Choosing the Path of Islamist Extremism: Case Studies from Pakistan

Choosing the Path of Islamist Extremism: Case Studies from Pakistan

Publication details

  • Thursday | 18 Oct, 2018
  • Farhan Zahid
  • Research Reports,Project Publications
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Introduction
 
This study attempts to explore what has actually motivated several individuals to opt for the path of jihad, and how did they proceed? It is assumed that in the lives of some individuals, a turning point came that led them to radicalization.  Once they joined a particular jihadi group, what kept them in those groups is the theme of the study. In addition, if any of the individual dissociated himself from the cause, what were the causes behind?
To kick start the programmes for the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of Islamist radicals, it is pertinent to analyze their life stories and experiences during jihad. It could help policy makers and practitioners in planning and executing the re-integration processes. This may be one of the few projects using the life stories of Islamist extremists, especially in case of Pakistan. These lifetime stories find new avenues, hold potential to bridge the gap between practitioners and researchers and above all provide experiences of people involved in violent extremism; and may help envisage future policies for the policy makers and researchers to construct space for dialogues, negotiations and finally the return of extremists to normalcy.
After 9/11, the war on terror and the subsequent events occurred during the last one and a half decades damaged the overall social fabric of Pakistani society. According to a website South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP n.d.), more than 63,554 people lost their lives in more than 12,000 terrorist attacks, including 479 suicide bombings across the country. Adding insult to injury, the economy suffered $118 billion losses (War on Terror 2016) because of the prevailing security conditions. 
 
The study aims to:
  • Enhance the understanding of why some individuals choose to become extremists and at a later stage become terrorists
  • Explore and analyze the causes of radicalization, and suggest the possible way-out
  • Enhance our comprehension about the level of risks from such individuals in case they return to the fold of society
  • Help policy makers frame their policy measures in the light of the findings of this report