Terrorism is the biggest threat to peace': Dr Shabir Choudhry*

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Brussels, Dec.15 (ANI): Eminent author on Kashmir affairs, Dr. Shabir Choudhry, has said that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace not only in South Asia, but to other parts of the world.

He recently addressed a conference organised by Baroness Emma Nicholson in European Parliament and dwelt extensively on the issue.

Following is his address:

It is an honour to be here and express my views in a conference on issue of Kashmir organised by Baroness Emma Nicholson, who has already made enormous contribution to the cause of Jammu and Kashmir by authoring the EU Kashmir report, which was passed by the EU Parliament with a massive majority.

Ethnic and cultural identity is important for people as it gives them a sense of belonging. But cultures and civilisations can only flourish when there is no oppression and intimidation in society. Majority of people in every society are good and want to live in peace and harmony, but in every society there is a small minority which is criminal minded.

It is this small group which makes life difficult for every one. They promote violence and terrorism in order to advance their political or personal agenda. They conceal their agenda by using name of religion or some ideology, which helps to raise funds and recruit people. It is imperative that all those who believe in peace, democracy and rule of law must work together to counter and defeat these criminals.

These terrorist groups are highly organised and ruthless. They have no religion and no nationality. Their activities are not limited to one country- they are transnational organisations with close working relationship with terrorists in many other countries. These terrorist groups are the biggest threat to peace; and in order to root out this menace international strategy and approach is required.

Terrorists have more than once brought India and Pakistan close to a full scale war. Once again both countries are going through very difficult time as a direct result of terrorism in Mumbai, which no religion or civilised person can justify. One can understand the civilian government of Pakistan is not directly responsible for the Mumbai attacks, but those who committed this horrible crime came from Pakistan and allegation is that they were trained by some junior officers of the ISI.

Many people believe that the present civilian government could be 'innocent bystander' in the current crises. As the government had no role in the Mumbai attacks, and offer of full cooperation was made, and even agreed to send ISI Chief to help in the investigations. But when the real rulers of Pakistan heard what was going on, they were furious over this and once again demonstrated that they hold key to power and strategic decision making. Soon after this pressure both President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani changed their tone and withdrew their offer.

In Pakistan those who have power to fight terrorism are not willing to commit themselves; and those who are in government and wish to effectively fight terrorism have no power to carry out this gigantic task. As a result of this many experts on South Asia and terrorism believe that the Pakistani governments never abandon policy of jihad, and training and promoting terrorism.

It is an established fact that in Pakistan there is a civilian government in office, but it doesn't have power. And if relationship between the both countries deteriorates or in the worst case scenario, there is a military clash then those who are running the democratic show from behind will topple this government. That will be bad for democracy, bad for peace, bad for India and bad for stability and prosperity of South Asia. It will also be bad for America and its war on terrorism.

Terrorism has a long history, and there could be many reasons for this. In my view injustice perpetrated by those who are powerful in society, injustice to other communities and nations; discrimination on grounds of religion or ethnic and cultural backgrounds are main causes of violence and terrorism. (ANI)

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