The attack on an MQM parliamentarian in Karachi on Eid Day has raised new controversy, besides heralding emergence of a new organisation namely Ansarul Sharia. The unfolding of the new militant wing with self-proclaimed righteous agenda has just added salt to the already infected wound, reminding the ugly incident of Abdul Wali Khan University. In both cases, no one else but post graduate students of public sectors universities were involved, which is an alarming situation.
The emergence of this new organisation needs to be read in context with the ongoing militancy, post 9/11 in Pakistan, kept alive with regular interval off and on as the instant attack in Karachi or elsewhere in other parts of Pakistan. I am trying to establish a link and spillover effect of these attacks to which our policymakers have been very insensitive or reactionary instead of being proactive. There is no doubt that sacrifices made by LEAs against war on terror are matchless in the contemporary history but the role played by policy makers and governments has never been up to the mark.
In this regard, it would be worthwhile to make a reference to a study conducted by the Government of Pakistan with technical assistance of World Bank, UNDP, EU and ADB in 2009-10, titled as Post Crisis Need Assessment (PCNA), to help identify the driver of militancy in KP and FATA. A similar exercise was subsequently carried out for Balochistan under the banner of Damage Need Assessment (DNA).
The PCNA report, which took more than a year to compile, is considered the most thorough and comprehensive – as compared to other PCNAs – in the world, for the simple reason that others are mostly based on secondary source of information, whereas Pakistan PCNA had been more participatory by involving all stakeholders be it youth, civil society organisations, parliamentarians, and bureaucrats. Interestingly, this report was supervised by a high level forum called Strategic Oversight Council headed by Prime Minister of Pakistan, which is suffice to highlight the importance attached to the findings of the report, which was subsequently adopted as a chief peace building strategy by the federal government.
The PCNA report had identified four strategic objectives, but I will refer to them as issues for the purpose of this article i.e restoration of citizen state trust, lack of employment opportunities, weak social service delivery system and above all element of radicalisation found in the society.
The total cost worked out at that time amounted to $ 2.7 billion spanning over nine sectors inter alia governance, strategic communication, infrastructure, off farm and on farm wherein even activities mostly were spelt out separately in Strategic Transitional Framework Work (STRF) for the nine sectors both for KP and FATA.
For operationalisation of PCNA recommendations, a Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was formed under the auspices of World Bank by eleven countries with initial allocations of $180 million. Apart from the generous support of development partners, huge investments was made by GOP out of its own resources, as is evident from the two PCNA mapping done in KP and FATA. The GOP share in the total PCNA investment stands at 80% + as of 2015-16 where donors contributions remain less than 20%. The overall investment pattern has been, as usual, more skewed toward infrastructures ignoring improvement in social service delivery, governance and above all strategic communication. This point is the bottom line of my discussion to convince the policymakers that it is not the mud and mortar that matter in restoring sustainable peace and tranquility, but winning the hearts and minds of the people at large for ensuring peace, which has been found absent in the current efforts of GOP from point go. Here it would not be out of place to mention the effect of one portable FM radio station deployed in Swat during the height of militancy in 2009-10 till full control by Pakistan Army.
It is a must to revisit the discourse and come out with a clear narrative promoting peace and tolerance by inculcating spirit of patience essential for growth of inclusive positive society. So two important things need to be initiated i.e effective strategic communication catering to the requirement of the society at large in general, and youth in particular to help inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship and development of curricula taught in our academic institution, which is quite archaic and static in nature, churning out run of the mill sort of graduates instead of matured, competent and sound human resources missing at the moment. To me, as a student, this is the only viable option that people sitting at the helm of affairs revisit the PCNA interventions vis-a-vis improvement in the four strategic objectives referred to as issues for the purpose of this article through scientific studies to help reinforce its findings more vigorously. Let me close this article by saying that we need to be proactive to our surrounding as a nation, and should avoid the habit of running ahead and leaving behind things in a messy position without any stock taking for course correction.