Merciless targeted killings and unprompted attacks from non-state elements is a phenomenon that North Waziristan has unfortunately faced many times in recent years. Since last January, 42 lives have been lost outside of the five individuals that were shot dead within the last 48 hours alone. In response to the worsening situation, the KP government finally approved the legislation for establishing the Centre of Excellence to Counter Violent Extremism in the hopes that an effective solution may be produced by experts.
Considering that the centre is research-based, there are certain standards of quality that the authorities will have to uphold. Pre-requisite requirements entail that field specialists are hired to produce the comprehensive level of specific research needed to understand the issue and propose viable solutions for the province specifically. Additionally, the government will also have to equip the centre with the necessary technology and provide access to international informational platforms. Only then can a conducive environment really be created.
It is equally as important to understand that the issue of extremism varies from region to region and the specific causes and effects suffered by the people of KP are unique to their society. As such, the research must be holistic in nature and incorporate the views of victims, on-ground fighters and the perpetrators alike. It must also dive into how and why the narrative of hatred against Pakistan fuels terrorism, what activities perpetrators carry out, what the cause of extremism, radicalism and intolerance is. Furthermore, it must also investigate the organisations’ fund generation processes as well as unearth the root cause of the problem. A multifaceted approach is the only way a complex issue like extremism will be understood and tackled.
For the KP government, there is no doubt that the first step to take is to improve law enforcement to stop the killings. However, this is just the start, the mind-set must be understood and corrected through this research, which should be peer reviewed before the annual performance report is presented to the assembly. If we are going through this route, we must do it the right way.