The National Assembly session, on Monday, was an extraordinary affair. Parliamentarians were found expressing agreement over issues, passing glances at arch-rivals in hopes for approval and support, and extending offers to embrace political opponents for the sake of the country. As always, the rationale behind what was said by the leadership can be contested and rejected. But, certain valid points were indeed raised, and must be highlighted. Interior Minister, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, rightly expressed his disappointment over the US’s complete disregard for the policies and decisions of the government. Mr Imran Khan delivered a passionate speech, claiming that this was a “defining moment” for the nation, and called on all stakeholders to unite to deal with the volatile situation. PM Nawaz Sharif, speaking at the 4th Azam-e-Nauexercise on Monday, reiterated that more bloodshed cannot produce desired results. Clearly, there is not a shift in the security policy as a result of the drone strike which killed the TTP chief.

The fact is that an elected government has the right to frame and implement policies which it deems suitable for its national interests. One can disagree, even protest, but in no situation, is it justified to deny a democratic government its right to make such choices. The issue is not whether a terrorist was killed or not. It’s a lot more than just that. No one is mourning Hakimullah’s death. He’s history. Here’s the real problem: During the APC, a decision to give negotiations a chance was reached by the political leadership. This paper has time and again criticised the faulty logic behind the proposed plan, and highlighted various factors which guarantee its failure. However, that does not, and should not mean that the government can be coerced, influenced, or sabotaged, in order to deviate it from the path it chooses to take. Mr Nisar Ali Khan claims he had informed the US that the Pakistani government was on the verge of initiating peace-talks with the militants. And, requested that the process be given a fair chance, as no one has more at stake than the state and citizens of Pakistan. Knowing that, the US still intervened, and with a drone strike, not just killed a militant, but also violated the government’s right to implement its policy. In all likelihood, the plan would have failed on its own. But now, the pro-talks camp can rightly raise hue and cry for ‘not giving peace a chance’. And, this is why, when the people of the country ought to be chanting “good riddance”, they are yelling anti-US slogans instead. The poor timing has massively contributed to the confusion, as anti-drone and pro-TTP sentiment has entwined in an indistinguishable manner, which is extremely regrettable and counter-productive.

“Strategic allies” do not undermine each other’s rights to exercise choice. It is always in their interest to pay heed to the concerns of their counterparts. By not doing so, not only do they jeopardize their relationship, but also cause hindrance in the way of achieving common objectives in the long term.