EXTREMISM:By extremism, we mean any political/ religious/ social theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies. It is a relative term; relative to our perception of what is ‘Normal’. Therefore if we have a clear concept of our own identity and values, we must should have a clear concept of extremism too.   Extremism is a complex phenomenon, although its complexity is often hard to see. Most simply, it can be defined as activities such as beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies of a character far removed from the ordinary.

   Similarly, the term ‘Extremism’ is often injustly applied to devout sections of Muslim societies, alienating them in the process. Although it is not out of cruelty and injustice, but misunderstanding; yet it is imperative that we understand extremism in our own context.How Extremism Prevails:   Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness creates the desperation that forces extremism.

   The people who cannot exert their influence, in the decision making process, go for violent means to express their opinions. As a result we see disorderness in the society. This results in poverty, terrorism and social distress.   There so called Muslims have nothing to do with Islam.

They are just a bunch of troublemaker and criminals led by their greed and evil ideologies. If you ever ask them that why you are laying “the lands of pure” to waste. They will simply tell you that they are only doing it for reform.

   It is up to the government and the state institutions that they project the voice of the common Pakistanis instead of playing into the hands of the extremists who want to bring this country down.Causes of Extremism in Pakistan:   Extremism is a critical problem faced by Pakistani Society today leading to social, economic, political turbulence and humanitarian crises. It has nortured due to Internal and External factors.   Internal factors include prevalence/ commonness of social injustice, inequality, illiteracy and exploitation in society.

   External factors include involvement of Pakistan in the regional and international power game and proxy wars.   The major causes of extremism in Pakistan are following;(I)  Political Extremism(I)  Religious Extremism(iii)  Misinterpretation of Jihad(iv)  Role of US Policies(v)  Ineffective Security Council of United Nation(vi)  Unemployment and Suicidal Poverty(vii)  Chronic Illiteracy(viii)  Decline in Tradition of Ijtihad(ix)  Poor Governance and Unequal Development(x)  Logical Consequences of Growing Menace(xi)  Extremism Image of Pakistan(I)  Political Extremism:   Pakistan’s Political culture is essentially responsible for extremism in society. Although constitutionally and legally all citizens are guaranteed equal political opportunities; but the reality is different.   Some social strata find that they have no political rights and no power in the system.

The sense of political deprivation and exclusion is so rooted in some groups and regions that it has prompted the people to resort to violent means to withdrawal their political deprivation. The unbalanced political culture is hence a direct cause of Extremism among the deprived.   Similarly the political leadership is trying to adjust to the new phenomena and has failed to formulate a clear policy on the issues of Extremism and of violent actors across the country.   Balochistan and the tribal areas are just the two examples of that. Various factors have promoted a political culture of conflict and controversy in Pakistan.(II)  Religious Extremism:The religious extremism describes faith-based actions that are deliberate attempts to cause harm to other people. Religious tolerance, multi culturalism and equality are the particular targets of extremists. Their own religion provides guidance that assets any secular law or any concept of human rights.

   Internally, in Pakistan, there are reportedly operating around 237 religious parties, 82 sectarian groups, 104 jihadi groups and 12 who boycott even Pakistan’s Constitution. This means that extremism is not due to any religion or ideology, it is a mindset where passion has given way to hate and intolerance of others.   In October 1999, when President Musharraf seized power, he rightly stressed that the greatest danger for Pakistan was the extremists?who ate the roots of Pakistan and left no effort to loosen its foundations. He conceived them to be the bigger sources of menace prevalent inside the Pakistani boundaries.(III)  Misinterpretation of Jihad:   Jihad means a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty. It is a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam.

Mujahid is a person who engages in Jihad for the sake of ALLAH according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. But unfortunately, today we have misinterpreted about Jihad. Because;(a) Suicide under any pretext is not condoned as Jihad in Islam.(b) Converting people to Islam by force is never Jihad but a crime, punishable by law.(c) The concept of a bomber rushing out to kill himself along with innocent lives to get ’70 dancing virgins’ in Paradise, is really quite silly.

   These all depends upon negativity in their thoughts. They are looking to hide their odious intentions behind a term which, in Arab and Muslim societies is prized, like a cultural value.(IV)  Role of US Policies:   US-Policies are one of the major causes of extremism in Pakistan. US interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs has provoked extremism. US Policy of do more and drone attacks, and as a result people of Pakistan, painfully suffered by suicide bombings and attack on Peace keeping agencies.

These uncontrolled drone attacks are killing terrorists along with innocent masses.   According to Pew Global Attitudes survey of Pakistan in 2009, more than six-in-ten (64%) Pakistani consider the US an enemy of their country, while only 9% say it is a partner. About 54% Pakistanis believe US Policy in South Asia tends to favor India. Only 4% think American policy favors Pakistan, while 9% say the US is fair and 32% offer no opinion.   Many Muslims stressed that Israel’s political and territorial strength has not bee domestically resourced but it is American assistance. It means that US has been playing two sided policy, I.E; to develop and to destroy.

(V)  Ineffective Security Council of United Nation:   The major responsibility of Security Council of United Nation are the maintenance of international Peace and security. But unfortunately, today the Security Council becomes Ineffective one. It shows strict rules for poor Muslim Countries, but shows great respect to the Western policies.   According to the 39th article of the United Nations Charter, “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to peace, or act of aggression”.

I think that this article is only for Pakistan and Muslim societies. Because the Security Council of UN determines?the terror’s threads only in Pakistan. The questions arises, “Are only Pakistan and Muslim societies are responsible for the suicide attacks?” Are we the origin of terrorism?. The answer is in full contrast, “No and Never”. We are peace-preachers and wants to spread peace everywhere. This one sided character of the Security Council is more severe. It may results in Extremism too.

(VI)  Unemployment and Suicidal Poverty:   These are the major causes of extremism in Pakistan. The slow economic and human development process, with the rise in population and unequal distribution of resources has created a large withdrawal and unemployed class. The rising Unemployment, particularly among the educated community, is creating a critical situation.

   The rising poverty is also creating suicide bomber. Poverty is a state in which a man lacks sufficient income to lead a sustainable life. It is true that poverty leads to Extremism because every person has some basic needs, and it is necessary for him that he finds a way to fulfill his needs. And when such needs are not attains by a proper and good way, then the person may starts crime, which results in Extremism, and hence Peace in a society diminishes. As a result, extremism puts its roots there which then become difficult to withdrawal.(VII)  Chronic Illiteracy:   Illiteracy in simple words mean lack of ability to read and write, and lack of knowledge and information. It is the main cause of ignorance.

Education helps in improving standards of living and quality of life. While, illiterates neither get enough chances to lead a better life, nor enjoy facilities of a quality life due to their lack of knowledge and education.   Extremism and criminal activities are also the product of illiteracy.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan (2016-17), the country’s literacy rate declined to 58% from 60%. It further revealed that literacy remains much higher in urban areas (74%) than in rural areas (49%).   Illiterate people doesn’t understand the teaching of Islam in much better way due to lack of knowledge. They listen and follows poorly educated Mullahs in their own way of thinking without verifying it at later stage. Mostly the criminal organizations target such type of people and then with the technique of brain washing, train them according to their own needs and requirements.(VIII) Decline in Tradition of Ijtihad:   Ijtihad means to exert with a view to form an independent judgment on a legal question.

It has its origin in the well-known verse of the Qur’an, “And to those who exert, we shown our path”. Ijtihad has been much stressed in Islam. It is a thoughtful and logical approach, based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, for determining solution to religious matters. But unfortunately, today we passed on this act of Sunnah.

We have no more acts upon ‘ijtihad’. The crises emerged for almost half a century now. We are too far from our religious ancestors. This results in a raged and narrow interpretations of religious percepts.

   Without understanding the true spirit and philosophy of religions, has given rise to extremism and is affecting global peace. I myself believed that like Islam, all other religions conveys the message of peace. But it is the matter of unfortunate that human kind has got divided into different religious sections without understanding their true philosophy.

This gap has given rise to extremism in our society.(IX)  Poor Governance and Unequal Development:   There is a combination of poor governance, poverty, unequal development as well as several internal and external factors that contribute to extremist violence. Also the Pakistani youth was getting wasted due to poor governance, lack of Justice and unequal development in the society.   Many of the extremist groups in Pakistan are centered in the middle sized towns whose population has grown exponentially, because of their least effective governments in addressing developmental challenges. This may be one of several such incidents all across the country but shows the mindset of our law enforcers and government, which in turn emboldens extremist elements by taking no action at all.

   Personal interests are the origin of Unequal Development in Pakistan, which results in menace of the others.(X)  Logical Consequences of Growing Menace:   In today’s world, the role and responsibilities of an individual, family, community, and nation are mixed up. There is combination of Right and Wrong, and it’s difficult to differentiate them.

Every corner of the world is burning with the flames of injustice, economic inequality, and growing menace day to day. No one is taking care of the problems, we are facing today.   The outgrowth of growing menace include violent acts, fighting against Muslims or anyone that has different views from theirs, corrupt ideology, poor governance, unfriendly environment etc. A society, where such troublemaker have been developed missed the principles of Islam, which are peace, justice, equality, cooperation, and tolerance.   Here are missing the authority and order of Islam like who is able to gives religious rulings (Fatwa) within Islamic guidelines. Because giving Fatwa is not an easy task, rather only a trained Mufti can give Fatwa.(XI)  Extremism Image of Pakistan:   Though Pakistan is victim of extremism and lawlessness, yet it is labeled as promoting extremism in the world. Though Pakistan has suffered a lot due to such rascal words, yet world community see Pakistan as safe heaven of extremism.

Extremism changes people’s perspectives. The social and religious imagination becomes too weak.   Apparently, there’s no any straight link among the murder of Mashal Khan, the arrestment of Naureen Leghari, the surrender of Ehsanullah Ehsan, and the recent suicide attack in Lahore.

These four incidents contain good case studies for understanding the origin of extremism.   In Pakistan, each region has its own power base and political trends. Its society being conservative is under the influence of Norms and Customs. Coherence is absolutely absent from the system. These all have bad impacts on its image in the world.   These above mentioned features are the main factors in prevailing extremism in our country. Not only we have survived the worst attack of terrorism in modern history, we have reversed the tide also. In fact as a nation, Pakistan has defeated terrorism and now will go after extremism too.

The first ever PSL final at Lahore and celebration of 23rd March with three foreign corps are the best examples and it has shown that our spirit is unbreakable and no one can isolate us.Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism:   Youth are the most active and powerful segment of a society. These young, active, crazy, red-blooded, passionate and animated youth have high ambition and goals, and are also blessed with the power to fulfill their dreams.   Youthfulness is a wonderful stage in life, but it’s also the most alarming. Almost all the great revolutions of the world have been occurred because of the youth factor. The creation of Pakistan too had many youth contributors like students who played a remarkable role in the Freedom Movement.

   Besides that, we needs to understand one thing that a youth at an age of 18 to 25 has young blood and intense thoughts. Their ideas, thoughts, and conceptions build up a pressure-cooker inside them and if not provided an outlet, this pressure can blow-out in one place or other, damaging people around them.   Youth has a very important role in rejecting extremism.

Their role may be in the form of;(I)  Education(II)  Peace-Preaching(III)  Reproduction and Protection(IV)  Part of Armed Forces(V)  Growth of a Society(VI)  Fairness and Equality(VII)  Decision Making Process(VIII)  Development Of Critical Thinking(IX). Informing the Authorities(I)  Education:   Education is a double-edged sword as it’s used for rejecting extremism. Educated youth should be at the forefront of global change and modernism, because they can be key agents for evolution and peace.   Also from the youth side and government, awareness campaigns should be initiate to point-up the importance and need of education. It’s necessary for every educated youth to make necessary upon him/herself to teach at-least a child. By doing so, the literacy rate of our country would surely comes up.

(II)  Peace-Preaching:   Youth is just an outlook of life for a citizen. If you want a peaceful society, be peaceful; ask others around you to be peaceful in your next scene of life.   Similarly, a youth may be a brother, a sister, a son, a teacher, a daughter, a social human being and a responsible citizen. Whatever the correlation, youth have, he/she try to spread the message of peace.(III)  Reproduction and Protection:   Youth fulfill the position left vacant by the builders of a nation, just like a son takes up the position of father in a society.

By the way, youth are also expected to cover up and support their culture and beliefs while at the same time makes it better and accept changes in the society. It’s the youth only who becomes a part of political movements and state government in order to remove and finishes the political extremism and develop a good government.(IV)  Part of Armed Forces:   Youth also becomes part of Armed Forces of a country in order to root out the extremists, and to protect the freedom of public. Today, our Armed Forces fought the risk of extremism eagerly and set an example for the world in extracting the extremists from their roots.

(V)  Growth of a Society: The progress and boost of a country/ society in all the fields like social, political, cultural and economic zone mainly depends upon youth only. They with a fresh energy and modernistic mind can perform better and ensure the growth of a society. We should train our youth such that there should be positive mind setup against extremism.(VI)  Fairness and Equality:   There must be equality and square deal so that there would be no scarcity confusion.

The relationships we have with youth ensure the promotion of fair and equal dealing along with equal approach to resources. In this way our youth can perform multifunctions in removing inferiority complex threat in prevailing extremism.(VII)  Decision Making Process:   Our youth should take an interest in decision making process at all level.

We need to blend the youth into decision-making at local and public status. There are lots of youth groups that want to boost peace fight discrimination. We must assist?them in earning their visions.(VIII)  Development of Critical Thinking:   It’s very important to teach youth the critical thinking skills. It helps them in making good decision, understanding the consequences of their actions and also in solution of the arising problems. Critical thinking utilizes life skills like communications, making connections and perspective taking. It may be develop by taking an information, its evaluation, and making judgments about that information, which requires mental agility and thirst for knowledge.

(IX)  Informing the Authorities:  The youth can play a vital role in rejecting extremism by informing the authorities about something that is going wrong. Our youth should keep an eye on suspicious things. They should inform cops or the corresponding authorities for the same. Youth can make it difference by taking active part in social awareness.

This alone can help a lot. By adopting these all tips, our youth may develop a peaceful Pakistan and put off extremism on one side. May Allah bless us all and gave us abilities in making our country (Pakistan) great again.

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