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How to build an effective counter-narrative to extremism in Pakistan?

Confronting Extremism Through Building an Effective Counter-Narrative
This article was originally published in the Development Advocate Pakistan on April 25, 2016.

While Pakistan is using kinetic means to push back terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), it is still struggling to find an antidote to religious extremism and bigotry that provides space for extremist thinking and consequent violence across the country. The ideas of pluralism, religious harmony and openness to diverse political views have slowly given way to narrow mindedness, sectarianism and intolerance. The democratic experience is equipping Pakistan to revive its balance in the socio-political domain, but it is a fact that the social space in the country today is highly contested between extremist and progressive elements of society.

The blame for these trends within the media and policy circles of Pakistan is often directed towards regional confli…