Where do we stand today after the expiry of almost a decade since the war on terror started in 2001, it is not clear? I think we stand nowhere but on the brink of a deep abyss – an abyss of ideological schizophrenia, a loss of cultural identity, an overall social disintegration and what is more a complete state of gloominess and despair. How to end this war is a question whose answer is still largely uncertain but the great human and financial loss makes its continuity unaffordable. It is very unfortunate that the government is still indecisive in which strategy to adopt. But one thing is certain that the consequences of this war, especially in human terms, have been much graver than anyone could have predicted. It is also distressing to see the disastrous consequences of this war, not just manifested in the condition of Pakistan today but also most egregiously in neighbouring countries as well.
The government must keep in mind that attempts to win this war through military alone will not work because although the heightened military operations have splintered the Taliban’s but they have also adopted newer, deadlier tactics of bombings and targeted assassinations in major urban centres. There is stalemate in the war, and it can only end by making peace with the enemy. Therefore, dialogue is the best possible way to combat terrorism. While dialogue with Taliban has emerged as a key perquisite of politically resolving this conflict it is still unclear how this reconciliation process may proceed and what will be the eventual outcome.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to think and plan how this dialogue will proceed and how it will be fruitful for both the state and Taliban. Trust deficit, mutual suspicion and divergence of interests has plagued the already fragile relationship between the two parties. Hence, both the government and Taliban need to come to the table to negotiate and resolve the matter peacefully. It is hoped that the process to reconciliation makes due progress in the days ahead.
SYED ALI QASIM,
Lahore, January 30.