Is it not a bit odd that only when he is away, people at home get a chance to hear their elected leader speak on issues that concern them? PM Nawaz Sharif had been on an official visit to the UK, and there, he seized the opportunity to share deep thoughts on matters he prefers to remain silent on otherwise. Perhaps it is unwise to fret over this bizarre phenomenon. Instead, the nation should be thankful for whatever the PM throws its way, even if it is from an island far, far away. How exciting to finally find out what the PM thinks about key issues such as terrorism, the military and Balochistan.

On terrorism, Mr Nawaz Sharif expressed hope. Despite repeated failures and no success, the PM remains optimistic and expects a positive outcome from the ‘peace talks’ between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Mr Sharif considers dialogue the best option because it allows peace to be restored without any bloodshed. One cannot disagree. After all, who would want people to die if they don’t have to? Terrorists or ordinary civilians, the loss of human life is always unfortunate. But sometimes, countries face a situation where one of the two has to go. That is where Pakistan stands today. And Mr Sharif, the man who is supposed to steer the country out of the mess, appears unable to draw a distinction between idealistic rhetoric and concrete policy. His wish that terrorists accept the constitution and unconditionally surrender is just that, a wish. The ‘peace talks’ with the TTP have only further strengthened the case for comprehensive action against terrorists.

On the military, the PM pointed out that COAS General Raheel Sharif’s speech clarified the armed forces’ stance in favour of the supremacy of the Constitution and continuation of democracy. After such unambiguous remarks by the COAS, the PM is confident that democracy doesn’t face any threat from the military. How he felt before the speech, we may never know. On the question of Hamid Mir, the PM reminded everyone that the investigative commission will complete its work and identify the culprits. It will be an unprecedented development.

On Balochistan, the PM accepted that the province had been treated unfairly in the past. To rectify blunders and injustices committed over the span of decades, the PM has ‘directed’ Balochistan CM Abdul Malik Baloch to talk with estranged elements so they can return to the national fold. It is hoped that Mr. Malik’s serious lack of power and control in the province doesn’t stand in the way of the PM’s ‘plan.’