WEB DESK: In long drawn conflicts, as Pakistan’s war on terrorism is, there come the testing times that tend to undermine the national will and determination to persevere and keep fighting till the war is won. We as a nation seem to be passing through such a testing time in the wake of terrorist attack on the Bacha Khan University last week. Unlike the murderous attack on Army Public School in December 2014 which united the nation and helped evolve National Action Plan against terrorism and extremism the attack on the university tends to divide the people and generate despondency – to utter delight of the enemy.
Without a hard evidence in hand and pending results of a thorough inquiry the political opposition has gone to town holding federal government responsible for the lapse to secure the university campus, and therefore guilty of undermining the National Action Plan. Given that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali was bedridden the much-awaited government response was missing. But as he is back in business he has thoroughly lambasted the opposition, accusing it of dancing on the broken glass. “We are in a state of war, which we are winning. But losing psychologically because some people (read PPP leaders) have decided to create chaos by political point-scoring,” he told a presser.
Particularly incensed by his namesake Sindh provincial minister Nisar Khuhro’s call asking him to step down Chaudhry Nisar came hard on Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah. Not only did he accuse him of ‘getting benefits from the present government’ for which, he said, he could give proof, he also touched the PPP’s raw nerve by observing that “if somebody is troubled by Dr Asim’s and other’s corruption cases he should talk about them, and stop political point-scoring.”
Nisar also threatened to deploy Rangers in interior Sindh but promised to extend their deployment in Karachi without consent of the provincial government. But it took him no time to receive the riposte: the allegation of benefiting from government’s largess is a lie, and if proved ‘I will quit politics for ever’, thundered Khursheed Shah.
Admitted, accusations and counter-accusations are sheer politics. But Chaudhry Nisar’s take on psychological aspect of war on terror has the merit. He rightly asserts that by closing schools – untenably, in the name of cold weather – you succumb to the terrorists’ game plan of paralysing the country. It is part of the psychological warfare. Even the best of security arrangement won’t deter a suicide-bomber from exploding, if not inside at the gate of a school. This has happened twice, and may happen again. But how long you can keep tens of thousands schools shut down fearing terror attacks?
The answer is that schools should remain open for the terrorists to realise that bomb attacks have failed to cow down the Pakistani people. To the extent that the National Action Plan is not being fully implemented the political opposition has a point. But how to ensure fuller implementation of the plan the opposition must come up with some cogent propositions – because no plan can be perfect and it must keep evolving to remain relevant to the emerging ground realities and needs Karachi would not have regained its peace, however relative, and both the Waziristan agencies would have been in the control of terrorist outfits if there was no National Action Plan and its implementation, albeit partly.
Frankly speaking, the PPP’s objections to the NAP may have quite a few legalistic merits, but it is undeniable that they, unmistakably, stem from the ongoing agencies’ probes into some corruption cases, particularly the ones related to Dr Asim Hussain. The party would be doing well to itself by keeping its stance on the anti-terrorism programme separate from the corruption cases against certain individuals howsoever important. Let all the political stakeholders join hands to fight the atmosphere of fear which terrorist outfits use as their weapon of choice.
Source: Business Recorder