Issue Brief on “On Campus Extremists”

The failed attempt to kill an important MQM leader in Karachi on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, September 2, 2017, attracted much media attention partly because the planners and attackers had an association with an Al-Qaeda inspired group Ansarul Sharia Pakistan (ASP).[1] The exact date of formation of this militant outfit in Pakistan is not known, but this outfit is comprised of thirteen highly educated and technologically equipped militants which shows that it organized itself in the past few months.[2]

The phenomenon of extremism on campus is far more complex and deep-rooted in Pakistan than it is usually perceived. The hype created by media about the educated terrorists of the Ansarul Sharia group in Karachi give the impression that the universities in Pakistan are one of the soft breeding grounds to promote violent extremism. This interpretation by media is simplistic in nature as it ignores the complexity of the situation. The extremist elements in any society are common in all segments of society irrespective of their socioeconomic status and educational backgrounds.

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