KARACHI: While the military has now adopted a much more coherent policy in Fata, it is the political government that needs to have a strategy against militancy and be at the forefront.
This was the gist of the arguments presented by journalist and author Ahmed Rashid at a lecture titled “Apparatus of Jihad: The State of Play” in the Habib University auditorium on Friday evening.
Mr Rashid commenced his talk by stressing that Pakistan had become a friendless nation in the region. “We didn’t have an ally apart from Arab countries as the country had been a refuge for dissident groups from neighbouring countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Russia, etc),” he said. Members of Al Qaeda, for example, had been here since 1985 and therefore could not be called an Asia group any more — they’d settled down, had wives, learned Urdu and Pashto and set up networks recruiting Pakistani fighters, and such groups had extended their grip in the area. The Pakistani state had used jihad as part of its foreign policy allowing its people to be seduced by foreign militant groups. “No state has acted like this,” he remarked.
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