Pakistan not to call itself `frontline state` in terror war

Pakistan had acquired the tag soon after 9/11 attacks in US.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 13:47 PM IST

Islamabad: Islamabad has decided to drop the phrase "frontline state in war against terrorism”, frequently used by officials to highlight Pakistan`s role against terror, as it was not serving the country`s interest, an official said.

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

He said the "frontline..." phrase was misleading as it created an impression that the problem of terrorism was specific to this region and it contradicts Pakistan`s position that it is a global phenomenon.”

"We don`t want to be seen as the epicentre of terrorism any more."

Pakistan had acquired the tag soon after 9/11 attacks in US.

Though successive governments have flaunted the sacrifices made during the terror conflicts by portraying it as the frontline state in the anti-terror war, there is an opinion in the government that the label has cost it dearly.

The country has lost almost USD 50 billion over the past 10 years, and thousands of civilians and security personnel have been killed or seriously injured, according to government estimates.

The media report said that instability, a shrinking economy, currency devaluation, massive internal security expenses and loss of investment and export markets are some of the manifestations of the adverse impacts.

The West, however, has maintained that Pakistan has benefited from its role as the frontline state through international aid and rescheduling of its debt.

The senior official said that the dropping of the phrase does not symbolise dilution of the country`s commitment to counter-terrorism efforts.

He stressed that rising extremism and radicalisation of society was emerging as a bigger threat and the reaction to Governor Salman Taseer`s killing earlier this month has laid bare how precarious the situation was.

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

The official added that that formulations like war on terror oversimplified the problem, but it neither offered correct diagnosis nor the right prescription.

"We are determined to get out of this paradigm of negativities.”

"We intend to give a new image to the country by giving more emphasis on economic development and highlighting the country`s inherent strength," he said.

Another senior official said that the government felt that its strategic priority should be development.

IANS