ISSN 2330-717X

Paigham-E-Pakistan: A Step Towards National Integration – OpEd

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In the wake of so-called Islamic Jihad that brought a dangerous wave of terrorism in Pakistan was stumped effectively by providing a strong counter narrative in the shape of Paigham-e-Pakistan. It is the age of narratives and the people’s behaviors and attitudes are shaped with these narratives. Moreover, they also help in forming the contours of politics, identity, and ideology. The societies and states are always in the struggle of crafting new narratives as per their ideological and political needs.  These narratives strengthen them by upholding and creating subsidiary premises. 

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Pakistan was lacking in such effort against the wave of terrorism until Paigham-e-Pakistan was formulated. The narrative of Paigham-e-Pakistan has endeavored to challenge the appeal of extremist narratives in legal or jurisprudential, politico-ideological and socio-cultural domain. It was launched at the President House in the presence of political and religious leaders of the country. The document entails two parts first is the preamble that contains the analysis of political and ideological situation. The second part is the religious decree signed by 1829 religious scholars from all religious schools of thought in the country. Till date over 4000 religious scholars have signed the document and the number is expected to cross 50K in the coming months.

Army is the linchpin behind developing this consensus-based counter-terrorism narrative document signed by thousands of Pakistani Islamic scholars, which disapproved of the militant groups extremist ideology and defined their brutal acts, including suicide attacks, as against the basic doctrine of Islam. Paigham-e-Pakistan (PeP) has been endorsed and recommended by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam. 

Considering the upsurge in terrorist attacks and the rise of new extremist group an initiative such as PeP was the need of time. At the time, youngsters were being brainwashed and dragged into the world of terrorism and that cycle continued as there was no counter narrative to effectively manage such dangerous developments. The leadership of Pakistan Army took serious steps in developing this consensus and formulating a draft that proved to be the biggest blow against the extremist literature and ideology. Under the idea of PeP it was communicated that;

“Jihad is an effort of the state by the state and for the state”

It undermined the constructed ideas of extremists group, which were effecting the youth and they were being attracted to their world of ignorance. PeP contributed a lot towards national cohesion by reinforcing the correct Islamic understanding of the issue and it also helped towards countering terrorists ideologies based on using religion as a shield for furtherance of their nefarious anti Pakistan objectives.

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Humais Sheikh is an independent Defence Analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad.

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