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Dr. Akmal Hussain
Dated: December 25, 2002


The Editor,
The Daily Times,

Dear Sir,

This is in response to the comment by Mr. Vijay S. from Mumbai, India on my article titled: Terrorism, Democracy and Poverty. Mr. Vijay has descended below the minimum norms of intellectual honesty by claiming that the article is an "attempt to defend terrorism because it has an Islamic tag". Far from defending terrorism the article on the contrary proposes a more efficacious combat strategy. In it, short term military combat against terrorism is combined with a longer-term attempt at addressing the roots of terrorism. These could be located in a sense of political injustice or economic deprivation. While the existing terrorists no matter what their cause need to be fought with military means to-day, terrorism in future needs to be prevented by addressing injustice whether political or economic. It is in the context of this 'preventive diplomacy' that I was arguing the case for a systematic attempt to overcome poverty and strengthen democracy in countries such as Pakistan.

It is obvious that while some terrorists may be affluent, most of the Taliban 'jihadis' were from the poorest sections of society in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Terrorism of course has nothing to do with Islam, whatever the tag propagandists may give to it. As I have argued in the article: Terrorism involves "a psychic disconnection from the wellsprings of universal human brotherhood within the Islamic tradition". The poverty of Mr. Vijay's rejoinder lies in his failure to consider that political injustice whether in Palestine, or Kashmir can induce rage, just as much as in his failure to consider the possibility that wide spread poverty can undermine democracy. My article argued that the war against terrorism not only has a necessary military dimension, but also a political dimension, although the two have differing time scales.

With best wishes and regards,

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Akmal Hussain

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