Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senators are following a completely different line compared to their colleagues in the National Assembly. While the former raise a hue and cry over varying issues as a matter of routine, the latter appear far too co-operative for members of the leading opposition party. This good cop bad cop exercise was on full display yet again when PPP senators raised the issue of the newly appointed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Mehtab Khan Abbasi’s statements made soon after assuming the office.

Governor Abbasi had suggested a general amnesty for all terrorists willing to accept the supremacy of the country’s constitution. He felt that this would allow individuals to break free from their past, and push them towards a better future. While Mr Abbasi’s sentiments are understandable, perhaps he should be more careful in making statements that can have serious implications. At a time when the government, lead by his own party PML-N, is engaged in a dialogue with the terrorists, his speeches are likely to be viewed as his party’s stance, and not just mere personal opinion. And since he is now the Governor of KPK, he will also have to exercise caution when expressing his opinions. The terrorists, who feel trapped in a way of life as Mr Abbasi claims, have the blood of thousands of citizens and security personnel on their hands. A general amnesty for them will be unacceptable to the ones they’ve willfully harmed. They are many who still believe that justice will be served by holding the culprits accountable before the law, but such statements only weaken their resolve. Security personnel who face the greatest threat would surely find it difficult to fight an enemy, which they believe, might be forgiven for all it has done to them and many others. Surely, Mr Abbasi is more concerned with the morale and resolve of his fellow citizens and soldiers than the welfare of some terrorists. Whether a general amnesty as envisioned by Mr Abbasi is even permitted by the constitution cannot be said with certainty. The supremacy of the constitution cannot be established by way of violating it in the process. There are better ways to do that if that is in fact the aim here.

While the PPP senators are right to protest against Governor Abbasi’s remarks, and do raise valid questions, they should also take some time out for serious introspection. The PPP’s role has been duplicitous to such an extent that the general public cannot even decide whether the party seeks an operation or dialogue. This severely weakens the case against terrorism and makes their valid criticism appear hollow and politically motivated. The party must take a firm and clear position if it seeks change in government's policy.