Stop all nonsense and focus on terrorism! (09-03-2009)

Stop the nonsense please!! This is the message people of Pakistan should give to their political and military leadership. It’s high time that this message should go out loud and clear to all those who matter and are involved in routine politicking. They are not realising the gravity of the situation. How many Swats, how many FATAs, how many Mumbai and Lahore type attacks, how many suicide killings and how much blood of the innocent people would bring them to their senses? That is the question which haunts every person who can see where the country is going.

Everybody is feeling ashamed of the broad daylight attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Our heads hang in shame. Only the other day guests at a wedding bee-lined to apologise to the only Sri Lankan they found attending a wedding in the city. News papers are full of letters to editor and TV channels are loaded with the tickers in which the common man of Pakistan is expressing his disgust over the incident. Genuine questions are being raised on the security lapses. The Sri Lankan team and government must be shocked to read reports that there were civil and military intelligence reports forewarning a RAW engineered attack on the team. They have the right to ask us that if we knew about the threat way back in January then why the hell did we not share this information with them. Indeed, this is not cricket. People are asking whether these reports are genuine or inspired to shift the blame on the Indians and get even with them for their allegations on Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks?

On the other hand nobody in the government is accepting that there was a security lapse and has resigned from their position. Grace is in dearth in this country anyway. On the contrary the whole government is busy in trying to knock-together a sham majority in the Punjab Assembly to make the government. Wait a minute; the irony is that the opposition is also trying to use the Lahore tragedy to score points against the government.

And lo and behold, the opposition parties want to carry on with the long march and indefinite sit-in for the restoration of the CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry and a couple of judges. Their demand is just but timing and tactics is not right. They should realise that the country is going through a serious insurgency. What could be more alarming then reports that our army has to take permission from the likes of Fazlullah in Swat before moving from one place to another, while Taliban rule with impunity. What could be more upsetting than that the terrorists can strike in any city of the country? What could be more disturbing that everyday scores of people are killed in internal skirmishes? What could be more than that the whole world is warning us to close the militants’ training center in Pakistan? What could be more dangerous than that Pakistan has been hyphenated with Afghanistan by the Americans? What could be more pre-monishing than that the war in Afghanistan is going to escalate in the coming months and is bound to spill over with increased intensity into Pakistan? And this is taking its toll on the economy which needs the stability to recover from the present dire condition, something which is an immediate concern of the common man of Pakistan.

The opposition should fight out on the political issues remaining within the democratic norms in the Assembly and not on the street. Agreed that holding rallies and processions is part of the democratic norm, but at this juncture there is always a danger of the militants exploiting the opportunity. All they have to do is to start the fire and then the police would go wild, whether they are ordered to do so or not by the high ups. We have seen many rallies where only a handful of people can convert a peaceful rally into a violent battle field.

Having said that I think the greater responsibility is on President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani. They have imposed the Governor’s rule in Punjab which should be withdrawn and the majority party should be allowed to form the Punjab government. They should settle the issue of judges and announce who would be the next Chief Justice if CJP Iftikhar is not acceptable to them. If they are afraid that Iftikhar would undo the NRO, they should work out a deal with Mian Nawaz Sharif to pass a bill in the assembly giving legal cover to the much cherished law.

Both the opposition and the government should give top priority: to combating terrorism in the country; to restraining all Jihadi organisations from interfering in our neighbours’ affairs; to dismantling the Jihadi organisations as no country can afford to have private armies, period.

We have seen what this policy of nurturing militant Islamic organisations has done to the country. Today our children are ashamed and terrorized to live in the country. Nobody wants to visit Pakistan. Those who dare have to pay a much higher insurance and are discouraged by their family and friends. We are fast becoming a pariah of the world, if we are not one already. Please focus single-mindedly on these issues first. Rest we can handle once the precariously ill Pakistan is out of the ICU and its security and economic condition is stablised. There is a right time for everything. Get your priorities right or else history will not forgive the present political and military leadership. (ayazbabar@gmail.com Blog: babarayaz.wordpress.com)

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