Where’s the counternarrative?

Published: November 15, 2014

LAHORE: I lately had an insightful, albeit succinct, discourse with a security analyst against the backdrop of the Wagah border mayhem that took the lives of more than 60 innocent people and rendered many more injured. He held the view that the army would take three to four years to crush terrorism. But the truth is that this problem cannot be solved only by physical elimination; there is also the issue of dealing with the ideology of terrorists.

To find people who approve of this ideology is no difficult task. Go and make a round of any school, college, seminary or office, and you will come across many such people, all having soft corners for a militant mindset and worldview. Fault lines in our society have crept up, not least because we have done nothing to set up a counternarrative to what the terrorists and militants propagate. This resultant vacuum has been well exploited by militants and their sympathisers to present anyone who disagrees and acts against them as being against Islam and the state of Pakistan.

For example, we should have had counter-narratives following the Lal Masjid episode, Akbar Bugti’s murder, the Aafia Siddiqui case and so on. The fact stands that the whole facade constructed by the terrorists to launch a war against Pakistan stands on absurd and baseless reasoning. We are now in a war of ideologies and this is usually fought through the use of propaganda. In Pakistan’s case, there is an urgent need to produce a vigorous counter-narrative.

Muhammad Tahir Iqbal

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Adnan Ahmed
    Dec 14, 2014 - 11:59AM

    The narrative of the so called “terrosists” is rooted in the US global war on Muslims from Iraq to Afghanistan. The truth is that the false narrative of globalized secularism, US interference in the Muslim World, its grabbing of oil and natural resources and sponsoring of worst dictatorships of Ben Ali, As Sissi and the rest is root cause of the narrative calls for general resistance against this overwhelming assault. This narrative demands justice for Muslims, it demands justice for Palestine and Kashmir and it demands non-interferance in the Muslim World by the West. This narrative has roots in Islamic law that the foreign aggression and slavery has to be resisted, and the law of Islam must be allowed to prevail in the Muslim World. Now producing counter-narrative while ignoring above realities would only be possible if that is at the expense of the rights of Muslims, Islamic law and general principles of justice and equality. Promoting secularism by force of arms and through dictators like Kemal Pasha, Musharraf, Ben Ali and the likes of these would not go unresisted. Those who desire to see the counter-narrative must first see where do they stand themselves. The counternarrative based on narrow selfish nationalism, communal interest and ignorance of the misgivings of global secular capitalist system aided by militarized society of the US is sure to fall on its own feet.


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