Govt to stop referring Pak as `frontline state` in terror war

The phrase gained currency after Pakistan joined US-led war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Islamabad: Seeking an image makeover, the
Pakistan government has decided to stop referring to the
country as a "frontline state in the war against terrorism" as
it does not want to be perceived as the epicentre of the
menace, according to a media report Thursday.

"Descriptions like frontline state in war against
terrorism overcast the country`s positivities. Therefore, we
are doing away with this phrase," a senior security official
was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

The phrase is "misleading" and creates an impression
that the problem of terrorism is specific to this region,
something which contradicts Pakistan`s position that it is a
global phenomenon, the unnamed official said.

"We don`t want to be seen as the epicentre of
terrorism anymore," the official said.

The phrase gained currency after Pakistan joined the
US-led war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Top Pakistani leaders, including the President and the
Prime Minister, frequently refer to the country as a
"frontline state" in the campaign against terrorism in their
public speeches.

The report said that though the regime of military
ruler Pervez Musharraf and the current Pakistan People`s
Party-led government had kept flaunting Pakistan`s sacrifices
by portraying the country as the frontline state, there was
"an acknowledgment in the government circles that the label
has cost it dearly".

According to government estimates, Pakistan lost
almost USD 50 billion over the past 10 years and thousands of
civilians and security personnel have been killed or maimed
for life.

"Instability, a shrinking economy, currency
devaluation, massive internal security expenses and loss of
investment and export markets are just some of the
manifestations of the debilitating effects this phrase and the
country’s alliance with the West has caused," the report said.

On the other hand, Western governments have been
continuously "suggesting that Pakistan has benefited from its
role as the frontline state through international aid and
rescheduling of its debt".

The official said the shift did not symbolise a
"dilution of the country`s commitment to counter-terrorism

Rising extremism and radicalisation of society are
emerging as a bigger threat, he said.

The reaction to Governor Salman Taseer`s assassination
has exposed "how precarious the situation was", he said.

"We may handle violence by resorting to force, but
extremism is a state of mind that cannot be addressed by such
means," he said.