Around more than forty years ago, tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas, was a small boarding school run by Irish nuns. It housed boys from the upper middle class, while some were from the landed and very influential families. Most were Pushto speaking Pathans from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The school was till 7th grade. Being a boarding school, the children had intense interaction twenty-four hours a day for most part of the year. The boys were a rowdy lot. At such a tender age, the animal instinct ever so prevalent in medieval times, to dominate through superior physical strength, was the order of the day. A boy who was perceived to be physically stronger would give protection to and operate with the assistance of a small group of all too compliant peers. This gang would bully the others into subservience, help in keeping order in dormitories, collect almost 50 percent of the weekly pocket money received by students as protection money and instil fear so that no one would report to the nuns. Such was the awe of this gang that even the nuns would, most of the time, look the other way. This is the story of grade seven students in the formative years of their lives. Perceive them as adults with the same mindset, crystallised It is a bone-chilling realisation. These are a set of boys who are now adults belonging to the educated cream of Pakistan society who have practised the art of domination since childhood through instilling "fear" by using "terror" as a tool. Now imagine male adults from the deprived sections of the society hailing primarily from the Pushto speaking belt of Pakistan, who have been educated in Religious madrassas instead of English medium schools run by Irish nuns and their followers, semi or uneducated youth, willing to lay down their lives ostensibly for upholding Islam. These are the Pakistani Taliban. When the vanquished Russians left Afghanistan in February 1989, US having achieved its objective, abandoned Afghanistan and Pakistan to their fate and allowed Afghanistan to fall into the hands of the war hardened Afghan Taliban who had been trained and indoctrinated in jihad jointly by ISI (Pakistan army secret service) and CIA (US secret service). To obtain compliance from their subjects the Taliban resorted to "terror". To instil fear they blew up hundreds of years old statues of Buddha, a reflection of their resolve to establish an Islamic State, publicly executed men and women for alleged sex offences, blew up houses of supposed informers, girls were prohibited from working or attending schools etc. Soon the Taliban prevailed. They succeeded in controlling most of Afghanistan. By instilling "fear" through "terror" the Taliban ruled Afghanistan largely condoned by the West. Terror as a "tool" had won the day. It was all-good until 9/11, 2001. Political parties in some Third World countries are known to use torture, kidnappings and killings as a weapon to obtain and retain loyalty with great success. May 12, 2007, Karachi killings that turned up a body bag of fifty is a case in point. What can be more lethal than a gang turned political? Terror has carried the day. Small groups and rogue countries have been using "terror" to varying degrees but with the same purpose, to instil fear. Five million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis during the holocaust. Israel continues a policy of occupation and the use of brute force coupled with economic strangulation of the Palestinians. In 1971 Pakistan army killed more than 1,500,000 fellow countrymen and raped more than 300,000 girls and women aged between 8 and 70 in East Pakistan. The most high profile act of terror of modern times has been the Al-Qaeda attack on the twin towers of the world trade centre in the US on September 11, 2001.The story of terror goes on. US propped dictatorships have and continue to dot the globe. These dictatorships have in turn unleashed terror of moderate to unimaginable proportions on their own population for which US bears direct responsibility. This is terror through proxy which has carried the day. Feudals, sardars, jagirdars, khans and big land lords go to lengths to ensure that their subjects do not get proper education and are thus forever dependent on them. They operate private jails, consider their workers as chattel and quite often as bonded labour and use their women for personal pleasure at will. This is terror at its meanest and has been used as a tool with great success in the subcontinent for centuries. Modern instruments of terror have gone much beyond the gun slinging ways of brute force. They are subtle and benign to the untrained eye but are much more lethal with lasting effects. Economic strangulation, through the combined use of tariffs, trade embargo's and financial arm twisting by using the platforms of WTO, United Nations, World Bank etc. is used as a tool to prevail with great success. The world over and since always, "terror is a recognised tool to instil fear." The earlier we come to terms with this reality, the sooner we would be better equipped to deal with the phenomenon. E-mail: