We must take encouragement from the great progress we have made since the Holey Artisan attack in 2016
While South Asia has been the region hardest hit by terrorism for the second year in a row, it is encouraging to see that Bangladesh is the most successful South Asian country in countering the impacts of terrorism, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2020.
Bangladesh ranked 33rd out of 163 countries, significantly ahead of our neighbours Pakistan and India, at seven and eight respectively, with Afghanistan ranked as being the nation worst-hit by terrorist activity.
Bangladesh’s success in this regard is no doubt a result of the current government’s adherence to the principles of democracy, secularism, and tolerance, and its hardline approach against militancy, resulting in a zero-tolerance policy with the aim of pulling out the weeds of terrorism from the roots.
One of the most impactful actions taken by the government has been to recognize that terrorism and militancy cannot be fought through brute force alone: Through programs which recognize the seeds of militancy and pro-actively target at-risk youths, Bangladesh has made steady yet significant progress, improving its position year after year, having been 25th in 2018.
However, it would be a mistake to look at the situation with rose-tinted glasses. Bangladesh’s score of 4.909 in the Index suggests that the impact of terrorism in the country has been “moderate,” and its ranking at 33 means that there is still a long way for us to go in terms truly eliminating the threat of terror in our nation, once and for all.
We must take encouragement from the great progress we have made since the Holey Artisan attack in 2016, congratulate the brave men and women who have stood and fought against terrorists and militants and, most importantly, continue to remain vigilant against such behaviour in the future.
It is only through an unshakeable commitment to the cause that we can truly create a nation that is safe -- for our citizens, and for generations yet to come.