Counter Narrative: The Missing Link in Pakistan's Counter Terrorism Strategy   [open pdf - 746KB]

From the thesis abstract: "Pakistan is grappling with the duo of religious extremism and terrorism. The country has suffered the most to terrorism due to both its geographic location and policy decisions that it made in the past. [...] Pakistan is fighting the monster it jointly created with the United States and Saudi Arabia, since 2001, but its counter-terrorism efforts have largely remained focused on the kinetic use of force. Extensive military operations have successfully eliminated terrorist safe havens, which they once enjoyed. However, the lack of a scientific and systematic approach to defeat religious extremism on ideological grounds, which lays at the root of the problem, have prevented Pakistan from translating its military successes into a long term national narrative. The prevailing master national narrative that the terrorists exploit is the outcome of a well-orchestrated process (1979-1989) and can only be undone or modified through an equally effective, if not more efficient, narrative building process. To be effective, any new or alternative official narrative will have to consider this master narrative. [...] Correctness or truthfulness of the story are far less important than the way it is told. The terrorists' narrative is more successful than that of the government, despite being false and malicious. The inherent falsehood and wickedness in the terrorists' narrative can, however, be exploited by shaping the nation's perception of the truth in the right direction."

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