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An evaluation of anti-terrorism laws in Pakistan: Lessons from the past and challenges for the future


[ 1 ] Nadira Hassan Law Department

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2022 | Journal volume: vol. 38 | Journal number: no. 2

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Counterterrorism
  • International security
  • Law
  • National security
  • Pakistan
  • Terrorism

EN Terrorism has changed the national and international security milieu over the last few years; however, there have been metamorphoses in the phenomenon of defining security in light of new threats of terrorism. This research critically evaluates the anti-terrorism legal regime of Pakistan along with its structural flaws. While vigorous efforts to defeat terrorism have taken place in Pakistan, much needs to be done to achieve de-radicalisation along with identifying and addressing areas of vulnerability. This research moves in three directions: firstly, it looks into the background of extremism in terms of ethnic and sectarian conflicts that led Pakistan to embark on the journey to combat terrorism; secondly, it evaluates how these laws aimed exclusively at countering terrorism have not been as effective as hoped; and thirdly, it offers an in-depth analysis of flaws in the judicial system and analysis of capacity gaps in relation to prosecution of terrorist offences in Pakistan. Lastly, this research makes recommendations for eliminating the causes of institutional and legal inefficiencies that feed and nurture terrorism in Pakistan. The qualitative method is used in this research, which holds that Pakistan needs to make effective structural changes to implement counterterrorism strategies constructively, such as, capacity-building of judiciary and law enforcement agencies, acceptance of innovation in investigation methods, amendments in procedural laws and comprehensive, unambiguous and detailed legislation. Amendments to existing anti-terrorism laws need to be adapted to the changing security trends in the region. In order to combat the high rate of acquittal under these laws, a strong and focused

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

16 - 30




License type

CC BY (attribution alone)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

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