As already pointed out by many writers in this newspaper, the would-be Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on the road to adopting a soft and defensive policy against the terrorists. So, he has ratified the calculation of the experts by endorsing the dialogue with the terrorists as the best course of action to bring terrorism to an end. Eventually, the terrorists, with their destructive and bloody tactics, at last convinced the national leaders that negotiation is a better option. Mr Sharif seems to follow the soft policy, mainly because the fight with terrorists has become costlier and remained abortive to date.

Not too far, given its moderate and uncritical approach to the terrorists, the PML-N, along with the PTI and the JUI, has yielded some benefits during the election campaign. But, on the other hand, having lost nearly 50,000 civilians, 5,000 army soldiers and incurring billion of dollars loss as collateral damage, any country and any leader will bend over backwards to end the war, particularly when the battle shows no signs of an end, much less a victory. The PPP, for the last five years, pursued an offensive policy by launching military operations in Swat, Bajaur and many other areas of tribal region against the militants’ strongholds. The PML-N now is to adopt a defensive policy through negotiations with the terrorists, in particular with the Taliban.

Will this drastic shift not embolden the Taliban and others of their ilk? Will they not break the peace deals like they did in the past? Will we not repent after five years that militancy could have been better curbed with the blend of diplomacy and arms? The experts have revealed that the demands of the Taliban are far from the domain Pakistan can negotiate in. The Taliban and many factions of terrorist groups don’t accept the constitution, democracy, cordial ties with India and the US.

Moreover, they insist on the implementation of their own sinister agenda with no changes at all. Even if it is to be failed, the dialogue still has many appealing aspects that it must be given a sincere try. But if we go to the negotiating table without prior suppressive measure, then the chances of our success looks very dim. What is required at present is a full-fledged and permanent solution to the menace of terrorism which has sucked the blood of thousands of Pakistanis. Thus a great deal of work requires to be done before going for negotiations if we wish to deem success on the table.


Karachi, May 27.