AUGUST 17 was the 9th anniversary of the countrywide bomb attack that proclaimed the existence of the religious extremists. We are happy that there has not been any major terrorist activity since August 2004 and much of the credit must go to the proactive measures adopted by the law enforcing agencies, particularly Rab, for anticipating their plans and making timely arrests of members of the extremist groups.
However, that is no reason for the government or the other relevant agencies to be complacent. Arrest of a large number of extremist cadres is an indication that their numbers are not dwindling, and the attack on a police van and snatching away of three high profile JMB members in February this year is also a clear indication that they are not inactive. And this has been amply brought out in the media reports yesterday which confirm the fact that they are not only regrouping but also recruiting new members. And this is what begs the question.
While the state has been relatively successful in anti-extremist actions, much needs to be done as far as countering the extremist strategy. And unless there is a comprehensive action plan we are afraid it would be difficult to foil their efforts to motivate and recruit new members.
And while we want to impress upon the government that formulation and implementation of a long-term policy is long overdue, we would like to impress on the policy makers to take into consideration the important role of the media in this effort.