|Countering Terrorism in Bangladesh
edited by Farooq Sobhan
ISBN 984 70220 0002 8 2008 296pp 215x136mm HB Tk.500.00 US$27.00
Terrorism in Bangladesh may be a recent phenomenon but the speed and spread of its effective coverage over the past decade has left experts in Bangladesh aghast with consternation. Over the past six years, terrorism in Bangladesh displayed certain patterns and underwent several points of graduation to higher degree in terms of lethality and public concern, clarity of political goals of the terrorists and of their motivation and commitment.
Combating terrorism has two facets: antiterrorism (defensive measures) and counterterrorism (offensive measures). Antiterrorism is defined as “defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of the life of individuals and of property to terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by local military forces.” Counterterrorism involves those offensive measures taken to prevent, deter and respond to terrorism.
Some experts suggest, total mobilization of the whole society for preventing terrorism. Assuming that prevailing terrorism is largely home grown, there should not be any let up in monitoring possibilities of an oncoming terrorist act. Also there cannot be any substitute for revamping the capacity of the law enforcing agencies for combating terrorism.
Awareness building, mobilisation of public opinion and providing intellectual input towards developing a strategy for countering terrorism in Bangladesh are sine qua non for developing a comprehensive strategy of combating terrorism. With this end in view, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) organised a seminar on 23-24 December 2006 with the participation of scholars, academicians, security experts and practitioners, and media members from across the country to examine the problem of religious militancy and leftist extremism to develop a strategy to counter-terrorism in Bangladesh.
Shrinking of democratic space not only promotes terrorism, it reduces space for anti-terrorism discourse. The present volume with a comprehensive coverage of diverse issues provides a refreshing departure. It is rich in policy relevant inputs. It also opens up discursive fronts for future dialogue and intensive planning. The value of the present work lies precisely there. The book is an essential read for persons dealing with terrorism.
Farooq Sobhan is President and Chief Executive of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI). He completed an illustrious diplomat career in the Bangladesh Foreign Service during which he had been Foreign Secretary (1995-97) and headed several United Nations Commissions and Bodies. He was Executive Chairman, Board of Investment and Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh 1997-1999. Sobhan is a Member of the International Research Committee of the Centre for Security Studies, Colombo. He is a Member of the Board of Governors of the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS), Dhaka. He was visiting professor at George Washington University in 2003 where he taught two post graduate courses. He has written extensively on regional cooperation in South Asia and is currently involved in a number of initiatives in the region.