Terrorism and Social Class
Pakistan is facing the menace of terrorism. Thousands of civilians and army personnel have sacrificed their lives. In many parts of the country terrorism related operations are continuing. This war has promoted a national consensus against the terrorists. But, it has the social stratification is playing a major part in the nation building.
Few years ago, ‘Pathans’ were supposed to be terrorists. They were stereotyped to be terrorists and huge focus was put on their activities. It invited much criticism.
Then a time came when those with beards were seen as suspicious; it still is. They were stereotyped as terrorists because of their beard.
But, another trends has been seen that has nothing to do with the religion, it is related to your economic condition. Many people who are believed to be powerful are less suspected while the middle or lower class people are considered more inclined towards terrorism. It can be seen in many cities of Pakistan.
It can be seen widely in Punjab and especially Lahore where police has arranged barriers to check citizens. These barriers can be seen on the many places of the city. The presence of these barriers is good from the security purpose, but the attitude of barrier holder tells another story. It can be seen that most of the time people on bikes and other smaller vehicles are stopped, while peoples having big cars are let go.
It arises many questions.
- Do terrorists belong only to lower and middle classes?
- Do they not have enough resources to arrange big vehicles for them?
- Is there any survey which has proved that terrorists belong only to lower classes?
- Is it a good practice to stereotype people on the basis of their social status?
These are some of the questions we need to answer in order to define what is right and wrong.
This approach just reflects how deeply rooted caste system is in our minds. It shows how a complex system of social stratification exists in our society.
When will a time come when we will be able to adopt a cohesive strategy that does not differentiate the peoples on the basis of their social class or stereotype them on many other factors? We need a plan of action that works to demystify many forces behind terrorism. It is important to keep from stereotyping on the basis of vague information.