While negotiations are best way to resolve issues, it takes two to tango. It is not possible to achieve results, if one side continues to target and kill at will, while asking the other to cease all operations against elements, whom constitution considers to be criminals, or even worse challenging writ of state. The unfortunate irony is that even in such times, few retired khakis and self assumed defense analyst, in their enthusiasm to claim immunity for Musharraf, have taken recourse to arguments that to save state, constitution can be violated, as if being in uniform gives them such divine right. By strange coincidence, Taliban have assumed unto themselves the right to solely interpret Shariah, as they deem fit, even if such an interpretation contradicts that held by the large majority of peaceful Muslims and scholars.

The Government nominated team headed by Irfan Siddiqui, a columnist of repute, seems to be unfamiliar with art of negotiations, for he got carried away after the first meeting, giving a statement raising hopes and expectations, although real talks have not even begun. It would be far better, if both sides, remained aloof from the media, especially the government team. Any statement to be issued should be done by an official, not part of negotiating team.

The Shariah practiced during life of Holy Prophet(PBUH) does not give right to any Muslim to kill their adversaries, just because of difference of opinion. Nowhere in Islam is it allowed to abduct innocent human beings for ransom, or indulge in unlawful trade to raise funds for warfare, nor is it allowed even in war to harm citizens, neither is it allowed to recruit child soldiers for warfare, or brainwashing them to carry out suicide missions outside battle arena, targeting unarmed men, women and children. Islam teaches tolerance for dissent, right of women to marry of their choice, prohibits murder or torture of prisoners of war. Religion and faith are between individuals and Almighty and the society has the right to intervene only when transgressions of what our Quran has dictated happens or acts which openly posing a threat to society and infringes upon the rights of others, not when arms bearing men assume to themselves right to impose their will upon state, challenging its writ and weakening its Defense capability against external aggression, such as attacks on Kamra Base etc.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, February 9.