Chief of Pak Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that India seemed to have given in to extremism to such an extent that it had become the new normal.
“Hate has been mainstreamed in India and it is distorting their national outlook,” Gen Bajwa said during his address at the Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism seminar held at the General Headquarters.
“The Hindutva extremism of the RSS and their GaoRakshaks, deprivation of Palestinians, the burning and desecration of mosques or gurdwaras in western capitals, the rise of hyper nationalists and the monster of racism, are all manifestations of extremism. We can easily say, it is emerging as a transnational phenomenon hence warranting a transnational, unified response,” the Army chief said.
The COAS emphasised that extremism was not due to any religion or ideology, rather it is a mindset where passion has given way to hate and intolerance of others.
‘Extremism unjustly applied to devout sections of Muslim societies’
Gen Bajwa said that the term ‘extremism’ is often unjustly applied to devout sections of Muslim societies, alienating them in the process.
“Although it is not always out of malice, but misunderstanding; yet it is imperative that we understand extremism in our own context.”
According to the COAS, the western definitions of countering violent extremism were mostly confined to what they call ‘Islamic extremism’.
“It is unfair and dangerous. Unfair, because of its inherent and totally wrong association of extremism with Islam. Dangerous, because it focuses too much attention on Muslim societies and masks the rise of extremism in multiple societies across the world.”
Enemies waging biggest hybrid war
He said the country’s enemies, both state and non-state, are actively pursuing divisive tendencies in the society. “They are waging the biggest and most sustained hybrid war against us from multiple directions and using multiple ways.”
The army chief explained that the country is not only being targeted by terrorists but also spin masters of multiple hostile agencies, trying to subvert our minds, particularly that of our youth.
He said that our homes, educational institutions, including schools, madrassahs and even institutes of higher learning, and media houses are the first line of defence against extremism in the society.
“Being denied opportunities in the mainstream media, they are using faceless platforms on the internet and smart phones,” he said.