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University education and radicalization in Pakistan

The convicted terrorist Saad Aziz, presently on the loss of life row, is Pakistan’s most distinguished “knowledgeable” terrorist. He attended the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi and, earlier than that, studied for his O’ and A’ tiers at Beaconhouse and Lyceum colleges, respectively. In April 2015, Aziz killed Sabeen Mahmud, the Second Floor (T2F) founder, a space devoted to innovative and liberal discourse in Karachi. Aziz claimed to have been angered by Mahmud’s anti-Taliban, anti-mullah (and anti-Red Mosque) pronouncements—even her spreading Valentine’s Day cheer. A few weeks after Aziz killed Mahmud, he confessed to being one of the militants who killed forty-six Ismaili Shias on a bus they used to work on.

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There are valid doubts about whether or not jihadism drove Aziz to commit these crimes or whether a connection with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies played a role in his movements or confession. Mahmud had convened Baloch activists for a public event at T2F the day she was killed. Security agencies have an extended record of shutting down Baloch dissenters and asked for the same occasion that month at the Lahore University of Management Sciences to be canceled. Although shocking, the story of Aziz’s radicalization provided using the joint investigation crew report turned into almost too clean and left unanswered questions; his coolness throughout his confession also sowed doubt in his story. Nevertheless, Aziz’s case gives a beneficial starting point for considering better education, extremism, and radicalization in Pakistan.

Concluding about violent extremism from facts is an incorrect workout because of the tiny numbers that ultimately engage in violence. Data can assist us in completing approximate attitudes in the population. But, for violence, the strive should not be to locate socio-demographic correlates but to discern what the personal stories of violent terrorists tell us about radicalization. Extremist views and violence are connected—no longer because all of us with radical attitudes will become violent. However, radicalization provides the base for violent extremism and a logistical and ideological guide community because it had been for militancy.

As I display in my new e-book, Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, And The State, an evaluation of polling records reveals that those with a little college schooling are substantially more negatively closer to all terrorist groups (al-Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban) relative to those with less education. That is ideal information. However, comparable possibilities of college-knowledgeable respondents expressed beneficial views toward terrorist companies as people who never attended school (college-knowledgeable respondents are lots surer in their opinions, so a better percentage answered the question). And for views on apostasy, college training makes no distinction. University-educated people are as likely to believe (around seventy-five %!) in the loss of life penalty for apostasy as those who never attended school.

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The content of college schooling is a mixed bag in Pakistan. A few elite, non-public universities, like the Lahore University of Management Sciences, are very liberal. But even in interviews with students studying records and political and technological know-how at a public college in Lahore, I determined them overtly debating and hard the spiritual framing of the Pakistani country-wide narrative.

The most important factors that stimulated them have been reading the politics and records of other sector elements and a professor who engaged with them and taught them to question universal narratives. However, students in most engineering universities and medical schools face the equal indoctrination in Pakistan’s “ideology” that they did in excessive school. And pupil wings of Islamist parties—particularly the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba—threaten revolutionary discourse on many college campuses. The purpose is to disrupt cultural events and prevent significant debate.

Pakistan has visible violence on its college campuses. Twelve months ago, a mob of students at Abdul Wali Khan University beat fellow student Mashal Khan to demise on prices of blasphemy, armed with a militant spiritual zeal—and a preference to take Pakistan’s legal guidelines in its fingers—that their college schooling changed into not able to decrease.

The tale of Aziz’s radicalization, if in reality true, is instructive. He began displaying a nonsecular zeal simultaneously as at IBA and turning far away from liberal ideas. At college, he wrote about religion and the clash of civilizations. But it became a peer he met at some point during an internship—satirically at a multinational company—who certainly set him on the route to radicalization. He went to Waziristan under his influence, where he seemed to be ideologically and bodily skilled via jihadists. He confessed to being moved by the aid of movies of the struggle of Muslims worldwide, consisting of sectarian violence—part of the terrorist propaganda toolkit.

There are lacking links here. The first is character primarily based. What drove Aziz to the jihadist camp in Waziristan? Researchers have shown that the elements that propelled young people to join al-Qaeda were one or more of the subsequent: a choice for energy or status, for revenge, for identity, or a thrill. Others have counseled a deep alienation, a need for social belonging. We don’t understand what happened in Aziz’s case, but he seems to have had a strong and “normal” family shape around him. He ran his own family’s eating place.

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The 2nd puzzle is why Aziz’s schooling couldn’t counter the propaganda he acquired. After all, no rote-get-to-know-based conservative government curriculum or religious, biased madrassa training would be blamed for susceptibility to militant rhetoric. There is certainly no decision to this apart from to renowned that while on common, the ones educated in the British-based training machine have more tolerant attitudes than those educated in public faculties and madrassas (as Tariq Rahman’s studies show). Aziz became an exception, or his private motivations had been too sturdy and overpowered him in the long run.

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