Pakistan has been jolted yet again with terrorist attacks on elections campaigns and again during polling. These attacks raised serious questions about ongoing operations against terrorist outfits. These attacks are outrageous, unacceptable, and intolerable for the state and society in Pakistan. The illusion of secure and stable Pakistan has faded away with this massacre. If this is a symbolic expression of resistance by extremist forces, then to what extent and for how long Pakistan is going to face this collateral damage? The scholars and common people are asking whether Pakistan is unable or unwilling to deal with extremist forces? There are many structural contradictions in policy formulation and operationalisation of counter-terrorism strategy in Pakistan. Irrational fundamentalists are overriding the state and society in the country, and our policymakers seem to be playing in the hands of these fanatics. The legal codifications, educational, and academic writings are actually producing and nurturing this extremist mindset at grassroot level in Pakistan. The state of Pakistan has failed to provide a rationale on why radical extremist forces are wrong in implementing Islamic sharia in the country which constitutionalises the very aspiration in its constitution and ordinary laws. The 1973 constitution of Pakistan is a testament to the fact that our state would ultimately modify its existing laws in accordance with Islamic injunctions and it will make all future legislation keeping in mind the spirit of Quran and Sunnah. This encourages religious forces to introduce the orthodox and literal interpretation of sharia laws and Islamic jurisprudence. The half-hearted implementation of NAP has resulted in sporadic but lethal attacks by non-state actors in Pakistan. We have not curbed their support from silent corners The state is apparently either oblivious to or disinterested in all these developments. Pakistan has provided state patronage to the puritanical and orthodox version of Islam. It was not Islamisation but Arabisation of the cultural outlook of Pakistan. Hence, the roots of this attitude emanate from the Pakistani state and its policies towards religious forces. If there is any plausible justification for the emergence of this Frankenstein, Islamist groups have been assets for security establishment and not for political forces. This is not because of ideological commitment towards religion. Rather, they are used as an instrumental tool of statecraft. Ironically, they are ripping the social fabric of Pakistan apart now. We are facing an existential threat in the hands of these enemies of the state, let’s be very clear. The ethnic cleansing of the few segments of society is taking place at the hands of radical extremists through targeted attacks. Also, moderate political voices like PPP and ANP are being silenced or pushed to the wall while Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his aides are becoming favourite children of the decision-making elite. The leadership of these parties and other like-minded groups are sceptical about level playing field available to them. It seems we have not learnt from the history and are ready to make the same old mistakes. We are witnessing a breath-taking display of power politics in Pakistan. Major political forces like Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) have used religious sentiments to their advantage. Imran Khan’s dubious policy towards extremists and his virtual use of religion in politics would only give him a temporary advantage. Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N)is facing the burden of history. Its vote bank was conservative religious forces in Punjab who have tilted in favour of PTI. In the past, PML-N has not come up with crystal clear stance over extremism and terrorism in the country. The half-hearted implementation of National Action Plan has resulted in sporadic but lethal attacks by non-state actors in Pakistan. We have not curbed their support from silent corners. Still, they enjoy implicit, if not explicit, support of a huge segment of our society. The transformation of extremist mindset has not been done as yet. We need a progressive, inclusive and egalitarian Pakistan. We can’t afford totalitarianism and fascist political forces. The Pakistani nation has to be mindful of this fact that united we stand, divided we fall. In the past 70 years, it’s alarming that our leadership has failed to educate the people of Pakistan. The illiteracy and lack of proper awareness in common people have also been a contributing factor in miseries of Pakistan. It’s time to redefine central state paradigm towards terrorist and extremist forces. Political forces and security establishment’s vision of security challenges should converge on this issue at least. The writer is an attorney at law and teaches constitutional law and principles of political science at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad Published in Daily Times, July 27th 2018.