Army's militant rehabilitation programme hits snags: Report

Army's initiative to rehabilitate militants faces financial challenges.

Umer Nangiana January 04, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Army initiative to rehabilitate lower-cadre militants seems to be facing challenges in achieving its goals as it hits into the wall of financial constraints, an Islamabad think-tank notes in its report.

The Swat Initiative, one of at least two pilot programs that aim to rehabilitate militants captured by security forces. These cater to three groups, juveniles, adults and family members.

The Islamabad based Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in its Security Report 2011, said that the Rs4.4 million programme had failed to adequately budget for the rehabilitation of detained militants. The programme is a key part of the government’s strategy to safely introduce militants-on-the-mend back into society.

It further noted that the programme was too narrow in focussing only on lower-cadre militants, when it should be expanded to mid-cadre militants as well. “The rehabilitation of this segment is important but the program needs to be expanded to the mid-level militant cadre which has more political and ideological tendencies towards radicalisation,” said the report.

Additionally, the three part programme was limited since it lacked knowledgeable and devoted scholars.

During the military operation in Swat in 2009, thousands of militants and their supporters surrendered, or were arrested or turned in by their families. Most of them remain in the army’s custody which launched an initiative for their rehabilitation. In a similar program by the Punjab government, a technical training centre was set up in district Rajanpur for members of banned organisations in order to reintegrate them into society.

Quoting Indonesia’s example, the PIPS report said that some of these individuals disengaged from militants and extremism, can prove to be valuable assets in the de-radicalisation process of the society.

Reviewing security situation in the country in 2011, the PIPS report stated that the number of fatalties caused by terrorist activities witnessed a minor 12 per cent decrease, in comparison to 2010.

In 45 suicide attacks across Pakistan as many as 676 people were killed and 1462 injured, compared to 68 attacks in 2010 and 87 in 2009. Most of the casualties were civilians while more than half of the attacks (27) were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, claiming 449 lives.

“The overall of sense of security returned to the urban centres in Punjab and Sindh , while a sense of insecurity persisted in Karachi, Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),” said Muhammad Amir Rana, the Chief Executive of PIPS.

The report said that the conflict-related violence decreased in Pakistan in 2011, however, the complex security landscape in the country made it one of the most volatile states in the region and necessitated effective measures to curb militancy and terrorism.

However, Rana feared the structural violence including sectarian attacks can escalate in the near future as these elements were neglected while the focus of the authorities remained on terrorism.

The overall incidence of sectarian violence in the country fell by nine per cent, from 152 incidents in 2010 to 139 in 2011. However, unlike the year 2010, sectarian violence was not concentrated in just a few cities.


Abdul | 11 years ago | Reply

Every society needs rehabilitation. Ppl like Ana Hazare in India tells us that. Indian Army in Kashmir tells us they also need rehabilitation, or 27 insurgencies in India tells us that. The ratio of rapes in US or depression in US or the rate of suicides in US points to the same thing. Atleast Pak is working in the right direction .

Iron hand | 11 years ago | Reply

Your whole society needs to be rehabilitated!

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