Pakistan, a nation with a rich history and vibrant culture, has been the epicenter of violent extremism for many decades. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is one of the most known extremist organizations in the country. This piece digs into the TTP’s persistent onslaught on Pakistan’s population, giving a sickening picture of the group’s contempt for human life.
The word “Fasad-Fil-Ard” translates to “mischief on Earth,” while “Khawariji Fitna” refers to an early Islamic extremist group notorious for its radical ideals and acts of violence. TTP represents both of these categories, since its actions are nothing short of wreaking havoc on the planet. Their continuous assaults on people, along with a warped view of Islam, describe them as modern-day Khawarij, the organization that spread strife and violence in Islam’s early days.
TTP’s ruthlessness is on display in September 2023. Civilian casualties for this month alone doubled from previous months, reflecting a significant uptick in the group’s violent activities. An appalling 136 civilians were martyred, with an additional 144 injured in a total of 65 attacks within Sep-2023. These numbers are not merely statistics; they represent fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and friends whose lives were mercilessly taken or irrevocably altered. The Center for Research and Security Studies’ Report for the third quarter of 2023 reveals even more staggering figures. In the first 9 months of the year, violence-related fatalities reached 1087, out of which civilians accounted for a distressing 31%, i.e., 333 deaths. To put this into a broader context, over the last decade, civilian casualties constituted 41.87% of the total fatalities. Such a significant proportion of civilian deaths indicates that TTP’s primary targets are often the innocent and defenseless.
TTP’s cruelty does not only manifest in their acts of violence but also in the way they misinterpret and misrepresent Islam, a religion that, at its core, preaches peace, compassion, and the sanctity of human life. By targeting innocent civilians, TTP violates the fundamental tenets of Islam. Their actions, therefore, are not a reflection of the faith but a gross betrayal of it. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever harms a non-combatant (a civilian), then I am his adversary.” This Hadith underscores the emphasis Islam places on protecting the innocent. Yet, the TTP, under the guise of upholding Islamic values, continues to perpetrate heinous acts that go against the very essence of the religion.
At the heart of the TTP’s modus operandi lies an intrinsic disregard for human life. The group’s terrorist acts are not limited to military or government targets; they frequently target innocent civilians and holy sites. These Khawariji terrorists, who resemble an early Islamic extreme group, show no concern for religious sanctuaries or religious freedoms. As a consequence, both lives have been lost and trust has been lost among Pakistan’s different religious and ethnic populations.
The TTP’s reign of terror has far-reaching consequences that go beyond the immediate loss of lives. Their repeated assaults have caused havoc on infrastructure, disrupting trade, tourism, and everyday life. As a consequence of the precarious security environment, investors have grown leery of both local and overseas investments. As a consequence, Pakistan’s economy has suffered significant setbacks, resulting in the loss of innumerable jobs and debilitated industries. In addition, the country’s security apparatus has been weakened by the constant diversion of resources to combat the TTP threat. This has depleted the nation’s economic resources and made it difficult to maintain law and order in other regions of the country.
The TTP’s misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad is one of the most egregious aspects of their agenda. Contrary to their claims, prominent Islamic scholars have universally condemned their interpretation of Jihad. Through “Paigham-e-Pakistan,” a unified message from Pakistani religious scholars, the so-called Jihad of the TTP has been explicitly labelled “Haram,” or prohibited in Islam. This religious community consensus demonstrates a unified position against the group’s perverted ideology.
Despite confronting enormous obstacles and living under the constant threat of terrorism, the Pakistani people have demonstrated remarkable resilience. They have resisted allowing the TTP’s agenda to govern their daily existence. The markets remain bustling, institutions remain open, and festivals are celebrated with fervor. This resilience originates from the deep-rooted cultural and historical fortitude of the Pakistani people. Their refusal to submit to the TTP is evidence of their character, bravery, and resolve. They defy the panic that seeks to destroy their spirit each day by rising, working, praying, and hoping.
The TTP’s war against the Pakistani people is evidence of the group’s inherent contempt for humanity and utter disregard for the sanctity of human life. Their actions over the years, and especially the recent increase in violence as revealed by the statistics for September 2023, demonstrate a deliberate and callous strategy aimed at the most vulnerable. Pakistanis and the international community must acknowledge the TTP for what it truly is: a “Fasad-fil-Ard” and a “Khawariji Fitna.” Understanding the nature and motivations of this group is the first step in devising countermeasures to their extremist ideology and protecting innocent lives. The TTP’s misrepresentation of Islam necessitates a concerted effort by Muslim scholars and leaders to correct misperceptions and present the true, peaceful face of Islam. The struggle against the TTP is not merely a physical one; it is also an ideological one that necessitates concerted effort to protect Pakistan’s future and the sanctity of its people’s lives.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.