9/11 effects on Pakistan

The end of the post 9/11 decade is bringing forth mixed reactions from around the world. It is commonly held that these attacks and their resulting policies have resulted in the establishment of a New World Order. However it can also be said that certain other events occuring in the same decade have perhaps had more far-reaching consequences than 9/11.

No other state equates with Pakistan in the monumental repercussions of 9/11. Out of a total loss of about 35000 lives, security personnel constitute a staggering 3500, which in itself is more than the total victims of 9/11 as well as 30 percent more than the total number of NATO troops killed in Afghanistan to date.Economically, direct or indirect losses amount to 67 billion US dollars, a figure far too great for a developing state to afford. Pakistan has lost its sovereignty over a large territory in the North West. As the economically devastated US plans an exit strategy from Afghanistan, there seems no exit from terrorism and state failure in sight for Pakistan.

The heart of the matter lies in the simple question, ‘Is the War on Terror our War?’ Religious parties and a significant section of the public declare it America’s war and argue for complete withdrawal of Pakistan from the ‘War on Terror’. Usually those associated with the corridors of power, along with some from the educated class, approve of the war as the better circumstantial option because Pakistan is too weak to take the US head on. The third category belongs to some politicians, liberal intelligentsia and political activists who not only own it as Pakistan’s war but consider it mandatory for Pakistan’s survival and prosperity. Building a consensus on the ‘War on Terror’ should be the highest national priority, which can afford no more delay.In fact, the struggle against terrorism existed in Pakistan even before 9/11 and will remain so after America’s exit from Afghanistan. For better or worse, 9/11 essentially brought us to the crossroads where the state had make a choice between supporting or abandoning militancy.

Religious militancy : Today, the world is speaking of moving on from the post 9/11 situation but we in Pakistan don’t seem ready for this. The end of militancy in Pakistan is not only requisite for American troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan but also pivotal for Pakistan’s bright future. Religious militancy has almost become a civilizational problem for us. The situation is ripe, as until now, the ever needed international consensus against militancy always seemed missing. Time is running out to act decisively against terrorism. Failing to do so could lead to more 9/11′s, more wars, and immeasurable civilian sufferings.

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