LAHORE - More than three-decade-long radicalisation of the state, unchecked operations of foreign-funded religious seminaries and NGOs, impacts of political proxies of the Muslim as well as western world, lack of political will to deal with extremist ideology which gives birth to terrorism are among some of the major reasons of unabated terrorism in the country.

These were the assessments of members of the intelligence community based on experience in the field on the issue of causes of decades-long terrorism in the country during background interviews with The Nation yesterday.

The three-syllabus system of education – private, public and religious seminaries – is another major reason. Unchecked use of loudspeaker and activities of prayer leaders who utilise their position to brainwash and recruit members for their false concept of religion are also contributing to terrorism. Internet traffic, especially on the social media, is spreading disinformation on security issues.

At the same time, allowing the members of liberal-right, mostly operating foreign-funded NGOs to preach an ideology opposite to cultural and religious norms, is providing an opportunity to the religious forces to launch a war in the name of religion, said members of military and civilian intelligence agencies, while sharing their experiences regarding the monster of terrorism.

Nexus among the extremist militant forces of religious-right, nationalists, separatists and organised crime gangs in connivance with corrupt officials is also increasing terrorism.

Flawed and corrupt national database system and immigration services, unchecked financial operations, spread of Afghan refugees in the country by acquiring fake nationality documents are among other major factors or reasons for the boom of the terrorist industry, added the members of the intelligence community.

Security agencies members admitted that allowing certain groups and individuals to form militant outfits in the name of religion as unannounced policy of the state for unclear national interests was also a key factor of extremism.

Foreign-sponsored or hostile intelligence services’ aggressive covert operations on Pakistani soil to achieve certain targets in the region are yet another factor of terrorism in Pakistan, they added.

In the current situation, slow pursuance of National Action Plan, non-extension of special courts under Protection of Pakistan Act, political leadership’s reluctance to allow special powers to paramilitary forces in urban Sindh and Punjab to counter terrorism and organised crime gangs, lack of progress on madaris reforms, poor prosecution of terrorism cases, poor immigration and national database system, bashing of security agencies by certain politicians and groups causing demoralisation of ground forces and allowing such people on media outlets to say whatever they want to create hate for the security forces, and political influence in law-enforcing agencies and civilian intelligence services are among the major reasons of extremism, affirmed the members of intelligence community of the military.

Lack of capacity building of the law-enforcing agencies and funds to feed extensive intelligence operations, lack of intelligence information coordination, flaws and corrupt system of national database and immigration services, small operational powers of civilian intelligence agencies, unsteady means of communication and lack of technical equipment are among some of the reasons hampering the task of counter-terrorism, asserted the members of the civilian intelligence services.

Suggesting some remedies to deal with Frankenstein’s monster of terrorism, military and civilian intelligence agencies members both are unanimous on the point that real actions must be taken by the political elite on intelligence inputs, especially relating to influential people.

No group or individual should be given any leniency when a matter concerning the state security linked with influential political groups and individuals and others is sent to the government for necessary action.

The matter of state security should not be subservient to the political interest; instead, the latter should be subservient to the former, opined the members of military and civilian intelligence services. They also strongly recommend de-politicisation of the law-enforcing agencies and civilian intelligence apparatus.

Both the military and civilian agencies’ members, agreeing on another point, proposed prompt action should be taken against the religious seminaries, NGOs, political groups and individuals found connected with hostile forces on the intelligence reports.

The job of an intelligence service is to provide actionable information and rest of the responsibility lies with the government. Delayed action or no action to safeguard political or other interests is failing the achievements of frontline forces of counter-terror warfare.

Maximum efforts must be taken at all levels for deradicalization of not only the surrendering militants but also the entire society. Prayer leaders should be interviewed by competent authorities before their appointment. All mosques must come under religious affairs and auqaf departments in order to stop private network, proposed the military and civilian intelligence members.

There should be a single syllabus in private, public and religious seminaries and use of loudspeaker should be monitored strictly.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority must monitor the internet traffic with high vigil in an effort to block anti-Pakistan and terrorist networks on social media, they suggested.

A stringent action must be taken against corrupt officials in the national database system and immigration services that have facilitated terrorists and anti-state elements to get Pakistani identity to roam free.

At the same time, all financial operations should be streamlined and brought under regulations. Afghan refugees should be monitored and must send back home after their extended stay in December this year.

Joint actions are needed to break the nexus among the extremist militant forces of religious-right, nationalists, separatist forces and organised crime gangs in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, proposed the military intelligence services’ members.

Fast pace of National Action Plan, extension of special courts under Protection of Pakistan Act, special powers to paramilitary in urban Sindh and Punjab to counter terrorism and organised crime gangs, fast pace progress on madaris reforms and proper prosecution of terrorism cases should be carried out to supplement the targets of Zarb-e-Azb, proposed the members of military intelligence services.

There must be some checks on the people who are violating their right of independence and sabotaging the efforts of security agencies. The media should not allow such people to advance their anti-state agenda in the name of freedom of speech, they suggested.

Law-enforcing and civilian intelligence agencies must be de-politicised for getting real results in the war on terror and foreign funding should be stopped or thoroughly checked, proposed the military agencies’ members.

The members of civilian intelligence services, suggesting remedies to counter terrorism, demanded more funds to feed extensive intelligence operations, besides sharing intelligence information by military agencies.

Civilian security apparatus should be given arresting powers and extensive phone tapping, eavesdropping and surveillance powers to deal with terrorists.

Technical equipment of high grade and steady means of transportation must also be provided, besides holding capacity-building courses at home and abroad to counter terrorism, they suggested.

A former member of a premier intelligence service of the military said it was not true that civilian agencies had not enough counter-terror funds. A top civilian intelligence agency got nearly Rs four billion funds when the incumbent government came to power with new gadgets and equipment to monitor state enemies. The government must ask that agency about its performance and how many pieces of actionable intelligence it has produced so far, he added.

On the contrary, a senior member of a top civilian intelligence service told the paper that political duties, including assessments of results of opposition actions, public pulse reports to assess the popularity of the rulers, hamper larger exercise of counterterrorism.

The key civilian agency can perform much better if it has its own cadre up to the office of the director general and no member of the police and other intelligence service is deputed in the agency, he added.