LAHORE - The all-powerful PML-N government adopted two different strategies to deal with the menace of terrorism in various parts of the country. For tribal areas it decided to try to restore peace through talks with the Taliban, forgetting the fact that they had killed some 50,000 people, about one tenth of them security personnel.
In Karachi, where killings have been order of the day for the past several years, a Rangers-led operation was launched against terrorists and target killers.
Both strategies have failed to yield the desired results.
(A separate strategy to deal with the situation in Balochistan, where trouble is growing by the day because of the alleged involvement of some foreign countries, is yet to be worked out.)
As things stand, despite drone and PAF attacks the Taliban are still strong enough to hit important targets – and courageous enough to claim responsibility for the killings. They have claimed responsibility even for the Karachi airport attack. The committees constituted to interact with the Taliban have failed to deliver and there is little hope of any positive outcome even if the two sides hold some more rounds.
The late Sunday night terrorist attack on the Karachi airport is an irrefutable proof of the failure of the policy devised jointly by the centre and the Sindh government of Syed Qaim Ali Shah for the security of the cosmopolitan city. It has established that this international airport is still vulnerable, no matter what the government claims.
One doesn’t know how a conscientious government in some other democratic country would have reacted in such a situation, there’s no possibility of anybody tendering resignation in this “Islamic Republic”. Those urging Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to step down after the Karachi airport tragedy are unaware that the leader from Chakri (the name of his village) has very strong nerves and doesn’t bow to such pressures. And his boss - the prime minister – has even stronger nerves, stronger enough to bend and mould steel, and alien to anything called pressure.
Everybody knows that Karachi - the economic hub of Pakistan – has been in the grip of terrorists for several years. There are more than two million foreigners living there – and all attempts by the government to identify them and force them to leave Pakistan have failed. Such people can easily play into the hands of enemies and do anything for money.
The PML-N leadership was fully aware of the Karachi situation even before the last year’s elections. After donning the mantle of the prime minister for a third time, Mian Nawaz Sharif was expected to take emergency steps to eliminate terrorism in Karachi. He was supposed to do what the predecessor PPP government failed to do to restore peace to the city of lights.
But, unfortunately, the PML-N government too has failed. If the Karachi situation be made the touchstone, the PML-N government is as big a disappointment as was the PPP government.
The only ‘improvement’ that the incumbent government can boast of is that if previously 15 people were being killed every day, today the fatalities are a few less.
The report submitted to the prime minister about the Karachi episode is the most ridiculous ever. It is said that Mr Sharif has been informed that the terrorists wanted to destroy all the planes at the airport, take some people hostage and paralyse the system. But, there was no damage to any aircraft.
What else can be expected of those who are on a mission to kill or get killed? Shouldn’t all of us feel proud of how the government thwarted the terrorists’ plan?
If 20 people have lost their lives - against 10 terrorists’ – it’s not a big deal.
One fails to understand how the authorities came to know of the real designs of the attackers when all of them had been killed. The claim would have made some sense if it had been divulged by any of the attackers arrested alive.
Many say that the law and order situation was much better when a National Security Council, comprising the civil and military leadership was in place during the Musharraf era. This broad-based forum provided the leaders with an excellent opportunity to discuss all important issues and formulate a strategy to deal with them. The NSC was disbanded by Syed Yousaf Raza as prime minister.
Although what was once the Defence Committee of the Cabinet has been renamed by the present government after some changes in its composition, it is not as useful as was the NSC.