism is disgruntled, disaffected, intelligentsia. According to him the intelligentsia plays a key role in mobilizing the masses in social and general crisis. Rubenstein also stated that it is “a primary internal cause of terrorism, dictating to a degree its philosophy, tactics and consequences”. Today is the world of media and the importance of Intellectuals and intelligentsia has been multiplied.Europewent through Renaissance only because of intellectuals. An effective intelligentsia occupies the minds of masses and moulds them according to the interests and requirements of the contemporary circumstances prevailing in their country. They not only help in policy making but also help in developing National consensus. InPakistan, unfortunately, where many are working sincerely for the betterment ofPakistanthere are also that create sensation and dissatisfaction among masses. Focusing over petty and insignificant issues they detract the whole nation and divert their attention from real issues. There are some who working for special causes, mobilize masses only for negative or certain anti-social causes. Here the disgruntled, disaffected intelligentsia could not cure and combat the negative inculcation of ideas and the terrorists are succeeded in grabbing the favours of general masses or certain faction of society.

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