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Extremism & Talibinazation
Different types of Extremism.
Characteristics of religious Extremism.
Characteristics of Talibinazation.
Difference between fundamentalism and extremism.
o Fundamentalism, rigid but focused on self correction.
o Extremism, rigid and cohersive but focused at forcefully molding behavior of others.
Roots of Extremism in Pakistani society.
o Soviet war in Afghanistan
o Rise of Kalashnikov & Drugs culture.
o Proxy wars of other Muslim countries been fought in Pakistan.
Factors that gave rise to Talibinazation in Pakistan.
o Certain areas in Pakistan unchecked by the government.
o Inefficiency of law and order agencies to reduce arms and animations in residential areas
o Governments unchecked the rise of Madarisa Culture. (no regulation)
o Lal Masjid Jamia Hafsa event.
Reasons of success of Extremism & Talibinazation in Pakistan
o Hopelessness and suppression in the Muslim world.
o Inability of the political system to deliver.
o People losing faith in current form of democracy prevalent in Pakistan.
o Deficiency of social justice.
o Illiteracy and un-education
o Different education systems in one country.
o Improper investment in social sector and lack of attention on human development.
Consequences and impacts of extremism on our social and cultural situation.
o Deteriorating law and order situation and loosening of writ of the government.
o Extremism giving birth to terrorism
o Threat to internal stability
o Culture giving birth to intolerance
o Increase in sectarian violence
o Social distress
Consequences of extremism on the economic environment of Pakistan.
o Flight of foreign investment due to environment not conducive for business.
o Contraction in economic activity due to violence, strikes and vandalism.
o Sole breadwinners of families killed in terrorist attacks.
Extremism and Talibinazation causing very bad name to Image of Pakistan in outside world.
Is military operation a solution to extremism?
o Partly yes in short term.
o Partly not in long term.
What is needed at Government level?
o Formulation of policies to remove disparities at socioeconomic level.
o Investment in social sector.
o Government initiatives needed to uplift economic activities in backward and war trodden areas.
o Devise a mechanism for dialogue b/w different schools of thoughts in the religion
o Standardization of education & regulation Madarisas.
o Active role of law enforcement agencies for reduction of arms and ammunition.
What is needed at private/ individual level?
o Family is the basic unit for inculcating the norms and values in an individual.
o Role of Ulema.
o Role of intellectuals
o Responsibility of the upper class and well off individuals toward the poor.
Extremism is a critical problem faced by Pakistani society today, leading to social, economic, cultural, political turmoil and humanitarian crises, it has nurtured due to internal and external factors, internal being the prevalence of social injustice, inequality, illiteracy and exploitation in the society and external factors being the involvement of Pakistan in the regional and international power game and proxy wars. Modus operandi of extremism is the expression of a fanatic behavior by individuals and groups, who are not able to convey their will in the society, through prevalent social mechanism. The people who cannot exert their influence, in the decision making process, go for violent means to express their opinion. As a result we see anarchy in the society. This situation fuels the flames of poverty, terrorism and social distress. Extremism can by of different types, it can be ethnic, linguistic, narrow nationalism but the most severe kind of extremism faced by our society is religious extremism. The main characteristics of religious extremism are:
Forcefully imposing the own version of religion on others.
Intolerant behavior towards other sects.
Strict regulation of women, including formal schooling & most of the employments.
Persecution of minorities i.e. people of other religions.
A new terminology coined in recent past is Talibanization; it is a form of extremist ideology that has its roots in Soviet war in Afghanistan and is currently prevalent in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Apart from above features, there are certain specific features of Talibanization, such as:
Conducting terrorist attacks on government building and public places.
Implementing the own version of Sharia Laws.
The destruction of non-Muslim artifacts, especially carvings and statues such as Buddha of Bamyan.
Banning activities like hairstyles, shaving and clothing.
Forceful closure of music/video centers and banning electronic media.
Sometimes the term extremism is interchangeably used with fundamentalism; however there are some basic differences between the two terminologies. In lexical meaning the term fundamentalism is used for those who are the strict believers of the codes of any religion or any ideology, it is focused on ones own self regulation rather than forcefully molding others behavior and as like other religions, Islam also preaches peace and equality of human beings, the fundamentalists would be having the respect of human life and would be less violent toward others. Conversely, in cultural context, the term fundamentalism is associated with Christian extremist groups which violently imposed their religious beliefs on others, this difference in lexical and cultural meaning of the term fundamentalism is creating conflict between Muslims and west, Muslims perceive the lexical meaning with the Christians perceive the term in cultural context.
Extremism has existed to some extent in our society; however its impact on the society was not that much worrisome. It was after the Pakistans involvement in Soviet war in Afghanistan, extremism started significantly affecting the society. Pakistans involvement in the big power game in Afghanistan, to support US interest and Afghan brethren, brought amalgamation of Afghani tribal culture in Pakistani culture. The Mujahideen ideology was a motivational factor to recruit Jihadis who fought against Soviets. These Mujahideen were having full support of the USA; Pakistani governments also left unchecked, the rise of Jihadis within the country. More and more people from other Muslim countries as well as from the inside of Pakistan started being recruited for Afghan Jihad. The easy excess to weapons and wealth provided by US brought drugs and Kalashnikov culture in Pakistan. After the disintegration of USSR in December 1990, US interest ended in the region, this created a power vacuum in the region, paving its way of civil war in Afghanistan amongst many tribal groups, Mujahideen united themselves under the banner of Taliban and occupied the majority of Afghan territory (Approx 95%). They ended civil war and established some degree of order in the society, but the negative consequences of Taliban regime was their forceful imposition of religions ideology on others. In Pakistan also, there are considerable number of supporters of this ideology.
Another factor giving rise to the religious extremism in Pakistan is the proxy wars of different Muslim states being fought in Pakistan i.e. predominantly of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Saudi Arabian government is follower of Wahabi ideology and Irani government follows Shiite ideology, followers of both the ideologies live in Pakistan. So both the countries are fighting proxy war in Pakistan for the dominance of their co-religionists in Pakistan.
There are certain factors responsible for the heyday of Talibanization and extremist ideology in Pakistan. Most prominent is the inability of governments law enforcement agencies and security forces to control and monitor the areas where terrorist networks have developed. These agencies have also unchecked the increased concentration of arms and ammunitions in certain areas of the country. In addition to it, government has not regulated the Madarisa system in the country. This has provided the operators of Madarisas, an opportunity to propagate the ideologies that are not in line with national interest of the country. The Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa events are prime examples of havoc created in the country. This situation has highlighted our institutional incapability to control the deployment of militants in key locations. It has also further given rise to Talibanization and extremism in the country because those innocent students who were used as human shields by the terrorists were killed, who were guilty of no sin, resultantly their family members, tribesmen and co-religionists are revolting against the government because of indiscriminate killing of innocent people along with panic creators.
Efforts have been made by various quarters of the society to eradicate extremist mentality from society, but this extremist psyche is increasing and getting hold, behind the success of this phenomenon there are various reasons. The chief reason behind growth of extremist mentality in our society is the hopelessness amongst masses living in Muslim countries, this hopelessness is mainly attributable to two factors; firstly due to absence of the mechanism whereby general will of masses in the society could be brought into the political system (due to the presence of despotic culture in politics of Muslim countries), second reason is the growing hegemony of USA, in its persecution of Muslims, to take over the control of mineral resources of Muslim countries. This has resulted in revolting attitude in Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular. The hopelessness in Pakistan is complemented by inability of political system to deliver and resolve the basic problems of the people. Due to continuous failures of democracy in Pakistan (because of elites dominancy in Pakistani democratic setup), people have lost faith in the current form of democracy prevalent in Pakistan. The feudal setup has destroyed the national fabric by enabling the concentration of wealth in few hands resulting in deficiency of social justice. This concentration of wealth in few hands has raised the problem of poverty and people have to opt for forceful means for the resolution of their problems, they become dacoits, join mercenary organizations and conduct suicide attacks for financial gains.
A blend of illiteracy to poverty further aggravates the situation, people who do not have knowledge and education, formulate their belief system on the basis of prejudices and become infected with ethnocentrism (a tendency in which people believe their own culture and religion to be most superior all over the world). The class driven educational system has been instrumental to support prejudices i.e. education is not provided on equal footings in Pakistan, the children of elite class go to modern English medium schools, where they are provided up to date knowledge but the poor who cannot afford the education of their children send their children to Madarisas, which are run by Maulvis, who have no exposure to the English, science, social sciences and mathematic. Students graduated from these Madarisas do not posses any technical skills (that facilitate them to seek job), this raises the unemployment. The unemployed young men, having prejudicious attitude, hatred of political system, much deeper hatred against America, in their pursuance to change the system, become easy target of mercenaries. Who use them in the name of Allah and conduct various terrorist attacks from them.
Consequently, the extremism exerts very grave impacts on the society, it creates a vulnerable situation, whereby law and order situation deteriorates and writ of the government is challenged by the individuals and order of the system is in trouble. Frequent terrorist attacks are the result of this situation; Pakistan is one of such countries in the world where most of the terrorist attacks happen. This scenario is source of a great threat to internal stability of Pakistan, as the security of the state institutions as well as the general public is at stake. The terrorist attacks on religious occasions, further engrave the sectarian violence and create tensions between communities and people of different sectarian backgrounds living side by side. This creates an overall state of social distress.
In addition to the social and cultural consequences, the extremism has very deep negative consequences on economy of the country. The law and order situation; terrorist attacks, vandalism & strikes are very harmful for the business activity of the country, due to this the investor becomes shy and lack of investment in the industry shrinks the overall economic productivity. The contraction of economy affects the purchasing power and overall well being of the common men. Moreover, the killing of sole breadwinners of families killed in terrorist attacks is creating the disastrous situations for the victims of terrorism and extremism. On foreign front, the situation is very embarrassing for Pakistan, causing very bad name for the country.
The military operation started by current government to curb the extremists and Taliban in Sawat and Agency areas is a brave step, but it has both positive and negative connotations. The positive consequences are in a sense that government is iron-handedly crushing the panic creators, who are challenging writ of the government. This approach is helpful in the short run. However, in the long run this approach is not result oriented, because the government operation is indiscriminately killing the innocent and culprit both. As the tenure of army operation will increase it will increase the innocent killings, therefore the army operation will loose its legitimacy amongst the masses and will prove to be victorious for insurgents. Therefore army operation must be completed in minimum possible time with minimum possible civilian causalities.
For the lasting solution of problem government needs to address the underlying causes behind extremism. It should formulate policies to remove the social and economic disparities. For the wherewithal of people, creation of employment opportunities is needed and employment opportunities need business activity which further needs investment. In the current distressed business scenario, government needs to invest in social sector to uplift the economic condition of people; special focus is needed in war trodden areas. The governments initiatives of NWFP & Baluchistan packages are trend setters in this direction but still a lot is needed to be done. Along with this (for the religious harmony) the government needs to devise a mechanism for a dialogue between different schools of thoughts, to remove the conflicts and sectarian violence. Another aspect, on which the government should intervene, is the regulation of Madarisas in Pakistan. Madarisas are providing a very essential service to the nation by providing the religious, boarding and lodging facility to children of poor families. However, there are some black sheep among them who are working against the interest of state, government needs to regulate the Madarisas and devise a curriculum for Madarisas which also include modern education along with the religious education; government also needs to invest in Madarisas to improve their condition. Last but not the least, government law enforcement agencies active intervention is needed to minutely monitor and control the terrorist movements and reduction of arms and ammunitions in the country.
No matter how strong the governments efforts are to manage extremism in the country, it needs cooperation at individual level to attain success. There is role of private organizations and individuals units of society such as a family or tribe to inculcate the norms and values in society that prohibit extremist culture. Family is the basic unit of society, the basic change towards the retreat of extremist mentality is to be initiated at family level. The role of our Ulema is also of a significant importance, they should focus on eliminating the differences rather than fighting on minute issues. The intellectual also need to guide the society, discuss on thorny issues and help to find the midway, which enables to retain the gist of religion while integrating Pakistanis into the rest of modern world. Apart from steps taken in sociological, religious, cultural and ideological direction, the measures are needed at economic as well; upper class consisting individuals who are financially well off, need to discharge their fiscal and religious duty by contributing for the poor. It should be noted that Pakistani people contribute humungous amount in charity but the charity is used for fulfilling the current/ running needs of the poor, efforts are not made to create institutions that provide employment for the poor, we need to work in this direction dont provide poor the fish instead teach him how to catch fish and you provided him wherewithal.
Extremism is one of the social evils faced by our country, causing violence, hatred, terrorism and great vulnerability to our society. It has its the roots in our flawed foreign policies in the past, mainly on the northwestern frontier, our socio-polotico & economic situation has provided conducive environment for the extremism to flourish. Extremist mentality has severely deteriorated the business environment and economic situation of Pakistan. Governments efforts via military action are handy in short run, but in the long run government needs to focus on changing the living conditions of people in areas where extremism is increasing. Individuals also need to cooperate with government for the eradication of extremism; there is very important role family, ulema, intellectuals and the well off (upper class), for the control of extremist ideology in our society. We have to take the issue of extremism serious and devise concrete measures for its eradication or else our society will be in the state of anarchy and civil war.
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Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.
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To explain the process for applying to college
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High school students intending to apply to college and their parents
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When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.
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