For an entire war of survival to be reduced to a debate on the use of one tactical weapon, the Drone, and that too one of the most precise weapons developed to date, is confounding to say the least. Though this degeneration has unfolded in the public glare, the very absurdity of a country’s complex existential struggle against being taken over by advancing Islamist fascists reduced to being framed in terms of the use of Drones defies belief. How it happened is apparent, but how it was allowed to happen remains out of grasp, especially given the use of sometimes unverifiable information, sometimes outright lies and propaganda, and most of the time illogical arguments. Incredibly, this has been achieved almost single-handedly by Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and other religious parties as helpful sidekicks.
Meanwhile, as the madness continues to unfold, the conduct of the ruling party in government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N),makes for a study in mental disorders. It has lurched between descent into unimpaired insanity, with its interior minister running around screeching at the US and the CIA for Droning Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists (whilst these groups continue to slaughter Pakistani citizens at will), and an appearance of profound mental retardation, with its party chairman abstaining from saying anything that might ‘hurt the Taliban’s feelings’. During bouts of fleeting reason, its ministers issue dark warnings to Imran Khan of the dementedness of his and his party’s obstruction of thousands of cargo trucks en route through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the hope of blocking NATO supplies, in an effort to stop Drone strikes in the country. With such muddled and bemusing activities, the PML-N has allowed Imran Khan’s reductionist and irrational narrative to dictate the national discourse on this issue.
It appears the PML-N government has completely washed its hands of its duty to examine the wider problem and formulate a strategy to lead the country out of the worsening crisis. The only business in evidence is a wonton neglect of recognition and articulation of fundamental issues at the root of this war. To have allowed whether terrorists should be Droned or not to become the central question, and not an analysis of the threat(s) posed to the country and its people by Islamist insurgents, and not how best to defend against these threats, and not developing and implementing a plan of action to this end, is a failure close to criminal in nature.
The result is a spectacle of a deranged nation: at once on a rampage obstructing cargo trucks protesting the killing of known foreign terrorists living and ‘working’ sans visas freely in Pakistan;  heaping honours of martyrdom on killers of its children; lodging FIRs against the US and the CIA for killing the killers of its children; offering office spaces to domestic terrorists; accusing the US of killing ‘peace’ at targeting said domestic terrorists; threatening to shoot down the only known salvation of innocent citizens of Pakistan a.k.a US Drones. And as if the loony bin didn’t look quite picture perfect, the CIA station chief was outed and the SHO of the local Hangu police station set upon him and his boss in the U.S. At this juncture, one is almost tempted to steal the contempt of the very same rabid horde to ask, “Is this a country I want to save?”
But temptation aside, save it one must. If from nothing else, then from the bone chilling vision of an SHO of Thana Hangu chasing, and making the subject of a police encounter the CIA station chief, then rushing off back to the US embassy in Islamabad to stand in line for a visa in order to arrest his boss, and finally setting out on the trail of the murder weapon to Afghanistan. If the entire world is not convulsing at the idea of deploying an FIR and an SHO in a war, even if the war were imagined against the US and not against the Islamist insurgents, as asserted by lunatics blocking trucks and filing police reports, I would eat my hat twice over.
To have let it come to this, where bedlam reins free, threatening to destroy all? No discussion on the people’s way of life, their livelihoods, their freedoms, their security? No recognition of the intent of the insurgents’ barbaric, obscurantist, fascist objectives? No thought to the defence of the people? Is radio silence to remain the response to the real questions? It is not for nothing that ‘being on top and doing nothing’ has come to be known as the Nawaz Sharif Position.
But revisiting a tiny portion of how it was allowed to happen, the Nawaz Sharif Position might provide a useful hint. And to be fair to him, whilst his unparalleled stillness prompted the recognition of a new Position, leaders before him are no strangers to the kind of inaction exhibited by him. A formal declaration of being in a state of war as a result of the decade long assault on Pakistan by the Islamists, none; the public taken into confidence and brought onside, never; an honest ownership of the Drone attacks as only one weapon (perchance the most precise) in a wide range being used, nevermore; an attempt at legalization of the use of Drones, God forbid. But allowing the shrieking hyenas to get away unchallenged in their propaganda of ‘innocent children’ being massacred in Drone attacks, like the ones this week in Hangu, with photographs from conflicts around the world, you bet. Towing their false notions of sovereignty and lies about innocent children, oh absolutely. Making steak-holders (sic) out of the Taliban, why not? Rare, or medium? Thoroughly well done, please. Challenging the wild hoodlums breaking the law, threatening, brawling and breaking into private property on the Peshawar ring road, nope.
And that is how it all came to pass – the madness, the hysteria, the sheer lost-in-a-jungle state of being of an entire nation: with an exemplary stillness on part of the leadership, honoured with an alluring Position named after it.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist.

Email:gulnbukhari@gmail.com

She tweets at:@gulbukhari