The mind is numb, feelings frozen. There’s almost no need for words, as everyone must feel the same. What is left to communicate? It seems the most frivolous of activities to write, to express thoughts which everyone must have. How can they not?

Good men falling all around us – one has given up counting: Chaudhry Aslam, SP CID Karachi, Mian Mushtaq Ahmed of the ANP in Mashokhel, fifteen year old Aitezaz Hassan Bangash in Hangu, Dr Azhar Hussain killed for his Shia faith in Rajanpur, Ali Hasan Qizilbash a Shia professional in Lahore…. all taken out by the Taliban or members of their umbrella affiliates. These are only a few of the prominent ones downed in the last 10 days – in the war of existence raging in Pakistan.

On the other hand are our protectors, our spokesmen, our ‘representatives’ steeped in hypocrisy, cowardice and cynicism. The war has been brought to us, our homes, our roads, our workplaces and our places of worship. Yet these Titans still speak of ‘talks’ with the killers on a rampage, when there is no one to talk to. They have made a spectacle of themselves, and of the rest of us, prostrating themselves in front of the militants – who only respond with more killings. The militants kill the best of us, the bravest, the most educated, the most sane, from security personnel, to generals in the army, to doctors, to lawyers, to professionals, to children who are clear minded enough to resist their evil.

Many take the behavior of our politicians like Imran Khan and Chaudhry Nisar for confusion when they speak of ‘our people’ and negotiating with ‘stakeholders’, even though they have yet to identify anyone willing to ‘speak’ to them. Such is the bravery of the PTI in particular, that officialdom deems it beneath itself to attend funerals of the fallen from within its own party. And make no mistake, the PTI members and parliamentarians are taken out for ‘doing nothing’, to make sure they never think of doing anything either.

However, it seems, the PTI and the PML-N are the least confused of all, though they are most successful in confusing the masses. Till a few months ago, the PTI and PML-N, talked of ‘negotiations’ with the Taliban in a bid to outdo each other in securing the right wing votes in the national elections, and avoiding the wrath of the TTP that was visited upon the ANP, the PPP and MQM. Now, it’s a matter of abandoning the people to their fate while they themselves run for cover. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the clarity they operate with. It is a simple matter of not leading the fight from positions of leadership we have put them in. The fight has been left to the common people, the doctors, the lawyers, the children, the policemen, the journalists to fight – whilst they watch the country being overrun from their ivory towers.

It is time to demand action from the people we have put in power – enough hoodwinking and tomfoolery about ‘talks.’ And the action needs to be backed up with solid plans and capacity enhancements. Take the case of Karachi, where police numbers and resources are dismally low to combat escalating Talibanization (leave alone drug, weapon and land mafias backed by political patronage).

As a last resort, the federal government has even hinted at an apocalyptic backlash in the major urban centers of Pakistan as an excuse to not carry out a crackdown on militancy. It is a jaded, dishonest excuse. The Taliban and its affiliates are on an offensive, with citizens facing ‘lash’ on a daily basis, wherefore to speak of a ‘backlash’? Besides, the government’s job is to make adequate security arrangements to protect its citizens whilst going after those who accept writ of neither state nor democratic principles. Given the state’s primary responsibility is to the security of the life and property of citizens, the refusal to fight the enemy to protect the people is a dereliction of duty grave enough to elevate it to the status of crimes against humanity. Since ‘treason’ is fashionable these days, one might ask whether it is treasonous or not to take on the mantle of responsibility and then throw the citizenry to the wolves? It is criminal for those in positions of responsibility to tell us that Drones are responsible for the war we are living in. The only ‘Drones’ responsible, now (and let’s not take refuge in history starting 1979), for the plight of Pakistanis living a war in their homes and streets are the ones talking ‘talks’ with the militants.

The barbarians are at my door, killing my son Ali Haider, shooting my daughter Malala, martyring my brother Safwat Ghayur, and the Drones of Bani Gala, Raiwind and Mansoora tell me the killers are ‘our people’, ‘stakeholders’? What follows then is that the only stakes these ‘Drones’ appear to have in the game is that of saving their own skins. If they and I live to see the next election, it’ll be a day of reckoning. I will pick ‘corruption’ over dishonesty and treasonous cowardice, any day.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist.

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