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- Written by Eman Jueid
- Category: Culture
A few months after going to Kashmir, he was killed in an explosion and labeled a martyr by his family.
Khurram Qayum, then twenty, also found his way to Kashmir after completing high school.
“His views began to change. All he wanted to do was go to Kashmir, even though we begged him to find work and do something useful,” his mother remembered. “He would say the ‘mothers of Kashmiri Muslims will ask us why we didn’t help them on the day of judgement.’”
Unlike Malik, Qayum returned after a few months, but both these stories make it apparent that extremism takes many different forms in Pakistan. There is not nearly enough discussion in mainstream media about what causes it and how it can be prevented rather than eliminated through counter violence by the United States.
The United States bases some of its policy towards Pakistan on the theory that terrorism is intrinsically related to poverty, and though, widespread poverty and unstable political conditions lead to greater terrorist involvement, individual suicide bombers are often better off economically and better educated relative to the backgrounds which they come from.
Scholars suggest that violence carried out in the form of religious extremism is connected to feelings of shame for the individual and his or her community.
The extremely poor, who are unable to afford food, clean water and other basic necessities are less likely to support terrorism, while those who are able to afford food, but are unable to afford or maintain shelter, employment, and a sense of security for their families and themselves are more likely to support it.
In recent years, Pakistanis have faced rising prices of food, clothing, and other basic necessities. Electrical shortages plague the country especially in summer months when temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Factories and businesses have abandoned their locations in Pakistan for Bangladesh, China, and other countries with reliable electricity--leading to soaring unemployment and deeper poverty.
The widely unpopular government led by president Asif Ali Zardari, is supported by the United States, and though Pakistan receives aid from the United States, few Pakistanis see it, and it is viewed by most as an exchange for allowing US drone attacks on Pakistani territory.
Rather than attempting to fight violence with violence, the United States should commit to promoting peace and economic growth in Pakistan.By Sehar Mughal, Aslan Media Contributor
*Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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