Main Article Content
This paper examines the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Pakistan. In addition, it aims to shed light on the state’s policies for addressing and fixing the issue of religiously motivated violence. Pakistan has been in the grip of terrorism and violent extremism since September 11, 2001 (9/11, henceforth). Pakistan presumably provides a fertile ground for terrorism and violent extremism due the state’s ambivalent attitude towards religious groups. A spate of horrific terrorist attacks hit Pakistan just before the 2013 general election. As a result, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N, henceforth), which came to power following the 2013 elections, was able to implement measures aimed at combating violent extremism and terrorism. It was only with the support of the parliamentary opposition, especially of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP, henceforth), that military operations and anti-terrorism and extremism policies were implemented. The PPP emerged as the second largest party in parliament as a result of the 2013 General Election, and it provided significant cooperation to the PML (N)-led federal Government on the issue of terrorism. Specifically, this study aims to analyze the PML-N-led Government’s counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policies for curbing extremism, religious militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. It will also discuss the role of the PPP, the main opposition party in parliament (2013-2018), in countering violent extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. Methodologically, this study is based on secondary sources (published reports, newspaper and journal articles, etc.,), and is occasionally reinforced with primary sources (interviews with politicians).