It is great to see the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) expanding its scope to the online sphere and charging three individuals under the anti-terrorism law for their hate speech and instigation of violence online. The authorities in Pakistan have taken some time to adjust to the digitalisation of the society. This provided space to many extremist organisations, which can no longer explicitly function on ground, to spread their message, recruit activists, and increase follower base by using social media. Social media has given access to a large community of people to connect with people of the same beliefs and radicalism finds its roots in the social structure of the society.

It was important to curb online radicalism as efforts are being made to reduce it on ground as well. The FATF investigation team has already left unsatisfied with Pakistan’s attempt to tighten terrorism financing routes. Branching out to the internet means the authorities now realise the pace at which the society is growing and the need to keep pace with these advancements to be one step ahead of the outlaws. The three individuals caught by the FIA work for banned organisations and these organisations and their narrative now needs to be eradicated in order to make amends and fix our global diplomatic standing.

Now the focus should be on increasing the pace for these prosecutions. A year to investigate three individuals means that there is room for improvement. The network of institutions involved should be efficient to find patterns and identify individuals behind these acts, so that, if not all, most of them understand that there is absolutely no space for radicalism in Pakistan anymore. The country is venturing into several international projects - the materialisation of which depends heavily on the stability in the country.