“I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves.”
–Chesterfield

Chief of the Tehreek-e-Insaf Mr Imran Khan was never known for prudence or pragmatism. He always relishes in clichés and therefore has failed to chart a coherent domestic policy for his party, what to talk about foreign affairs. For all these years Imran was given space because he was considered to be a novice in politics and had experience in only running an NGO which is a different proposition from statecraft.
Imran failed to cash on the rising popularity of his party because he failed to concentrate on the dynamics of rural culture in the country and then issued statements which resulted in his party losing vital sections of the population depriving him for an opportunity to grab power. Several analysts now believe that Tehreek-e-Insaaf is most likely to lose its appeal by the time next general elections are held.
Presently the Tehreek Chief along with some other rightist parties with limited representation in the country because of their regimental nature have vowed to block NATO supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan and to disrupt or block American equipment that will pass through this country as a prelude to American withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief has failed to provide a plan B or C in case his effort fails to block NATO supplies and also what might happen if the Americans and a host of other NATO countries decide to take punitive action against Pakistan. People in this country are baffled at the strange logic that is being propounded by Tehreek-e-Insaaf and its allies because this issue of drone attacks in Pakistani territory could have been effectively handled by aggressive diplomacy and perhaps by using the forum of the United Nations. Similar action has been recommended by parties like Jamat-e-Islami, JUI who have been indirectly encouraged by statements of Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who in the first place had no business to touch a subject that is the domain of foreign affairs. While the parties clamoring for a blockade of NATO supplies may gain some adhoc support amongst the masses, yet in the long run these political parties must understand that their present posture has every chance of becoming counterproductive for them.
Another joker in Pakistani politics, Molvi Sami ul Haq has filed a contempt of court petition against the Prime Minister and the ministry of interior on the judgment passed by the Peshawar High Court. This judgment has several parts, most of them are outside the jurisdiction of the honorable court but nonetheless the government in its wisdom failed to file an appeal against the order which could have decided the matter finally. Since no appeal has been filed, it has provided an opportunity to crazy elements like Molvi Sami ul Haq to file this contempt of court petition. These bunch of molvis want the government of Pakistan to take some drastic actions including the shooting down of drones flown by the American CIA without realizing the ensuing consequences not only for Pakistan’s relations with an entire block of western countries but also its effects on the economic situation in Pakistan. While Imran Khan has been talking about Pakistan’s sovereignty being violated by the Americans which is quite understandable at the same time, Imran Khan, Mr Munawar Hassan, Maulana Fazal ur Rehman and Molvi Sami ul Haq have never explained the presence of foreign terrorists who have been found hiding in different places which again amounts to this country’s sovereignty being violated. The Tehreek-e-Insaaf and others must study the case history of terrorism in Sri Lanka, Ireland and elsewhere which will provide them with many lessons allowing them to formulate better policies for their political parties. It is also strange that Tehreek-e-Insaaf has leaders like Mr Shah Mehmud Qureshi, Javed Hashmi and Dr Shireen Mizari who were expected to use their clout within the party and provide it with a direction that could serve both the short term and long term political objectives of Tehreek-e-Insaaf. However, keeping with his reputation of being headstrong and rigid, it can be safely speculated, that Mr Imran Khan overruled saner voices within his party and has chosen the perilous route of confrontation that may create serious problems not only for himself but also for the federal government.
In case it is a symbolic protest it could have still convey a strong message to the Americans and the international community but in case the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is also involved in the stoppage of supplies from and to Afghanistan, it would become a different ball game that will be neither desirable nor achievable for Imran Khan’s party and all those who are trying to gain political mileage out of this high sounding rhetoric. The Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif should have intervened earlier to resolve this issue and the continued delay by the PML-N government to intervene so that this issue does not balloon out of control also speaks about the weakness of the Federal government on the issue of terrorism. This situation cannot continue for long because the army which has suffered so much for this country and its people are expected to make up its mind very soon and go after the terrorists whole hog leaving all talk of negotiating with terrorists who have laid down impossible conditions for talks with the Pakistan government in tatters. This attitude will not be tolerated and hence all the political statements which indirectly support the Taliban will be torn to pieces sooner than expected by these night gems of wisdom. Therefore prudence demands that the Prime Minister should initiate measures and unite the country on this issue before it becomes too late for everyone in Pakistan that may lead to unforeseen consequences.

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist.

zarnatta@hotmail.com