Someone may choose to term the latest addition in Pakistan military’ doctrine as better late than never; but in my opinion it is too late to be effective. The revised doctrine verifies what people of liberal and open thinking have been telling the military establishment for last several decades – internal security challenges (as posed by religious extremists) constitute the major threat to the country’ sovereignty. Now it’s no more India, the conventional enemy, which had been termed as top most threat for decades; but real threat is from an amorphous and shapeless enemy who is part of this society but is bent upon endangering its very existence.

Though India and Pakistan didn’t wage a major war for the last four decades, however, India remained the conventional enemy, but problem started from 80s onwards with the production, training and equipping of non-state actors to fight proxy wars in neighboring countries. After the Pakistan’ military’ U-turn in the post-9/11 world, these non-state actors went on auto-reaction mode with an all-out ideological, moral and material support from religio-political parties and institutions under them. Therefore, just declaring the religious extremism as imposing threat of higher degree won’t do anything as this war is not limited to Pakistan’ tribal areas; it has spread all over the country —- Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and other urban centers are under threat from these extremists. It may not be the military taking the front seats but several religio-political parties and seminaries are providing the required support for extremist to run the show.

Therefore, until we defeat the militants on ideological front and dry out their financial resources, a military action merely would prove to be a futile exercise or just fulfilling a short term goal. Pakistan government, military, judiciary, civil society and media need to arrive at a common page to take the bull of extremism by the horns; otherwise, all shall be stampeded.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arab, January 7.