Pakistani Factor Contributes To Islamic Radicalisation In UK

Westminster Big Ben British Britain flag London Greeks Islamic Radicalisation

Encountering a growing wave of Islamic radicalisation, the United Kingdom has been forced to adopt new approaches to tackle it. Aiming to address all factors aiding the growth of extremism, the government has developed its counter terrorism strategy, known as ‘Contest’. One of the four strands of ‘Contest’ is ‘Prevent’ which is dedicated to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. The programme extends to rehabilitation of those who are already involved in terrorist-related activity. The other three strands of the program are: Pursue, Protect and Prepare.

‘Prevent’ is a cross-government capability, with UK’s Home Office, the Department for Education, and the Department of Health and Social Care partnering to tackle radicalisation. While Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 introduced ‘Prevent’ as a statutory duty on specific authorities, the programme underwent an independent review recently. It was carried out by the Commissioner for Public Appointments William Shawcross and published on February 8, 2023. Identifying Islamist radicalisation as the primary challenge to UK’s anti-terrorism efforts, the report had 34 recommendations to counter it and Home Secretary Suella Braverman has accepted all of them.

In the report, William Shawcross has also highlighted the Pakistan connection to the problem of Islamic radicalization in UK. Some of the examples cited by him trace the roots of the problem to the fundamentalist South Asian Country and its treatment of people from faiths other than Sunni form of Islam. According to Shawcross, it is common for narratives around blasphemy in the UK to have a connection back to hard-line Pak clerics or to the Khatme Nubuwwat movement there. He further notes that the Pakistani rhetoric is impacting UK Muslim communities when it comes to inflaming anti-India sentiment, particularly around the subject of Kashmir. He also refers to evidence of UK extremist groups, as well as a Pakistani cleric with a UK following, calling for the use of violence in Kashmir.

The report also mentions individual cases motivated by radical ideas from Pakistan. Usman Khan, a Pak origin terrorist was sentenced in 2012 with a minimum jail term of eight years for preparing terrorist attacks and planning to set up a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. He was associated with an al-Qaida-inspired network which was planning to attack the Houses of Parliament, the US Embassy, synagogues and the London Stock Exchange.

According to British Parliament’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2013 report, Khan travelled to Pakistan before his arrest in 2010. Usman was shot dead by the London police while he killed two people and injured three others in a knife attack in 2019. Apart from it, two Muslims were murdered in the UK by those citing blasphemy or apostasy as justification.

In February 2016, Jalal Uddin, an Imam in Rochdale, was murdered by two supporters of Islamic State. Asad Shah, an Ahmadiyya Muslim shopkeeper, was murdered in Glasgow in March 2016 by a Sunni Muslim admirer of an extremist Pakistani cleric.

Not just the UK, entire Europe has emerged as a key target of Islamist ideology and radicalisation. The unchecked illegal migration from Pakistan to Europe during the past few decades have turned into a security nightmare for the host countries. According to some estimates of Pakistani authorities, close to 40,000 Pakistani citizens attempt illegal passage to Europe via Iran and Turkey every year.

In May 2021, the Austrian government published a list of more than 620 mosques and Muslim associations as part of its efforts to fight political Islam. The actions followed an attack by former ISIS sympathizer in November 2020, killing four persons and injuring another 23 in Vienna.

An October 2021 report by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group points towards the gradual rise in Brotherhood’s membership and its activities across Europe. Researchers in the report warn against falling for purported ideals of the groups as a supporter of liberal democracy or western values. They point out that the ultimate goal of Islamists is the acquisition of power (tamkin) to build an Islamic state based on sharia. Some experts also warn that the Brotherhood and its affiliates are using liberals across Europe to further their agenda. In September 2021, Charlie Hebdo revealed the existence of links between European institutions and the Brotherhood.

The latest moves of UK government for stemming the flow of Islamic radicalization through its territory signal a renewed determination. However, going by the vast spread achieved by Islamic extremists in Britain and Europe, the policy and execution need to large-scale and widespread. It would also require developing an international consensus on the menace to evolve a joint strategy against terrorism.

In December 2022, the TTP unilaterally ended the ceasefire agreement and directed its militants to carry out attacks across Pakistan. The recent surge in terrorist attacks across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reflects their growing strength in the province and foothold in Balochistan. The TTP took full advantage of the lull period and negotiations to regroup.

The recent suicide bombing claimed by a faction of the TTP, the Jamat-ul-Ahrar is to avenge the death of its leader Omar Khorasani. The TTP now appears to be more organized and armed with sophisticated weapons left behind by the US army during their exit from Afghanistan. The terrorists with the support of their handlers are trying to damage Pakistan.

Pakistan claims that it has paid a price during the so-called war on terror in which more than 85,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives. The Pukhtoons of Pakistan have sacrificed more than any other ethnic group in Pakistan as a result of this war. If any group deserves real appreciation for their contribution right from 1947, it is the Pukhtoons.

Former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has levelled serious allegations against former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa who wanted to "rehabilitate" members of the banned TTP in the country after the Afghan Taliban captured Kabul. Meanwhile, TTP has warned of more attacks in Pakistan after storming the Peshawar and Karachi police chief's office.

TTP said in an English-language statement that "the policemen should stay away from our war with the slave army, otherwise the attacks on the safe havens of the top police officers will continue. We want to warn the security agencies once again to stop martyring innocent prisoners in fake encounters otherwise the intensity of future attacks will be more severe."

The TTP is a long-term challenge for Pakistan which will haunt it for decades. Today, due to this economic turmoil, Pakistan Army is not in a position to sustain a prolonged offensive against TTP.

Today, almost all the factions of TTP are united under the leadership of Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud and fighting the Pakistan Army. Pakistan believes Taliban supports TTP The most dangerous pattern being observed is the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISKP), the top enemy of the Afghan Taliban which not only enjoys the support of Pakistan ISI but also has its safe heavens in Pakistan. Many of the ISKP leaders are frequent guests in the Pakistan Army GHQ at Rawalpindi which does not need any corroboration.

In the name of Pashtun nationalism & Pashtunwali, a civil code followed in the entire Afghanistan and the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, TTP has been successful in uniting people for its cause.

The future of Pakistan seems to be dark under the multiple threats of a collapsing economy, political instability, monopoly of the Pakistani establishment, extremist groups like TTP and Baloch rebels attacking anywhere in the country at their own will, and rising religious groups like Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as well as Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).

The Pakistani establishment has an even bigger challenge today than TTP and that is to resolve the political instability. By the time they succeed in this, it will be too late. (R C Ganjoo is a senior journalist and columnist having more than 30 years experience of covering issues concerning national security, particularly Kashmir.

He has worked with several prominent media groups and his articles have been published in many national and international publications.)

Read more at:

By Dr Sakariya Kareem.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024