The Difa-e-Pakistan Council created quite a scene with its “Death to America" Rally in Islamabad on Monday despite government’s orders to arrest its leadership. A day earlier, the DPC demanded the resignation of Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, accusing him of being a "lackey" who has compromised national interest by restoring Nato supplies, without a national consensus or parliament’s decision.
The news of the ‘aerial route’ was revealed albeit casually by Ambassador Munter and our Defence Minister meekly endorsed it a week later. The people of Pakistan were asked to believe that the motivation was humanitarian grounds, which is totally farcical. Also they intended the public to believe that the aerial route was innocuous, since it was carrying only perishable items. These gimmicks have not diverted from public memory the horrors of the Salalah attack. There has been no formal apology. The drone strikes have resumed, this time killing a greater number of people in every attack. Since Mr Mukhtar holds the defence portfolio he ought to have looked after aforementioned issues.
As things stand, Mr Mukhtar might be a pawn in the game given his own blunt and at times humble statements in the recent past suggesting that it is the army that calls the shots. And in fact it is an open secret that as of now it is the troika that rules the roost. But Mr Mukhtar’s undoing is that he has been acting as if he lacks the acumen to at least be able to show that he is in the saddle of his own ministry. The DPC’s criticism aside, as a member of government, Mr Mukhtar ought to be the one representing the people he represents, instead of leaving the job to the DPC , who are not represented on any political platform as yet. He ought to have told the nation straightforwardly that he and not anyone else was responsible for the restoring the supplies, and if the reverse was true than he had better step down. This would prevent the unrest that is most likely to brew on the streets owing to his complacency in ensuring the goods’ embargo until a verdict from the parliament.
DPC may not be a flash in the pan whose tremors will fade away anytime soon. It can become a problem for the troika as well as the government if the current American policies continue in violation of our sovereignty. Keeping in view rampant poverty and the worsening law and order situation, those in the vanguard of Monday’s rally can also easily tap into growing despondency and aversion for the rulers. Instead of warning of arrest and intimidation, the government must take the matter of Nato’s supply to the parliament and immediately stop the aerial route.