Let’s get to the heart of the problem. What has happened to the nation? Nobody should have any ounce of doubt that here we have Hakimullah a despicable mass-murderer who killed thousands of innocent citizens and yet we call him a ‘martyr’ and shower all sorts of sympathies just because some peace process – whose fate was uncertain in the first place – got derailed? And are we lashing out at the US just because it serves political ends? Our ‘backstabbing friend’ messed up with the peace process but then didn’t the attack on Maj Gen Sanaullah derail prospect of talks?
Days after the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, ‘national mourning’ continues. And worse, there is virtually no indication we are getting out of what appears to be a sweet slumber to Kingdom Come. Others who are in this slumber include Imran Khan who has threatened to block Nato supply by November 20 unless drones are stopped.
And please stop here. For a moment let’s talk about talks; lets for a moment assume they (planned talks) were good and should have been held. Well put it this way; talks through a position of weakness means a total surrender, in fact we would be signing our death warrants.
Now that the PTI dispensation ruling KPK intends to block Nato supplies, it is unclear if this will work at all. Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid stated that the solution does not lie in halting supplies. Since the blockade proved to be of little help after the fatal Salala carnage, we need to move forward patiently, he stressed and rightly so.
In contrast, the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in his various uttering however seems emotional almost to the point of locking horns with Uncle Sam. The US, however did not take umbrage particularly in the wake of his utterly confusing press conference and responded by taking the posture that both the allies face common enemies and are fighting a common fight to weed out extremism. The State Department was also caution on the issue of Islamabad’s decision to continue the peace process, saying it was its internal decision. Some would think Chaudhry Nisar vented so much anger perhaps at the behest of the military establishment just to up the ante and use that as a leverage to stop the drones.
However, with Imran Khan backed up by the Mullah & Co clamouring for blocking Nato supplies, it appears the game is being taken a little too far. Let us not forget that we are fighting what is known in military parlance as ‘a war of attrition’ where erratic decisions are only going to lead to disastrous results. That’s the name of the game and as they say its a game two can play. There is no quick end to it.
Where the good intention of restoring peace through peace talks is problematic, prospects that peace achieved through this way will last are grim. For a country caught up in sectarian and ethnic fault-lines pandering to the extremist segment – even through peace talks -- is eventually going to turn on itself as it already did in the case of Swat and lots of other fronts.
Pakistan’s strategy for establishing peace on its soil should be based on reason, pragmatism rather than emotions and impulse as many in the political arena seem to be suggesting. Agreed, things should be planned keeping in view the planned withdrawal of the US forces but we ought to think beyond just that. We have got our own problems and they need home-grown sensible solutions.
On our way to stability we need to exclude harmful pitfalls of religious extremism and strategic depth paradigm. Otherwise, let us not forget that the hydra-headed monster of terrorism will never run short of willing suicide bombers and their handlers such as Hakimullah, sadly hailed as a martyr. We are in woods and how do we get out of it? Stop turning ruthless killers into superheroes.