TERRORISM - REASONS & PRECAUTIONS
May 2 - 15, 2011
Terrorism is not new, and even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history, it can be relatively hard to be defined. Terrorism has occurred throughout history, but today the world is experiencing a global rebirth of attacks.
Today it no longer affects only small societies, such as isolated third world countries who fall victims to regular terrorist attacks, but the whole world is becoming more familiar with the Arab and Muslim names. The terrorist violence that is on the rise today has informed citizen all over the world about different types of terrorism.
Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public's or government's reaction to the act. Terrorism has been a means to carry on a conflict without the adversary realizing the nature of the threat, mistaking terrorism for criminal activity. Because of these characteristics, terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. But, despite its popularity, terrorism can be a nebulous concept.
All terrorist acts involve violence or the threat of violence. Nongovernmental groups or individuals usually commit these violent acts. Terrorists attempt not only to create panic but also to weaken confidence in the government and the political leadership of a target country. There are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorist's, the victim's, and the public's. The phrase "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is a view terrorists themselves would accept. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil. They believe they are legitimate combatants, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act sees the terrorist as a criminal with no regard for human life. The public's view is the most unstable. The terrorists take great pains to foster a "Robin Hood" image in hope of swaying the public's point of view toward their cause. This sympathetic view of terrorism has become an integral part of their psychological warfare and needs to be countered vigorously. Terrorism therefore is designed to have psychological effects that reach farther beyond the impact on the immediate victims of an attack. Terrorists mean to frighten and therefore scare a wider crowd, such as a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country and its political control, or the entire international community.
Terrorist groups are generally small and have few members, limited firepower, and other resources. For this reason, they rely on intense bloody and destructive acts of hit-and-run violence to attract attention to their group and their cause. Through the media they are able to create a larger voice for themselves and create hostilities among people.
Two of the main causal factors contributing to terrorism in Pakistan are sectarian/religious violence, the active support of the Pakistani state in nurturing terrorist proxies for perceived strategic ends. After imposition of martial law in 1956, Pakistan's political situation suddenly changed and entered into dictator type of national behavior at different levels either civil servants, the army (the most involved people), political forces and British Indian Land Lords. The British originally didn't consider Pakistan as an independent state. Other causes, such as political rivalry and business disputes, also take their toll. It is estimated that more than 4,000 people have died in Pakistan in the past 25 years due to sectarian strife.
What has caused terrorism can be a mystery for many reactionary groups, but for other groups the main causes can be historical, cultural, religious, economic, social, and psychological. Generally, democratic countries have been proven to be grounds for terrorism because of the open nature of their societies. In such societies, people have fundamental rights, civil liberties are protected, and government control and constant surveillance of the people and their activities are absent. Also by through the same reasons repressive societies, where the government closely monitors citizens and restricts their speech and movement, have often provided more difficult environments for terrorists. But, even countries with strict police-enforced laws have not been immune to terrorism, even though they limit civil liberties and are against free speech and rights of assembly.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF TERRORISM
One the most commonly seen forms of terrorism have been suicide attack, otherwise known as psychological warfare. "Suicide terrorism is defined as a politically motivated violent attack perpetrated by a self-aware individual who actively and purposely causes his own death through blowing himself up along with his chosen target. The perpetrator's ensured death is a precondition for the success of his mission." While suicide bombers are often portrayed as lone mad zealots, they are in fact pawns in large terrorist networks that wage calculated psychological warfare (National Center for Policy Analysis).
The suicide bombers often do die while attempting their terrorist acts, hence the name, but the bombers do wish to live to see how the tragedy has affected their victims. The wide range use of suicide terrorism is because it is simple and low-cost, guarantees mass casualties, guarantees the act will succeed; suicide bombers have no fear to surrender information, and the intense impact on the media. The relatively high number of casualties guaranteed in such attacks, which are usually carried out in crowded areas, ensures full media coverage. Thus, suicide terrorism ranks with other spectacular modus operandi such as blowing up airplanes in mid air or the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction as a sure means to win maximum effect (National Center for Policy Analysis). Today's suicide terrorist attacks are obviously different from ones of ancient times, but also the mode of warfare has changed.
Modern suicide attacks are often for the purpose to inflict both physical and psychological damage to the population. Another popular form of terrorism is biochemical terrorism, which is one of the most deadly types. Biochemical terrorism can be defined as a group that threatens or attacks their target with the usage of a chemical that is very harmful and can be fatal."
Information warfare is an electronic conflict in which information is a strategic asset worthy of conquest or destruction. Computers and other communications and information systems become attractive first-strike targets. Information warfare is becoming a popular form of terrorism these days. With the growth in computer software and other technologies, information warfare is becoming easier. The threat of info war means that computer systems would have to be protected from an "Electric Pearl Harbor". The threat of information warfare is a major disruption that should definitely be paid attention to due to its great affect it could have on a nation's communication and computer systems.
With the new technologies today, information warfare groups are much easier to form. The organizational stronghold that the perpetrators have increases the flexibility and reduces the reaction time to fight against an attack. Since this type of terrorism has grown to such a vast strength, it can become one of the most commonly choices for warfare. The terrorist can hack into a computer system that is so far away that the hacker will be in no danger, making this one of the more popular terrorism tactic.
Terrorism is a major problem that is reoccurring over the globe in many different forms. The treats of bio-chemical, suicide or psychological warfare, and information warfare are on the rise in today's societies as more political argument and groups emerge. Along with the rise of terrorism is also the increase in counter-terrorism acts. Even though most counter terrorist groups are kept secret, the increase of terrorism has also counter balanced. Throughout the years, many radical and reactionary groups have been the cause for terrorist attacks throughout the world, but the ones that will always remain the most important to you are the ones that happen in your home nation.
Terrorism in Pakistan has been a problem in recent years, and has been attributed to the government allying itself with the United States in the global "war on terror". Currently, the biggest threat to the state and citizens of Pakistan stems from the politically motivated killing of civilians and police officials, possibly attributed to General Zia ul-Haq's controversial "Islamization" policies in the 1980s. His tenure saw Pakistan's involvement in Soviet-Afghan War, which led to greater influx of ideologically driven Afghan Arabs in the tribal areas and an increase in guns and drugs. The state and its Inter-Services Intelligence, in alliance with the CIA, encouraged the "mujahedeen" to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union; most of the mujahedeen were never disarmed after the war.
From the 2006 to 2011, thousands of people were killed in suicide and other attacks on civilians. The attacks have been attributed to a number of causes: sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims; the easy availability of guns and explosives of a "Kalashnikov culture" and influx of ideologically driven "Afghan Arabs" based in or near Pakistan's thousands of fundamentalist madaris which are thought by some to provide training for little except jihad; secessionists movements - the most significant of which is the Balochistan liberation movement - blamed on regionalism problematic in a country with Pakistan's diverse cultures, languages, traditions and customs.
LIST OF TERRORIST INCIDENTS IN PAKISTAN
This is the list of major terrorist incidents in Pakistan. The War on Terrorism had a major impact on Pakistan, when terrorism inside Pakistan increased twofold. The country was already gripped with sectarian violence, but after 9/11, it also had to direct threat of Al-Qaeda and Taliban, which usually targeted high-profile political figures. In 2006, 30 terrorist attacks, including 10 of a sectarian nature, took place, leaving 100 people dead and 230 others injured. In 2007, 34 terrorist attacks and clashes, including suicide attacks, killings, and assassinations, resulted in 134 casualties and 245 injuries, according to the PIPS security report. The report states that Pakistan faced 20 suicide attacks (mostly targeted at security forces) during 2007, which killed at least 111, besides injuring another 234 people. PIPS report shows visible increase in suicide attacks after Lal Masjid operation. In 2008, the country saw 40 terrorist attacks, which caused 154 fatalities and 256 injuries. In 2009, the worst of any year, 50 terrorist, insurgent and sectarian-related incidents were reported that killed 180 people and injured 300. In 2010, many peoples were killed in different terror activities: 1796 civilian, 469 security forces, and terrorists 5170, total number of killing in 2010 was 7435.
In 2011, the panic of terrorism still continues with the highlights of some major losses, appeared as Shahbaz Bhatti, minister for minorities affairs, murdered by unknown assassins in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on March 2, 2011. Similarly, Salman Taseer has died in a gun attack by the elite force person as the Governor Punjab in Islamabad on January 4, 2011
HOW TO CONTROL TERRORISM?
The investigating agencies also should have coordinated with the central intelligence agencies to collect intelligence and take immediate action. There should be separate federal agencies in each state to deal with terrorism. These establishments should be permanent. Since law and order is subject of state government, the police force should be trained and enough man power should be recruited. Latest equipments should be procured and there should be cameras and electronic surveillance in different parts of the city and establishments and the central control room should keep vigil on any suspicion and doubt action should be taken immediately.
Companies and other services industries should thoroughly check the antecedents of the people while recruiting. Politicians should not make terrorism a blame game and should not throw mud on each other. This problem needs top priority of politicians. Laws should be suitably amended to deal with the terrorism. Finally, the people should have patience and give the inputs to the police force and should complain against unscrupulous people.