Terrorism and Role of Media in Pakistan
Alam Rind


Terrorism a term that to date doesnít have a universally accepted definition has some how capitulated every sphere of life in Pakistan. Studies conducted by the researchers indicate that terrorism thrives in an environment infested with poverty, lack of education and out of political marginalization. Although all the religions of the world preach peace and tolerance yet religiously motivated terrorism is a norm in the country. Something common in all forms of terrorism is perceptual differences. An individual may be considered as a terrorist by a segment of society while the other segment of the same society may consider him as a freedom fighter or a religious zealous. This phenomena essentially boils down to political struggle between the groups for dominance. Such theoretical explanations may serve the purpose of academia but once we view the ground realities in Pakistan we get an entirely different picture. Terrorists resort to random killing of people to induce fear and undertake bank robberies, abductions for ransom etc. to make money. Hard core terrorist operations are directed against governmental institutions especially intelligence and other law enforcing agencies. Such attacks seek to effect performance of these institutions and demoralize their work force. Most targeted terrorist attacks were conducted at Mehran and Kamra air bases where they targeted most precious military assets of the country. It is not difficult to identify the beneficiary. From all this one can conclude that in Pakistan there is a mix of terrorist mafias comprising local rogue elements and foreign funded terrorists.

These organizations are out there to harm the country in every possible manner. Recent attempt on renowned journalist Hamid Mir is yet an other attempt to coerce media personals into following their ideology. Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesperson of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan while taking the responsibility has ascribed secular ideas of the journalist as the leading cause of the attempt. Although, Hamid Mir is one of the few journalists of the country who had the opportunity to interview Osama bin Laden and other top Taliban leaders. It is interesting that immediately after the incident Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi casted their doubts on the premier intelligence agency of the country. That for sure reveals their skewed mindset that needs reconsideration. We need to understand that Pakistan is confronted with foreign sponsored terrorism that can be combated best if we fuse as one body rather than living as splinter groups. During last Muharram the country was at high alert expecting a major terrorist outburst. Law enforcing agencies committed themselves with dedication and zeal to protect the masses. Though few unfortunate incidents took place but many were prevented owing to their brave resistance to allow terrorists to reach to the core locations. That clearly demonstrates their potential and capacity to root out terrorism from the country. The efforts of the law enforcing agencies can be substantially re-enforced through media support.
Media can play a major role by shaping perceptions of the segment of society that sympathizes with terrorists. They need to emphasize on the government to chalk out comprehensive anti-terrorist strategy and to enact appropriate laws to combat terrorism in the country. Concurrently, it must educate masses of the malicious designs of certain regional and international players working to destabilize Pakistan through terrorist activities. Successful attempt on eminent journalist like Hamid Mir could have stirred commotion in the journalist community and as he himself was swindled most would have pointed fingers towards intelligence agencies of Pakistan. Such a development would have created serious differences between defense establishments and civil society of the country further weakening the national fiber to the advantage of our adversaries. Threat posed by terrorist organizations especially foreign funded terrorist outfits can be best countered if all segments of Pakistani society join hands. Media has an important role to play in gearing up all segments of the society to defeat this menace for their own good and for the good of the country.