Pakistan has always been a martial state. The country’s policies, both internal and external, are managed by military minds directly or indirectly. Even when the military is not directly ruling the country, it influences the democratic leaders. The effects of our foreign policy on internal law and order situation have been disastrous.
When countries tend to pursue confrontational and aggressive policies, not only that they make foes in the region but in return, they lose their internal peace. Confrontational policies require a warrior mindset. To achieve acceptance of their belligerent policies, the military elite for decades fostered social engineering of the society so that the majority of the country turns into a warmongering mob. In the process, this experiment has destroyed the pluralistic values of the society.
During the Afghan war in 1980’s, the military junta decided to reconstruct the social fabric of the society converting it into a puritan Islamic state. Jihad was introduced as the objective of an Islamic nation. Thousands of religious seminaries were built and propaganda of jihad was introduced into secular education. Professionals inclined towards rigid religious interpretations were inducted in the institutions of the state while people with secular mindset were identified as enemies of the state.
This led to the growth of a generation devoid of reality, possessing a jihadi worldview. This Jihadi mindset has flourished in the land of the pure. Extremism is fast becoming a norm and tolerance towards conflicting ideas and practices is getting extinct. The induction of Kalashnikov culture has also led to the deterioration of law and order situation. Private militias were used by the state to achieve its objectives in the neighboring countries. These have become a threat to the internal peace of the society. Terrorism and sectarian violence are rampant in the country while the political and military elites are focused only in the killing the beast while leaving the den unharmed.
The state has to reassess its policies about promoting jihad. The country can no longer bear the loss of becoming headquarter of private groups that want to wage Jihad in the region. Pakistan has already lost more than 70 thousand citizens due to terrorism. The elites of Pakistan need to decide whether they can peacefully coexist with the neighbors or continue the policy of supporting proxy wars. Pakistan’s future lies in building peace in the region as only then we can create a a pluralistic, tolerant and progressive society. Otherwise, the country will continue to suffer from extremism and terrorism.