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Al-Qaeda and Militancy- Lecture by Jason Burke

30 Apr

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS), University of the Punjab, arranged an interactive session with Jason Burke (South Asia correspondent for Guardian and The Observer). The discussion revolved around the evolution of Al-Qaeda, 9/11 terror attacks and the impact of militancy on the upcoming general elections in Pakistan.

Jason Burke-pcx

Jason Burke has been covering issues pertaining to extremism and militancy since 1990. He told the students about the birth of Al-Qaeda back in 1988 and opined that militancy had been fomenting in various parts of the world even before the existence of Al-Qaeda. According to Burke, 9/11 terror attacks marked the climax of Al-Qaeda’s capability. He was of the view that the West had poor understanding of Al-Qaeda’s linkages with other militant groups and the fact that none of the militant groups ever swore allegiance to Al-Qaeda. “The attack on the World Trade Center, targeted America, specifically, but had a global impact. The campaign initiated by Osama Bin Laden was fostered by Bush administration through the Iraq invasion in 2003”, said Burke. He explained to the the students and faculty members of Behavioural and Social Sciences that attacks of this nature compel people to make a choice. Osama Bin Laden wanted to unite the strands of militancy against the U.S in the wake of 9/11 attacks. He labeled this as a mass scale clash of ideologies, proliferating mass violence. However, as per his views, violence no more prevailed through global collaborations, but it was relatively localized now.

Regarding the upcoming elections in 2013, which Burke intends to cover as a correspondent, he held the opinion that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) might threaten the elections by claiming that they are being held in line with global ideals of democracy or secularism.

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