Thursday, September 19, 2013

Terrorism and Nawaz Sharif

I never agreed but those who believed that Nawaz Sharif has learnt from his previous mistakes and now he is a ‘new ‘Nawaz Sharif were right.

Yes he has learnt from his mistakes and that is why he is appeasing all the powers-that-matter. Be it Judiciary, military read intelligence agencies, TTP, Media, India, America. He has learnt the art of ‘survival’. He knows really well the consequences of antagonising these powers, and now he is pursuing ‘responsible’ and ‘mature’ politics.

He started his mature and responsible politics from his home, by bringing forth Maryam Nawaz Sharif instead of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari of PML (N), Captain Safdar. He also takes both his sons, Hussain Nawaz on foreign tours and make it a point to introduce them to the head of states.

So he is a successful politician now. And hopefully he will complete his five years term. And I am confident that he will also win next elections. As there is hardly any other ‘mature and responsible politician’ in this land of pure who can satisfy all these stake-holders. So they all will try to bring him back to power as they did this time around and succeeded.

Nawaz Sharif and his mentors may be successful in gaining power but I have serious doubts that this will change the fate of ordinary folks in Pakistan. . So far there is hardly any visible change for men in the street, rather for them life has become even more hard. Dolor has crossed 100 rupee mark, prices of commodities of daily use, are at all time high, and security situation has become worsened.

The most serious problem that is shaking the very foundations of the state is terrorism. It is going on in Pakistan for quite some time now, but it is quite intriguing that subsequent government has not yet come up with a clear cut strategy to counter terrorism. Even this government is not doing much about it. It looks that government has not been allowed to do anything about it, or should I say, this is such a sensitive issue that government itself is avoiding it as per its appeasing policy. Ever since the government assumed power we have been hearing about a new counter terrorism strategy but nothing has come up yet.

Government announced to hold All Parties Conference over terrorism. But later on it backed out after the demand of Imran khan to hold a meeting before this APC among Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Army Chief. Leaving politics aside, I do not think that it was such a bad idea. This matter is so sensitive that it cannot be discussed openly. The government could have invited some more people in that meeting as well, as it does not want to give Imran Khan much importance. But it should not abandoned it at all, as it is the matter of the very survival of the country, politics over this issue is not going to take us anywhere

The current wave of terrorism started in Musharraf’s era and is still continued unabated. Previous government neither had the capacity nor the vision to do anything about it.
Before general elections, people of Pakistan had high expectations of Nawaz Sharif and Imran khan as they were fed up with the insecurity and other problems.

However things have not improved yet. There is no letup in the terrorism activities; rather TTP and other terrorist organizations have stepped up their attacks. In Baluchistan particularly ever since the new government led by a nationalist Bloch leader assumed power, situation has really deteriorated over there.

It is too early to dub PML (N) and PTI as failure; however they still enjoy the support and confidence of people. So they should take terrorism as their top priority and do something about it on war footing. And perhaps negotiation is still the most viable options. There is no doubt that after the killing of some senior Taliban commanders, TTP has been weakened and there are reports about the differences within its ranks. Still TTP is potent enough to carry out suicidal attacks all over Pakistan.

Just before general elections, TTP has offered to hold negotiations with the government to end its activities but later on, it withdrew its offer after what it described as the lukewarm and deceitful attitude of the government. But that offer was too late as elections were quite near and it was not possible to hold negotiations at that time. Nevertheless the interesting thing is that Taliban had nominated Nawaz Sharif and Syed Munawwar Hussain as mediator or guarantor between government and Taliban, and now both JI and PML (N) are in government. JI is ruling in KPK along with PTI and PML in Punjab, Baluchistan and centre. So it should not be too much difficult for them to break the ice.TTP has once again offered negotiation, I think we should not waste this opportunity.

Drone attacks have helped TTP to recruits new suicidal attackers and gain some sympathy as well. Both Nawaz Sharif and Imran khan has criticized drone attacks in the past. However drone attacks are still continued. Drone attacks are no doubt a main source of fuelling anti-government sentiments, due to its collateral damage. But it is also a fact that some top ranking Taliban leader has been killed by drone attacks. It is a good sign that American Secretary of State, John Kerry in his visit to Pakistan has announced that Drone Attacks will end very soon.

Over the years, people of Pakistan have suffered a lot due to terrorism. If we really want to make Pakistan a viable state, then a comprehensive anti-terrorism policy should be evolved, by taking into confidence all the major political parties and civil society. This is perhaps the last chance for PML (N), if it failed to deliver, its fate would not be different from the fate of PPP.

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