In a repetition of old policy, the state is now using the religious argument to ‘take the wind out of the militants’ sails.’ But is this too little too late?
It is in this context that we should view the anti-terrorism fatwa issued by 16 scholars from religious institutions across KP declaring that only the head of an Islamic country had the right to call for jihad, while also urging the faithful to follow the leadership and the Constitution.
A question many people are asking is, does this represent an indirect admission of the past mistake of arming and training Afghan mujahideen and other religious groups? Pakistan’s establishment supported religiously-inspired militancy over the decades.
However, as an editorial in Dawn noted, “The latest fatwa may only prevent further radicalisation, but it will do little to dissuade hard-core ideological fighters from abandoning their violent ways. The state made the mistake of itself promoting radicalism and misusing faith to forward geopolitical aims. It will take time and effort to counter these narratives.”