Pakistan lacks strategy to tackle radical Islamists: daily

Pakistan has no coherent strategy to deal with sectarian and radical Islamist groups that practise and preach violent jihad, said a leading daily that warned about "the shrewdness of these outfits".

An editorial in the Dawn Monday said three more religious groups with links to militancy had been banned by the government, taking the total number of proscribed groups in the country to 38.

"But this is no belated move that is worthy of applause, for the experience with the first 35, banned through various notifications since 2001, suggests that simply outlawing groups either pushes them further underground or, as is increasingly the case, the groups resurface with a new name soon enough," it said.

"The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has no coherent strategy to deal with sectarian and radical Islamist outfits that practise and preach violent jihad. Worse, there are more than just lingering suspicions that the state itself helps some of these groups survive," the daily added.

The editorial said that while official tolerance for or indifference towards groups linked to violence in Pakistan is a part of the problem, "there is also the shrewdness of these outfits that has to be contended with".

Citing an example, it said that taking advantage of the devastation caused by floods and rains in Sindh over the last couple of years, religious 'charities’ with "fairly obvious links to militant groups" have leapt into the field and secured a foothold for themselves in new areas.

"...Faced with a canny and cunning foe, the state has much to do to stay one step ahead of these groups," the daily said.

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