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Militancy in Pakistan through Constructivist’s Lens

By:Shahid Ahmed Afridi

Despite the ostensible relevance of the realist context to South Asia, nonetheless,
a profound analysis by post-positivist critiques of mainstream international
Relations (IR) highlight the epistemological, ontological, and methodological
flaws innate in the rationalist theories (including realism) that have
conventionally controlled the arena. The critiques of main IR theories vis-à-vis
the nature of irregular warfare, apply nowhere more penetratingly than South
Asian region such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and India where the non-state actors
lay more focus on ideational forces to express their strength, instead of material
forces of power and war. Constructivism underlines the prominence of identity,
ideas, religion, history, culture, inter subjective connotations and it provides
immense value to understand and analyze the violent extremism related to nonstate actors. Moreover, Pakistan is suffering the worst kind of terrorism and
insurgency especially since 9/11. This insurgency has undeniable linkages with
trans frontier global militants’ networks; thus making it exceedingly difficult to
counter. On one side, Pakistan is upfront the terror groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and on the other side US expects Pakistan to act more
aggressively against the Afghan Taliban and Haqqany network. The phenomena
require distinct social construct to tackle the issue of internal security vis-v-vis
the international community’s concerns. This paper will challenge dominant
rationalist/realist frameworks and incorporate constructivist insights and
explain the enduring conflict with reference to the ‘intangible’ forces that give the
material face of the conflict meaning.