Speakers discuss steps to counter growing radicalisation

International conference highlights importance of addressing root cause of terrorism


Our Correspondent March 15, 2017
One needs to address the root cause of terrorism and the growing radicalisation, said KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Muhammad Ajmal Khan. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Experts expressed their views on the growth of terrorism and spreading roots of radicalisation at the inaugural session of an international conference on Tuesday.

The conference, titled 'Countering Radicalisation and Terrorism in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia in the wake of International Migration, Moving towards Peace and Harmony', was held at Royal Rodale Club. The international conference was organised in collaboration with Area Study Centre for Europe, Karachi University (KU), and Hanns Seidel Foundation.

"When 9/11 struck, [a] wave of terrorism was predictable for South Asia, but it was not ascertained for the Western world," Area Study Centre for Europe Director Uzma Sajjad said while addressing the audience. She claimed that America's war on terrorism drew more terrorist activities and numbers will keep increasing in the coming years.

"One needs to address the root cause of terrorism and the growing radicalisation. One cannot reclaim another country and make the change," said KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Muhammad Ajmal Khan. "Have you seen any such success story anywhere in the world?" He added that they cannot dictate the people.

Khan was of the opinion that this radicalisation comes from 'unfit policies' that lead to more chaos. "Look what have they have done in Syria and before that in Iraq," Khan claimed. "In Syria, it has led to a refugee crisis."

He said that all of this leads to reactionary attitudes. "It is happening in our part of the world. You cannot control and run our lives. Acceptance, tolerance and respect for diversity is required," Khan added.

Jean-Francois Cautain, the ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, in his key note speech seconded Khan's concern and point of view. "Geopolitics has greatly played its role in Afghanistan since 1970s. Today, we see terrorism is based more and more on religion. However, back in the day it engulfed the world on political terminology," he said.

"Daish has really hit the western part of Europe, making brutal and numerous attacks on France, Belgium and Germany. Clearly, it is only going to increase in the coming years," he added. Cautain said that a well-functioning judiciary was the need of the hour, besides cutting off international links of militant groups. He debated on the causes of regular and irregular migration. "Radicalisation does not stop at borders, we should increase international cooperation to fight off terrorism," he said.

"People find direct link between the two terminologies of radicalisation and migration," said Kristof W Duwaerts, resident representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation in Islamabad. He gave an example of a Pashtun living in Punjab, who is often cornered for being a terrorist. "Social uncertainty has contributed to unknown uncertainty in Punjab," he added.

"We do not need to complicate matters further and I would term it an ill-informed debate. Pakistan is an ethnically diverse country and [the] 21st century is the century for interconnectedness," Duwaerts said.

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