Dy­nam­ics lead­ing to rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Amna Ejaz Rafi Email: amna.e.rafi@gmail.com — The writer is Re­searcher at Is­lam­abad Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute, a think tank based in Is­lam­abad.

RAD­I­CAL­I­SA­TION is change in be­lief, feel­ing, or be­hav­iour to­wards in­creased sup­port for in­ter­group con­flict. Ter­ror­ism is the worst out­come of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion. Peo­ple are not born rad­i­cal; un­just prac­tices, so­cial/po­lit­i­cal alien­ation and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences rad­i­calise them. In the pre­vail­ing era, the phe­nom­ena of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion is wide­spread. The de­vel­op­ing as well as the de­vel­oped world are all en­coun­ter­ing the rad­i­cal forces. Some view ab­ject poverty cou­pled with so­cial/po­lit­i­cal iso­la­tion as prime causes of rad­i­cal­iza­tion. While, there are in­stances where the ed­u­cated and elite have also re­sorted to vi­o­lence.

In ei­ther of the case, the rad­i­cal has faced some form of un­just be­hav­iour, or dis­crim­i­na­tion which makes him sus­cep­ti­ble to ex­treme views. The ex­trem­ist well aware of the sen­si­tiv­i­ties of the de­prived in­di­vid­ual ex­ploit his weak­ness. Ac­cord­ing to Marc Sage­man Counter Ter­ror­ism Prac­ti­tioner’s Rad­i­cal­iza­tion Model, the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process in­volves four stages – pre-rad­i­cal­iza­tion, self-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, in­doc­tri­na­tion, and ex­trem­ism. In the pre­rad­i­cal­iza­tion stage, the in­di­vid­ual lives an or­di­nary life and has not yet ac­cepted the rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy. In the self-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion stage, the in­di­vid­ual be­gins to ex­plore ex­trem­ist ide­ol­ogy. In in­doc­tri­na­tion stage, ad­her­ence to rad­i­cal views is in­ten­si­fied, usu­ally un­der di­rec­tion of an ide­o­log­i­cal leader.

Fi­nally, in the ex­trem­ism stage, in­di­vid­ual willingly ac­cepts and car­ries out the as­signed task. Thus, an ex­trem­ist can be in­doc­tri­nated to be­come a ter­ror­ist. The push­ing fac­tors be­hind rad­i­cal­iza­tion could be pub­lic’s lack of trust in the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship/in­sti­tu­tions, un­just prac­tices, so­cial iso­la­tion and eco­nomic de­pri­va­tion. Class dif­fer­ence like back­ward ver­sus mod­ern and il­lit­er­ate ver­sus civ­i­lized and staunch re­li­gious ver­sus open minded po­lar­ize the so­ci­ety. The con­flict be­tween the var­i­ous so­cial classes is detri­men­tal to so­ci­etal peace and con­trib­utes to­wards rad­i­cal­ism. Un­em­ploy­ment is also a ma­jor fac­tor be­hind young peo­ple’s frus­tra­tion, who are left with no other op­tion but to re­volt.

Rad­i­cal­ism is also pro­moted through re­gional con­flicts.The preva­lent en­vi­ron­ment is plagued with ter­ror­ism. While, on the other hand, the eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and re­gion­al­ism has in­tro­duced a new trend in in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics. States through eco­nomic ma­neu­ver­ing try to re­in­force their ingress, eco­nomic diplo­macy and re­gion­al­ism are the or­der of the day. In view of the pre­vail­ing trends, South Asia is the least in­te­grated re­gion of world. The re­gion ac­counts for only 3 per cent of world GDP, and nearly 40 per cent of its in­hab­i­tants live on less than US $ 1.25 per day. Be­sides, re­gion faces chal­lenges of cli­mate change, en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, and in­creased in­equal­i­ties are threats to re­gion’s growth and pros­per­ity.

The In­dia-Pak­istan bi­lat­eral disputes, the Cold War pol­i­tics, the Soviet in­va­sion of Afghanistan and ter­ror­ism have im­pacted the politico-se­cu­rity architecture of South Asia. Seen the In­dia-Pak­istan bi­lat­eral disputes, the re­gional coun­tries have failed to find am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tions. The an­tag­o­nism and dis­trust con­tin­ues to haunt the bi­lat­eral ties. As a re­sult of the failed ven­tures, the ex­trem­ist ten­den­cies on both sides of the bor­der have been re­in­forced. China’ s in­ter­est in the de­vel­op­ment of Gwadar is to se­cure its eco­nomic in­ter­ests. China’s en­hanced re­gional role is an op­ti­mistic move, in the back­drop, of the eco­nomic in­cen­tives and re­gional in­te­gra­tion. On the other hand, the re­gional play­ers wary of China’s growth would try to limit China. This power game could prove to be detri­men­tal for the re­gional peace. It may also re­in­force the in­sin­u­a­tions of mis­trust among the re­gional coun­tries. To counter the rad­i­cal forces, the SAARC states need to get united against ter­ror­ism, en­sure se­cu­rity/sta­bil­ity of the re­gion, and reap the ben­e­fits of en­ergy con­nec­tiv­ity/co­op­er­a­tion. China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) will con­sti­tute en­ergy trans­fer and is cen­tral to the re­gion’s progress. Re­gional in­te­gra­tion projects like Bangladesh-China-In­dia-Myan­mar (BCIM), Cen­tral Asia South Asia( CA SA ), Turk­menistan Afghanistan-Pak­istan-Ind ia( TAP I) should also be pur­sued.

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