Cancel all your plans, put on your best outfit and take your family out somewhere nice today. Really, it’s completely safe now. And while you’re at it, look above and thank God for Nisar Ali Khan. It is time to celebrate the latest great news to come out of the mountains in FATA. Cynics have been proven wrong. “Dollar-dependents” have been exposed. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has once again surprised haters by extending the ceasefire. Not just for a few hours or a day as the glass-is-half-empty types would assume and complain about, but for a good long ten days! For those who don’t know better, that’s 14,400 minutes. Now recall how everyone longs for a minute of peace in this country and look at the figure again. There’s that content smile the government works day and night for. Of course, there is this tiny matter of bending over backwards to appease terrorists and mainstreaming their narrative in the process which can potentially have lasting consequences, but that’s all nitty gritty. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Yes, that small one with big written on it and Imran Khan’s signature at the bottom.
So how did Interior Minister Nisar Ali achieve this greatest feat in the history of human civilization? He ordered the release of 16 “non-combatant” prisoners linked with the TTP. Agreed, the TTP didn’t return any non-combatant “combatants” including the notorious guerilla fighters, Haider Gillani and Shahbaz Taseer, or Professor of Darkness Dr. Ajmal Khan, but there is still hope. Nisar could release more prisoners, preferably hardcore combatants this time and request (good manners take you a long way) the TTP to reciprocate. It was only after seeing the news on a foreign media wire that the PM came to know what he didn’t know. So as any responsible PM would, he denied the news right away. That is when Nisar apprised his boss of the minor development and the PM’s Office confirmed the story. Embarrassing? A sign of incoherency? Nonsense. Why bother the PM with routine decisions when Nisar alone can take care of it all? Surely, there are other pressing matters that require the PM’s undivided attention.
Possibly the best thing about not having the answers is that one gets to ask questions: Where do the armed forces stand on this matter? Were they as uninformed and out of the loop as the PM? What other kind of ‘confidence building measures’ can we expect from the government as it attempts to secure another extension when the ceasefire expires in 10 days? Good thing that it has all the time in the world to deliberate.