This has been an eventful week, to put it mildly. The good news is on three fronts: the Judicial Commission has wiped the self-righteous expression from Imran Khan’s face; the security agencies have eliminated Malik Ishaq, the self-confessed sectarian killer, and several of his fellow murderers; and the second round of serious talks between the stakeholders in Afghanistan has been announced. The bad news is that India is trying to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan again following a terrorist strike at a police station in Gurdaspur, close to the border in Punjab, allegedly at the behest of jihadi groups based in Pakistan.
Except for Imran Khan and his blind cohorts, the judgment of the JC was foretold: far from there being any systematic or designed conspiracy to steal the elections, the 2013 election results were a fair reflection of the mandate of voters, despite some lapses on the part of the Election Commission. Following on the heels of his own public admission and sworn statement in a civil court (in which he faces a libel suit for defamation) that the “35 puncture” allegation was just a political ploy and “not an assertion of facts”, this judgment has further dented Khan’s credibility and his fire-breathing advisors. After a string of U-Turns on core policy positions, Khan must now contend with the popular disillusionment arising from the rout of his conspiratorial year-long quest for mid-term elections. The setback has provoked rifts within the PTI and weakened it – originally only Justice (retd) Wajiuddin Ahmed had publicly pointed an accusing finger at Jahangir Tareen, Khan’s right hand advisor and financier, but now Hamid Khan, the veteran leader of the lawyers movement and a close confidante of Khan’s, has blasted Tareen for various omissions and commissions. Coupled with ferocious disagreements within the PTI leadership and government in KPK amidst mutual allegations of corruption, this presages rough times for the party on the eve of local bodies elections in Punjab. This will set the tone of public opinion in the next three years leading to general elections. As if all this wasn’t headache enough, the MQM and JUI are aiming to disqualify PTI members from sitting in Parliament and these have been joined by the treasury benches demanding an inquiry into the source of billions in funding for the PTI’s dharna, and contacts with treacherous retired military officials to overthrow the legally elected government of the day.
The elimination of the top sectarian killers based in Punjab points to the onset of a full-fledged operation against this scourge of terrorism that has laid Pakistan low. It confirms the fact that the COAS Raheel Sharif has persuaded PM Nawaz Sharif and CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to support this action as an unavoidable logical extension in Punjab of the anti-terrorist operations in FATA and Karachi. Earlier, there were reports that the Punjab police had started action against sectarian hate mongers, publishers and printers. This is in line with the pressure of the Rangers on the Sindh government to act against madrassahs and seminaries spawning terrorists and terrorism. One by one, the military is breaking the links in the chain of terrorism and targeting each segment separately and sequentially and the politicians are being compelled to abandon opportunistic party political interests at the altar of the national interest.
News of the second round of talks between the Taliban and the other stakeholders relating to Afghanistan is even better. If this leads to a ceasefire, that would set the stage for confidence building measures to take up thornier issues of power-sharing, foreign troops in Afghanistan and the nature of the final Afghan constitution. To be sure, this is going to be a long haul. But the fact that Pakistan is able to deliver on its promise to bring the Taliban to the table for serious negotiations is a great beginning.
Unfortunately, however, the developing positive atmosphere regarding the anti-terrorist operations has been soured by the news of a terrorist attack in India whose footprints, like the one in Mumbai many years ago, allegedly point to Pakistan. While the Indian media and politicians have been quick to condemn Pakistan without a full investigation, it is good that the Pakistan Foreign Office has swiftly denied any Pakistani hand in it, condemned the incident and expressed sympathy with the people of India. But the Indians are now fashioning a new theory that posits an alleged tripartite alliance between angry Kashmiris, disgruntled Khalistanis and mischief mongering Pakistanis to destabilize their country. If there is any concrete evidence of this that the international community is ready to buy, it will definitely enable India to put a leg-up and despoil Pakistan’s hard won recent victories in the war against terror. Indeed, any renewed and heightened India-Pakistan tensions can disrupt anti-terrorism operations inside Pakistan and plunge the region into conflict and uncertainty again.
india’s carefully crafted narrative of being the peaceful neighbour trying to deal with meddlesome pakistan in a patient way is crumbling away. For the first time, Pakistan is making the right moves and turning the tables on India. Too many time Pakistan has fallen for India’s provocation’s and responded with a flurry of words that only serves to showcase Pakistan as the bad neighbour India wants to present it as.
Finally I think Pakistan has realized the art of statecraft. Nawaz sharif is making constant peace overtures to India. India is constantly trying to provoke Pakistan (i.e. statements including those supporting state sponsored terrorist in Pakistan, and every time it says something more ridiculous than the last, Pakistan has not responded with anything too revealing. Finally its time for Pakistan to gather this evidence and take it to the UN.
I suspect an Indian hand in the timely revelation of mullah omar’s death. I hope Pakistan can diffuse the situation and i really hope Pakistan had nothing to do with the recent attack in india.
All that the Indian officials claimed was that the GPS evidence indicates that the terrorists entered India from Pakistan. Why do Pakistani officials, media, and eminent editors like you interpret that claim as accusing Pakistan, particularly when the phrase “non state actors” itself was coined by Pakistani authorities? Such reactions from Pakistan end up making ordinary readers like me wonder if it is a tacit admission that the state actors work hand-in-glove with the non-state ones.
It is n Indian saying that goes like this,throw enough dirt some will definitely stick. So Mr. Shastri you have also bad intentions for Pakistan. Instead supporting facts you are concealing them. A real Indian thinker!
Thanks for writing. Wish you had been more specific about the “facts” that were not supported or were concealed.
JC report is a total farce, self contradictory, and borne out of necessity. Nevertheless it is time to move on and look ahead. Bickering, arguments and counter arguments will not help.
Imran Khan was lying and am glad that the truth has come out. The reason why he is still popular is because there are people who like leaders who use bad mouth and shouting. If you make agreements with opposition to remain within the limits of reasonable expressions, they get unpopular and many say there is a deal. Although the deal is to stabilise democracy. After all nobody wants to go to the opposition benches for making a ‘deal’
Your editorial is really informative,touch and go type of comments on all major issues seems appropriate. Bravo for writing such a fair editorial. Your opinion about Indian politics is quite pragmatic.
The elimination of LeJ and its top leadership is certainly going to help PML-N with the shia population of the country at the expense of PPP. In addition to Punjabis, PML-N needed a big segment of the society in Karachi for a foot hold and elimination of LeJ leadership helps PML-N image among shias of Karachi.
Just as your suggestion about the role of Gen. Raheel Sharif in this matter is logical, so is PML-N taking the advantage of it politically.
happy to know positive action by the determined Army is yielding results. happy to know the held up executions are taking place one by one. If not for fear of death, but for awareness of determined unified actions, the terrorist will have to fine a new home . A new shape. Time will tell.
when an arrow is released from a bow, we can know its speed, and the direction from where it has been released. If there is no Bow , there can be no arrows. .
we have been depending on the civil leaders and military leaders for too long.
It is time that people to people contact from all walks of life, in mass scale, regularly should take place so that bows and arrows can be pushed into cold storage.
To start with , let us stop that meaningless stupid foot stamping parade at WAGHA border. IT reminds, rekindles, feeling of enmity in young and ignorant hearts. causes permanent damage. Mr Sethi can help by an editorial.
every problem will have at least two solutions. The problem of kashmir will have many. let the people propose. let the politicians follow for a change.
congratulations to ARMY for silencing the terrorists. congratulation to judiciary for the executions.
The common feeling amongst many Indians is that whenever there is a possibility of softening of relations between india and Pakistan suddenly either Pakistan military or IS I intervene and do some act to frustrate peace process. The civil society and democratic forces should come forward to criticise the possible diversion of peace process.