On Saturday Imran Khan once again demonstrated he could pull thousands of people out of the safety of their homes and under the party’s flag. But the participants and activists alike must have for a moment thought about the dangers lurking around them and whether their leader needed to first rid them of the drones or the terrorists hitting the country and their city almost by the hour.
And while the sit-in appeared an incredible display of power powerful enough to actually compel the US to stop the drone attacks realistically speaking, it is wishful thinking. For a couple of hours, containers kept the ring road blocked at the orders of PTI-led KPK government but only to be removed once the show was over. Mr Khan had a lot to say, such as the government wasn’t telling the truth, the government ought to join forces with the PTI, the PTI would rather be a Ghazi than a Shaheed. It certainly seems to be a no-holds-bar drama, since the containers will be put back in their places today.
At the other end of the spectrum, the debate has taken on the character of a personal vendetta and point scoring, rife with accusations over who is receiving how many dollars. Chaudhry Nisar is admitting it is time to either choose dollars or honour, while Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed is responding by badmouthing PTI setup as a recipient of US aid to the tune of many millions of dollars. We are none the wiser over what really needs to be done.
This naming and shaming is a convenient diversion from the real issue at hand. Drones fly over our skies to kill and will continue to kill for as long as there are guests enjoying hospitality, often times turning their guns at the hosts. Better to tell the nation that these guests now cannot be evicted because they are considered a gambit to establish a toehold in Afghanistan once the US forces move out. Or better still we need to confess drones target militant hideouts and militants on the run, like Hakimullah, who has made a name for killing thousands of innocent Pakistanis.
The practice of hosting militant groups cannot be easily given up it seems. And now that the drones are weaning us off that habit, it might not be acceptable to many amongst us. More than the drones themselves what the people need is an end to the prevailing confusion they are reeling under. The national leadership and the state with all its strategic institutions simply cannot tread two roads at the same time.