Pakistan after independence faced several serious security and economic issues, which not only disturbed the internal peace it had but also affected its economic growth. These problems have now converted to internal threats such as inflation, political instability, militancy, religious extremism, and more specifically terrorism. Terrorism is a major issue that has threatened both its external and internal security and which in the end affects the economic and sociopolitical structure. Presently, these serious and crucial issues are rapidly damaging the economic and social structure and bolstering military extremism in every part of the country. The increasing militancy has not only created a bad image globally for the country but also increased her internal security concerns. The militant elements which have spread their operations all over the country make Pakistan an unsafe place not only for the citizens but also to the overall economic growth of the country due to fear of harassment and insecurity.
Since the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan’s decision to play a front role in the fight against terror has transformed the country into a central and very critical state. The country ultimately has to change its initial policies from providing support to the Jihadist organizations to fighting against them and their rising activities, which involves absolving the increasing threats from the US. These military organizations received immense support during the Afghanistan war, both from the United States government and from General Zia. All military groups in connection to the Afghan war established their bases in the tribal or ethnic areas of Pakistan with only the consent of the residents from the region. When Pakistan’s government announced military operations of countering terrorism, the first prime target regions for operations came from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), including other adjourning areas. The main aim of the operation was to destroy militancy and power infrastructures and remove insurgency to prevent future attacks and to maintain and restore the government writ.
The military groups in the initial stages commenced their activities at a slower pace, thus enhancing militancy in the boarding regions of FATA. As their activities increased, they advanced and opened opportunities for other extreme and dangerous groups that ended up destroying the sociopolitical system and economic culture of the region. The Pakistan army commenced their operations against these groups via several fruitful operations, such as Operation Enduring Freedom of 2001-2002 and Operation Zalzala of 2008 among others. These military operations, combined with drastic terrorist activities, forced the residents to flee and seek refuge in another part of the country, thus making them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their own land.
Pakistan’s economy in 2009 faced a huge burden of about 2.5 million IDPs from Swat, FATA, and other surrounding regions. These people left their home areas because of the rising number of military operations, terrorism, and drone attacks in their regions. Both the military operations and terrorism have destroyed the internal peace by disturbing the lives of the residents, thus making it unsafe and bad for economic enlargement. This paper attempts to explore the overall impacts of terrorism and radicalization on the development and the economic growth of Pakistan, and on the lives of the affected residents.
The research is particularly aimed at:
- Understanding rising terrorism and the impacts it has on the socioeconomic status of the affected regions and Pakistan in general.
- Creating an effective picture of the extremism, which will motivate policymaking with the aim of eradication terrorism in the whole country, while at the same time reducing the military operations?
- Understanding the youth radicalization in Pakistan and its connection with the economic growth of a country.
- Discovering possible causes of actions and designing solutions for different sectors of the society to aid in handling the effects of military operations and the hazards of terrorism.
To begin with, terrorism can be described as a premeditated application of threats or violence by a particular group of people or individuals with the aim of obtaining a social or political objective via the intimidation of a larger mass or audience, which surpasses the immediate or actual victim. It is not a recent phenomenon, considering that it has been in existence for a long time. However, it became much more significant in history after the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001. Although terrorism is a global problem, South Asia and the Middle East are particularly affected because of their engagements in the war on terror attacks, which initiated following the subsequent attacks by the terrorists. Afghanistan’s Taliban government system was believed to provide the bottom-line for terrorism and terrorist activities through various terror groups, especially Al-Qaeda group. Following the terror attacks of 9/11, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, which ended up affecting Pakistan, its neighboring country, due to the fight against terrorism and its aftermath.
Terrorist activities have not only altered the social structure of Pakistan, they also contribute to various economic consequences for other developing countries. They severely affect the developing countries compared to the developed ones, since the developed countries are characterized by varied economies, where terrorism may only result in the relocation of resources to other more secure economic sectors, while developing countries, where resources are concentrated in a particular sector, are much more affected.Pakistan has experienced terrorism’s wrath for almost four decades due to its contribution in the Afghan wars. However, separatist nationalistic movements, sectarian and ethnic conflicts among various factions in Pakistan, and its involvement in those wars illustrate other roots of terrorism in Pakistan. The presented conditions ultimately lead to slow economic growth and development of a country or state. The present research, therefore, contributes to the current study by availing and providing verification or proof on the effects of terrorism on the development and economic growth of Pakistan.
The available literature and publications on the effects of terrorism on the socioeconomic conditions of different countries, particularly Pakistan, are quite limited; nevertheless, an epigrammatic assessment of the existing literature offers remedies presented here. The economic model of terrorism as presented by Bloomberg et al. (2002) portrays it as a situation or state where the terror groups who are not satisfied with the current or existing state of affairs and developments in the regional state try to make changes by engaging in terrorist activities. These activities often vary depending on the economic condition of the country. These groups are capable of either reducing the economic activities by raising terrorism or by reducing some of the economic incentives, which offer more employment opportunities, for instance, to indulge in terrorism.Several studies, however, are of the opinion that recessions in developed or high-income countries may result in a greater possibility of terrorist activities of any country, which in fact holds true for Pakistan.
Bloomberg, among others (2004), empirically examined the impacts of terrorism on about 175 countries, including Pakistan, during the period between 1968 and 2004. They established that there are diverse negative consequences of terrorist activities on the economic growth of any country affected by the vice. More findings indicate that terrorist activities lead to the shifting of resources from investment spending to government spending. Nevertheless, terrorist activities usually differ in various countries, depending on the economic satisfaction and political status of the country. For instance, terrorism may be more frequent in countries with advanced economies compared their third world counterparts, but the impact becomes less significant.
Sandler and Enders (2005) asserted a similar view by comparing the effects of terrorism in developing countries to those of developed countries. They urged that in developed countries, which are associated with vast economies, terrorist activities might result in the relocation of fundamental resources in various economic sectors, which does not hold for developing countries, considering that any occurrence of such incident may jeopardize the economic growth of the country. Developed countries, just like their enormous economies, have healthier markets and institutions, which can absorb the severe consequences of terrorism. They have the ability to provide the monetary and fiscal stimuli, which may aid in dampening terrorism’s effects, while the developing countries lack the stimuli and resources of doing the same. In addition, they largely depend on other regional states compared to the developed and revolutionized ones, hence economic distress by terrorism or extremist group in other countries affects their economic development.
Due to terror attacks, a country may divert funds from research and development to bolster counter terrorism efforts by the military, thus lowering its’ economic capability. The international corporations who pursue investments in other countries often evaluate the risks that a particular country might face before spending huge amounts on security, which is a major barrier to the flow of investment into developing countries, considering that it raises the operational cost of the investors. The various counter-terrorist activities increase the security measures expenditure, thus reducing spending on private research and development. This further minimizes the innovation rate with time, thus ultimately decreasing economic intensification and developments.
Gaibulloev and Sandler in 2009 researched the impacts of radicalization and terrorism on the economy and on the average per capita growth in Asia and Pakistan from 1971 to 2005. They established that fundamental growth limits the effects of terrorism, which seemed robust in the developing countries in comparison with the developed ones, and which demonstrated resilience to terrorist activities because of their strong economies. Terrorism resulting from internal conflicts was twice as effective at reducing the economic growth of a country when compared to international conflicts. However, they deduced that the loss of investment and the monopolization of government spending associated with increased terrorist activities are the major source of reduction in economic growth. Terrorism not only negatively affects the countries in which the activities occur but also the neighboring countries, which are affected as a result of peace disturbance and the loss of business connections with the afflicted country. Their assertion, in my view, holds particularly for the case of Pakistan and her neighbor, Afghanistan. These impacts, in varied ways, have both long- and short-term effects on the economic growth of the affected country or state. They conclude that terrorists and their activities are widespread across the entire globe, and the main causes of terrorism are disrupted social systems, violent political systems, and poor economic structures, among others. Different nations are in the fight to counter terrorism; however, the root cause involves defective economic factors, which proceed to hinder efforts of countering terrorism.
Gries and his allies (2009) looked at the causality between the economic escalation and terrorism on six countries in Western Europe for the period from 1950-2004. The causality ranges from terrorism to economic growth as the low opportunity cost of violence manifested in poor economic performance, which might, in turn, increase conflict, thus contributing to terrorism. Terrorism, on the other hand, may lead to lower economic growth due to the allocation and accumulation of resources that are greatly affected by terrorism. Various results have indicated that significant political and economic events or functions have a great impact on terrorism patterns and economic advancements. Economic performance, however, often makes the opportunity cost of terrorism high enough to thwart such incidences of countering terrorism through political and economic policy initiatives. They further argue that Al Qaida, which is a terrorist group, has greatly affected human life through political, economic, and social violence, which extends to the destruction of the infrastructural beauty of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The authors went on to state that the major reason behind these insurgencies is personal interests, unemployment, and political unrest, among other causes.
Adora (2010) examines and analyzes the effects of the rising terrorist and military activities on economic growth and those that bring down the quality of life. He establishes that these insurgencies mainly target the economic resources for their selfish interests, thus contributing to the fall of the economic setup of the region. He describes certain violent behaviors in society that are capable of leading to or resulting in terrorism and hence should be avoided. He reflected on people’s mobility, their political behavior, and economies that can be taken hold of in the efforts of countering the menace of terrorism. Adora further reveals that the people of FATA, the region that was most affected by terrorism, had accepted the financial losses and the disturbances that the extremist groups and the military had caused in the region. He concluded that the military operations to counter the extremist groups and the rising insurgency are crucial to maintaining peace, regardless of the needs of refugees to be given the maximum support for their economic losses by the government.
The Afghanistan War and the Rise of Youth Radicalization in Pakistan
According to Hudson (2002), Pakistan has faced the wrath of terrorism for over three decades because of its geostrategic position for terrorist activities. When Afghanistan was attacked by the USSR in 1979, its neighbor Pakistan had to face and experience the effects of the invasion. Eventually, Pakistan, which had commenced its resistance against the attack, found herself next in the list of the countries that had been conquered by the USSR; hence, she had to strike back by assisting her neighboring Afghans to put an end to these invasions by Soviet states. The United States and its Western partners soon afterward joined the fight in countering the reach of the communist ideologies in the region. Pakistan acted as the basic logistical pathway for the Afghan confrontation, considering that her military force combined with the financial assistance by the Arab countries; they enabled the Afghans to drive out the USSR in 1989.
After the USSR’s exit in the country, the Afghans and Pakistan were left by their associates, thereby creating a political power vacuum between them. Civil wars then commenced in Afghanistan; these also had certain repercussions for Pakistan. Different feeble and unstable government systems were installed in Afghanistan following these attacks, subjecting the country to the worst kind of law that had diverse effects on the economic situation of the country. It was during this period that the Afghans were looking forward to establishing some robust government systems that could help stabilize the law by restoring initial peaceful co-existence among the citizens. Establishing a better base for the propagation of radical Islam had been a hurdle, forcing the Mujahedeen, the early Arabs, to return along with the new Asian Islamists, among others.
Lack of freedom of expression in society, unemployment, and deteriorating economic conditions are all pertinent factors responsible for the growth of radicalization, regardless of the withdrawal of state patronage. Radicalization may be described as the process of bringing about revolutionary transformations in every aspect of life: ideological, political, economic, and social. However, in current circumstances, radicalization has become religiously motivated comparatively, leading to the emergence of the Taliban phenomenon. Radicalism in its extreme form is witnessed in extremism, militancy, and most dangerously in suicide bombings and terrorism that cause fear, destruction of property, and loss of human life. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the grip of terrorism, which they have struggled with for so long.
Radicalism, as has been mentioned, emerged around 1980, the period when Russia vowed bitter aggression after being resisted by the jihad of Pakistan. It was during this period that the events of 9/11 occurred and American forces toppled the Taliban government in 2001. Radicalization has been growing among the youths since terrorism became a universal matter, considering that the struggle of the armed forces is currently containing Talibanization, and the military are also hesitant to adopt vengeance activities in Pakistan. The problem of radicalization is attributed to several forces and complex factors besides the political reasons. Its causes are of an ideological, economic, and social nature. The anxiety and feelings of unrest in society due to inefficiency, corruption, poor governance, and unemployment have aggravated the situation.
It has been noted, however, that hopeless poverty and long-term economic deprivation, which were severe in Pakistan gave the radicals a chance to criticize the government for failing to take care of its population, and to maintain the social contract between the people and the government. Economic deprivation enabled militant groups and extremists to contextualize their challenge to the state over equal opportunities and social justice while appealing for popular support.
Terrorism results in a severe blow to basic and fundamental human rights for those in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and to citizens of Pakistan in general, who bear the maximum brunt of the terrorism effects. The continuously growing militancy of various religious entities transformed the political, economic, and social structures of FATA. Reviews have indicated that all residents of Pakistan were in one way or another afflicted by the effects of terrorism on their local cultures. Various military operations and terrorism have also contributed to the destruction of local infrastructures of the country. IDPs are still feeling the trauma of their personal and community losses. The terrorist activities and military operations might have achieved their objective; however, those affected are still on the wait to acquire some help from federal or local governments, who they hope will help restore the initial peaceful coexistence in the region through effective resettlement plans. Countries undergoing radicalization are often characterized by unequal avenues for economic and social mobility, lack of economic opportunities, and poor education systems, among others.
Terrorism and radicalization in the country have greatly affected the social, political, and economic infrastructure of Pakistan, and they have largely contributed to the denial of fundamental rights of the citizens. The above reviews are clear indications that the future of Pakistan and the region is dependent on confronting the terrorist monster, radicalism, and religious extremism. Establishing various indicators to measure terrorism, radicalization, and religious extremism, and the progress against them can contribute to the reduction of these evils in Pakistan. It should be noted, however, that similar approaches of de-radicalization should be effected in Afghanistan and India since it makes no sense for Pakistan to engage in the process alone; it requires a regional approach, which will provide a stronger force to ensure de-radicalization is effected. The regional community can be detrimental in providing logistic and technical support against any group posing any kind of threat in Pakistan
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Adora, Charles U. “Managing tourism in Nigeria: The security option.”Management Science and Engineering 4, no. 1 (2010): p, 19
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Koh, Winston TH. “Terrorism and its impact on economic growth and technological innovation.” Technological forecasting and social change 74, no. 2 (2007): 130
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