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At The Crossroads


Priyanka Singh


Edited by Moeed Yusuf
Foundation Books, Delhi, 2014, pp. 252, Rs. 525.00

VOLUME XXXIX NUMBER 2 February 2015

Pakistan has been boxed in a peculiar paradoxical situation--on one hand it is pronounced as a state perpetrating militancy and on the other a victim itself of terrorism fighting rather hard to counter militancy. Facing an unprecedented scourge of violence while trying to pull off an ambiguous counterterro-rism strategy, Pakistan is currently at the cross-roads with few options available. In a volatile security context, it is imperative for Pakistan to undertake a focussed, comprehensive and unbiased strategy to eradicate terrorist outfits which have caused immense damage to its image globally, cost its own people their lives and blunted future prospects for progress.  In this backdrop, Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge, edited by Moeed Yusuf, Director of the South Asian Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington D. C. puts together a detailed analysis on Pakistan’s challenge against the rising tide of militancy. The book hinges its arguments on the fundamental truth that militancy in Pakistan is a result of the combination of internal dynamics and external factors operating in varying geopolitical contexts. The book is set on the caveat that it deals specifically with counterterrorism and not counter insurgency (COIN), even as there may be overlapping factors interconnecting the two manifestations of violence in Pakistan. The debate on Pakistan’s counterterrorism(CT) agenda covered in the book crystallizes into certain key points: there is inherent confusion in Pakistan’s CT approach regarding whom to target; there is absence of effective regulations and law to support efforts towards counterterrorism; there is no principal coordination body which could streamline activities related to counterterrorism into a coherent rigorous policy and, there are trends which indicate that there has indeed been an improvement in the counterterrorism effort as the military has rescued the country from slipping into the hands of extremists. The book extensively discusses what needs to be done to enunciate better counterterrorism strategy—on one hand it notes that civil military equations need to be rebalanced and on the other stresses the significance of popular support in carrying out counterterrorism operations.  The book begins by providing an overview of the evolution of militant threat inside Pakistan and focusses on Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as a case. While doing so, the introductory chapter traces Pakistan’s threat perception from viewing India as the principal security challenger to lately witnessing the internal perils of home grown militancy. Pakistan has several ...


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