Homegrown attacks have decreased in Pakistan for the last few years. It is mainly because of the operation “Zarb-e-Azb” that was carried on after the terrorist attack in a school in Peshawar resulting in the loss of 148 lives on December 16th, 2014. However, terrorism is a menace that does not see the limits of time. It can increase its magnitude at any time if the ideology is prevailing and the terrorists have the means to create mischief in the land. After 9/11, Pakistan changed its foreign policy and became an ally of the US and a foe to the Taliban. It suffered from fatal extremism in the last two decades. A number of violent organizations are present in the country that operate differently but their ideologies have blurred boundaries. Pakistan Taliban or Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TPP) is the biggest threat to the state as it wants to uproot democracy and install a self-hypothesized sharia – that according to some moderate clerics has nothing to do with Islam. Islamic fundamentalism surged after the 9/11 attacks. Four airplanes were hijacked on November 11th, 2001 and two of them struck the World Trade Towers in New York City and the third hit the Pentagon while the fourth was overcome by the passengers before it could presumably hit the White House. The world changed altogether after these attacks in which three thousand lives were lost. A wave of counter terrorism began afterwards. Militant non-state actors became the focus of attention.United States Congress hurriedly passed the Authorization of Use of Military Force to fight the terrorism. Iraq was the first target for it allegedly had weapons of mass destruction which later proved to be a hoax. Afghanistan was next where the Taliban had been old friends of the United States in the cold war. But why did it all start? The answer lies in the fabrication of ideology in Islamic world decades ago. Muslims throughout the world had some grievances that were exploited by the populists such as Usama Bin Laden to garner support from masses. Those who are politically engaged in militancy are generally found to have suffered from these grievances. These are of three major types: First, Muslims have found themselves to be a subject of western intervention in their lands; be it in the form of colonialism or in the post-colonial era. Second, Muslims blame themselves for going away from their Islamic roots and this was exploited by the ideology of Sayyid Qutb and later used by Osama Bin Laden. The third grievance against the west is due to the proliferation of Western ideas and values in Muslim lands that many Muslims find contradictory to Islamic values.These grievances date back to the ideas of Islamic scholar from Egypt, Sayyid Qutb, who personally suffered from racism and was discontented with Western values while he was in the USA. He introduced the concept of Radicalism that Muslims should go back to the era when Islam was introduced in Arabia. According to Sayyid Qutb, the contemporary times were of jahilia and according to him, man-made laws have no place in Islam and he reinterpreted the definition of defensive jihad. According to him, defensive jihad meant to save men from anything that can hinder the rule of the God. And hence, to him, liberty meant the exercise of laws made by God and not by man. Qutb was a leading intellectual in the Brotherhood. His brother, Muhammad Qutb, was a teacher of Bin Laden. After Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Anwar Sadat came into power who continued suppressing the Brotherhood. Moreover, in the middle of 20th century, the policies of USA were skewed towards Israel which was a new state in the heart of Middle East surrounded by Muslim countries and this was not welcomed by them. Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and Golan Heights from Syria as well as Gaza strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem were annexed by Israel after the Six-Day war in 1967. So, the followers of radicalism increased by leaps and bounds. When Anwar Sadat made a peace pact with Menachem Begin at Camp David, he was killed by a fundamentalist. The roots of jihad started to become strong. Amid Iraq-Kuwait war, Saudi Arabia made a defence pact with USA instead of taking assistance from a non-state actor (Bin Laden) and it made Bin Laden furious to see Arabs seeking protection of a holy place from a non-Muslim state. He was jailed and when he came out of prison, a never-ending Jihadi movement was started.Usama Bin Laden used religion for his self-benefit. He used populist rhetoric to gain support from the masses like claiming West to be at war with Islam and Muslims. Since, religious groups are sensitive in this matter, some people found a leader in him to wage a war against the West that was supposedly trying to malign Islam. It must be remembered that jihad was commercialized during the cold war by the support of the USA and Saudi Arabia in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The madrasa curriculum designed by the help of University of Nebraska indoctrinated a considerable amount of the population. A Frankenstein’s monster of extremism had been created which has not been fixed till this day. Radicalization of masses is easy but deradicalization is hardly possible.Next, Bin Laden started to use violence against the West as well as the supporters of Western ideology in the East. According to him, those Muslims that did not follow the self-crafted political Islam of Alqaeda were not true Muslims and hence they must also be violently encountered by Alqaeda. The “us versus them” narrative was heavily exploited by the political Islamists. And since, Alqaeda was fighting against the enemies of Islam according to the proponents of jihad, anyone dying for this cause would be considered a martyred and would be rewarded in afterlife.These things allured many people to join Alqaeda. In places, where social justice was very hard to receive, people were tempted to accept the rule of Alqaeda as it was offering speedy verdicts in the shape of local jirga (though without a proper trial) unlike time taking courts. People got a replica that could provide them with speedy justice. Second, the downtrodden segments of society were the ones that were easily trapped by Alqaeda because they could (falsely) foresee an afterlife promising everything they could dream only. Third, Afghanistan and other countries where Alqaeda had started to develop strong roots had a population that was very much uneducated. Being naive made it easy for Alqaeda to target them and make them influenced by its ideology. Last, Muslims had experienced interventions by the West in their lands. Followers of Bin Laden found a hero in him to emancipate them from Neo-Liberal interventions. In other words, they found one single enemy (USA) to scapegoat for all their misfortunes. The ideology of Alqaeda was flawed but it was not easy to counter it by the moderate Muslims because it promised a reward in the afterlife (that is eternal and what actually matters for the believers), so the accountability remained, and still remains, a hoax. Moreover, there was no counter narrative in the Islamic world to fix the ills propagated by militant wing of political Islamists.Terrorism cannot be eliminated from a society unless the extremist ideology is obliterated. To deradicalize the ones already radicalized and refrain others from becoming a victim of this ideology should be the utmost priority. Whoever dominates the streets has the power to dominate the state one day. If Pakistan has to save itself from becoming Afghanistan, the curriculum taught in schools needs to be updated. Education should not mean indoctrination. The hate speech against other religions should have no place in the textbooks. Extremism in any society cannot be fixed only with military power. It has to be fought on the ideological front too.Abdul Basit writes on sociopolitical issues and International Relations with focus on Foreign Policy and Power Politics.