Hegelian Dialectic emphatically maintains that progress results from the clash of conflicting ideas in the sequence of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In every civilized society, the difference of opinion is generally encouraged, to be minimized through a healthy debate. Sometimes, some obstinate, insular or rigid tendencies prevailing in a system turn this difference into a conflict. Again, when a conflict is mismanaged, it tends to be a full-fledged confrontation. In order to avoid this, some effective strategies and techniques of conflict resolution are devised and employed all over the civilized world. Among others, negotiation and mediation are considered to be the important tools for the conflict resolution.

In resolving a conflict through negotiation, the intention, sincerity and seriousness exhibited by the negotiating parties always make a big difference. The well-known Dual Concern Model for conflict resolution necessarily assumes that there are always two underlying dimensions to a conflict: a concern for self, and a concern for others. The intersecting point between these two dimensions can lead individuals towards real conflict resolution. This point can only be reached when both sides considerably retreat from their original stated positions. Presently, PTI and PTI, the two protesting political parties have dominated the entire national political scene in the country. Owing to the inelastic and unyielding attitude of both the government and these political parties, there is a sort of political deadlock on this issue. The neck-or-nothing attitude of PTI and PAT, and the government’s typical wait-and-see approach lies at the very root of this impasse.

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means,” said Ronald Reagan. Being on the giving end, the primary responsibility for conflict resolution and diluting this confrontation lies with the government. In this regard, no concrete step has yet been. By using innuendos like ‘written script’ and ‘engineered plan’, it has been busy in formulating and explaining certain conspiracy theories aimed at toppling the PML (N) government unconstitutionally. Certainly, a government is not supposed to cry over such things, but to undo or diffuse any such conspiracy, if any. As a matter of fact, previously, the last government of PPP has successfully handled Allama Tahir-ulQadri’s protest in Islamabad despite its strained relations with the army and confrontation with the apex court.

The government’s handling of the Model Town incident has been utterly disappointing. The registration of an FIR against all those responsible is a rather reasonable demand of PAT. Under the law of the land, it is the right of the victims, or their heirs, to apply for registration of an FIR based on their version of the incident.There is a glaring legal precedent in Pakistan that allows the registration of two FIRs vis-à-vis the same crime. In the Mir Murtaza Butto murder case, a second FIR was ordered to be registered by the Sindh High Court upon the request made by his wife Ghinwa Bhutto in 1996. However, all the accused nominated in both FIR’s were acquitted by the trial courts.

The registration of a FIR against the leadership of PML (N) hardly means their conviction. They will continue to be innocent until proven guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt. As law never dies, they have to face this FIR sooner or later. The sooner, the better. Besides this, they can also legally make a compromise with the heirs of the victims under the Qisas and Diyat provisions of the law after normalisation of their relations with the PAT. The so-called ten-point agenda of Allama Tahir-ulQadri can also be promised to be discussed and implemented through the Parliament. Of course, no one can deny the need for the reforms to ensure good governance, socio-economic justice, accountability, expeditious dispensation justice and devolution of power.

In the same manner, PTI can also be pacified by agreeing to introduce some extensive electoral reforms to its satisfaction. Likewise, the mid-term or early elections option can also be discussed in the best interest of the democracy and system. In return, the PTI and PAT should also stop crying for the moon, and must abandon their unconstitutional and unreasonable demand of PM’s resignation and dissolution of all national and provincial assemblies. The so-called minus-one formula also seems to be rather impractical. In fact, including PTI itself, every political party in Pakistan is necessarily personality-based. There cannot be such thing as PML (N) sans ‘N’.

Mediation is another important form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Owing to hardline positions taken, and inflammatory remakes made against each other, both the protesting parties and the government are relatively not at ease at the negotiating table to resolve their bilateral issues amicably. Therefore, other national political parties should also make some serious and sincere efforts to bridge this gap, and to bring both parties to a common and workable solution. Ironically, instead of discussing and debating the ground realities, the recently-held parliamentary session did nothing beyond making a rhetorical pledge to safeguard democracy and the Parliament at any cost.

The role of the most powerful institution, which is often referred to as ‘third force’, ‘third empire’ or ‘referee,’ is all-important. Its institutional capacity to diffuse such confrontations is a known fact. So far, the ISPR has only made a formal statement asking all the stakeholders to exercise restraint, and resolve this issue through dialogue. In the past, the so-called ‘Kayani formula’ and the ‘Kakar formula’ have been quite successful in ending the political turmoil in the country. The electronic media should also help in de-escalating this conflict by restraining from sensationalizing and glorifying the events, and propagating any particular agenda. There can still be a win-win station for both sides, provided they would show some sanity and political maturity.

 The writer is a lawyer.