Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The world after Osama............... A terrorist is dead, but terrorism still lives

The killing of Osama bin Laden, the leader of the global terror network Al-Qaeda, marks a turning point in the so-called “war on terror”. However, it would be premature to imagine that what has come to be called “jihadi terrorism” would lose legitimacy as a political weapon in the eyes of radical Islamic elements. Winning that war, especially in the hearts and minds of ordinary people who are drawn to the ideology of jihadism for whatever reason, must remain the key objective of all democratic and pluralist societies. But, getting bin Laden was an important step in that direction and the United States armed forces, intelligence agencies and civil administration deserve praise from across the globe for a job well done. US President Barack Obama has redeemed himself with just this one action and can now look forward to a second term in office.
The impressive action carried out by US special forces has once again put Pakistan on the spot. It has drawn global attention to the fact that Pakistan is, in fact, the “epicentre” of jihadi terrorism. It is true, as many Pakistanis plead, that Pakistan is as much a victim as it is a safe haven for jihadi terrorism. The sooner Pakistan recognises that it must work with all those who value freedom and pluralism to fight all manner of terrorists, without making a distinction between “good” terrorists and “bad” ones, the better it is for that country. After all, bin Laden and Al-Qaeda have their origins in the joint US-Pakistan campaign against the now defunct Soviet Union. If they could come to bite the hand that fed them, so will those who are supported by elements in the ruling establishment in Pakistan to target India. Pakistan has as much to lose from the politics of destruction that jihadi terrorism has come to symbolise as any other nation. It would be dangerously misleading for Pakistan to imagine that it would remain immune to the consequences of the rise of such extremism. The war against terrorism is indivisible. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once famously said, “Terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere.”

Pakistan has much to answer for its role in the war on terror and India has every reason to demand these answers. Pakistan has not done enough to punish the perpetrators of terror attacks against India and it will come to regret such inaction. The international community must also work harder to force Pakistan’s political and military leadership to do more to defeat extremist forces who target free societies around the world — from the US and UK to India and Indonesia. However, even as terrorist leaders and organisers of terror attacks are hunted down and brought to justice, one must remember that there is no military solution to the threat of ideological extremism. The challenge at home in India is also one of defeating the forces of religious and political extremism and strengthening the foundations of pluralism, secularism and democracy. 
Source : BS

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