Terrorism is a menace that has attracted worldwide attention and despite best efforts to control it, no substantial headway has yet been made.
World leaders have shown great concern to tackle this issue, but it has assumed such alarming proportions that it cannot be so easily routed. President Obama is particularly disturbed on this chaotic situation prevailing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he is examining the problem with clinical objectivity. However, he has not reached any final conclusion and there are clear indications that once he takes a decision, then there will be no wavering in his framework. His mode of behaviour is that he religiously follows the position, he takes after full deliberations. In all likelihood, his resolve is uproot terrorism from this region may prove unpleasant for Pakistan. We should be mentally prepared for that. The sad part of the story is that Pakistan, due to its constant faults and failings, has earned such a bad reputation with regard to its policy of dealing with terrorism that it is now being dubbed as the "epicentre of global terrorism." This is, indeed a very disturbing situation and viewed in this context, even our friends have started giving a second thought to the continuation of relations with us. This global concern was very prominently displayed at the 2009-US-India World Forum which was organised by the Washington-based Brookings Institute in Doha recently. Representatives from the Muslim World and the US participated in the deliberations for three days. In the agenda, a number of issues were included but out of all these, Palestine and Terrorism, figured most prominent. These issues, in fact, occupied the centre stage. The focus on Palestine was quite understandable, as it was the burning issue of the day but bracketing Pakistan with global terrorism was surely uncalled for. In this Forum, it was generally observed that expectations raised in the wake of the orderly transition of power in Pakistan could not be translated into reality. This failure was mainly attributed to the weak leadership of Pakistan's political elite. Regrettably, this ruling class of privileged elite could not demonstrate the required degree of maturity and tolerance and subsequently, the failure resulted in the intensification of country's myriad problem. With the passage of time, things marked such a noticeable deterioration that even collapse of institutions, seemed quite imminent. Consequently, terms such as 'disarray', "disintegration" and "collapse" to depict Pakistan's sorry state of affairs. Deterioration in Pakistan's various segments further consolidated the impression that Pakistan's prospects of playing a positive role in the global affairs had grown quite bleak. Pakistan's reputed political analyst, Tariq Fatimi, quotes Thomas Finger, former Chairman National Intelligence Council of the US, as saying that while the Islamic World is generally viewed as a unitary actor, the challenges for the US will not arise one at a time, but escalate simultaneously and exacerbate another. He, further remarks that with regard to South and Central Asia, Dr Thomas Finger cautions that the US efforts to play a leading role will be viewed in the light of a "great game" competition for resources and influences. The report under review alarms our attention to grim dangers posed by the "terrorists" safe havens in Pakistan. These terrorists are continuing their activities in the region along the Afghan/Pakistan borders. No wonder, they will use their skills to support the insurgency in Afghanistan and also make preparations to attack Europeans and American targets. However, the Doha Forum conveys two clear messages. First one is that it is not the US alone that is deeply worried about Pakistan. In fact, this concern is shared by the world over. With regard to Pakistan, things have come to such a pass that even its time-tested friends are loosing patience with it. These friends are at a loss to understand, if it is Pakistan's leadership inability or unwillingness to take on the extremists. Secondly, to produce results, the Obama Administration will devote far more of its resources and energies to the Pak-Afghan region while intensifying its demands. This line of action is inevitable as US expectations are higher and her feats greater. In this context Holbrooke asserts: "The militants involved in 9/11, the Mumbai attacks and the unrest in Swat, have common roots." More significantly, Holbrooke remarks that Pakistani president's anti-terrorist policies are not fully supported by the military and about the Swat deal, the US feels "troubled and confused." All these factors provide a powerful evidence of growing unhappiness in Washington. These are all alarming signals and as such, it is imperative that our leadership properly impresses upon the world leaders that terrorism cannot be countered by force alone. This view is also shared by Obama when he admits that the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the spread of extremism could not be contained by military means alone. To combat this menace, Obama suggests that more effective coordination of US military efforts with diplomatic efforts and effective coordination with its allies could achieve the desired results. Viewing the issue objectively we are convinced that US must adopt the holistic approach by providing massive assistance to its allies coupled with military operations only when urgently required. US must also emphasise the required approach which Obama had followed during his election coup. To cut this story short, the problem of terrorism must be seen in the context of a regional approach. This point was also elaborated by Holbrooke, when he declared to put Afghanistan and Pakistan into larger regional context and then move forward to engage other countries in the efforts to stabilise this incredibly volatile region.