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Deradicalization

Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) started a comprehensive Deradicalization Program in 2007 that still continues. The program includes empirical and theoretical research on radicalization and the concomitant phenomena; counter-radicalization and deradicalization in Pakistan’s context; sharing of knowledge and best practices with Pakistani and international scholars; and implementation of viable interventions for counter-radicalization in Pakistan.

A brief description of PIPS’ work on radicalization and deradicalization includes the following:


    A. Expanding the Empirical Research Base
  • Since 2007, PIPS has conducted several research studies and surveys and published their outcomes in different issues of its quarterly research journal Conflict and Peace Studies.
  • In its study of radicalization, PIPS has mainly focused on Pakistani society, youth, state structure, Pakistani Diaspora in the United Kingdom and mainstream and militants’ media in the historical, politico-ideological, religious and sociocultural perspectives.
  • PIPS conducted a comprehensive survey in 2009-10 to understand the trends, levels and impact of radicalization in Pakistan at the societal level, a similar survey with educated youth in 2010, and another survey with intellectuals and academics in 2010 with the same aim.

    B. Experience Sharing and Policy Advocacy
  • PIPS held as many as 13 in-house sessions with prominent scholars, academics and experts in the years 2008 and 2009 in order to understand the phenomenon of radicalization in Pakistan’s context.
  • The Institute organized an international seminar titled Countering Extremism: Strategies and Sharing Best Practices in collaboration with Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, on May 4-5, 2009. Research analysts, academics, and scholars from various countries including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia, Norway and Pakistan attended the seminar.
  • PIPS and United States Institute of Peace (USIP) organized a one-day seminar on ‘Counter-radicalization Strategies’ in Islamabad on August 4, 2010.

    C. Counter-radicalization Interventions
  • The Institute launched an “Awareness Campaign for Peace” in 2008 that included engagement of moderate Islamic scholars in generating counter-extremism responses; partnership with media and academia to better understand the issue and create awareness about it; and an FM radio awareness campaign for peace across Pakistan.
  • In 2010, PIPS produced and launched another FM radio campaign in collaboration with The Karwan-e-Aman that included 36 talk shows, radio dramas and features in national and regional languages meant to promote peace, tolerance and harmony in society.
  • In 2008-09, PIPS held five workshops with journalists in various cities to train them in how they could utilize the elements of progressive journalism for promoting peace and countering radicalization in society.

    D. PIPS Partnership with Religious Scholars to Promote Peace and Harmony in Society

In 2011, PIPS once again systematically engaged the religious scholars for promotion of peaceful, tolerant and harmonious values in society, but this time at a larger scale. The first term of the program (May 2011-March 2012) started with a seminar with religious scholars which resulted in the formulation of a comprehensive set of recommendations for engagement of religious scholars for countering radicalization and led to the subsequent implementation of the following three sets of activities.  

  1. Academic/Intellectual Discourse: Three sessions of deliberations were organised among religious scholars on the key questions of Takfeer and Khurooj, concepts that militants use to justify their violent actions.
  2. Capacity Building/Awareness: Three training workshops with madrassa students and teachers; prize distribution among position holder madrassa graduates; distribution of awareness literature among madrassa students/teachers; and an FM radio awareness campaign through dialogue among religious and secular scholars on issues related to peace and harmony.
  3. Advocacy: Production, publication and dissemination of counter-extremism literature in the print and electronic forms.

The second phase of the PIPS partnership with religious scholars started in April 2012. Besides implementing some of the activities similar to the ones cited above, a scholars’ exchange program was initiated which is described below:

  • A delegation of 12 leading Pakistani religious scholars went to Jakarta, Indonesia for a three-day study tour (June 24-26) and participated in a seminar held at Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah that facilitated their interaction with prominent Indonesian religious scholars, intellectuals and representative of Islamic institutions. The delegation also visited various institutions of Islamic education and exchanged views with scholars and students there.
  • Islamic scholars from several Muslim-majority countries attended a similar seminar organised by PIPS in Islamabad in September 2012 and visited different madrassas in the main Pakistani cities.


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