Attack on Malala and the future of Pakistan
By Muhammad Akram
LAHORE: Wednesday’s drone attack in North Waziristan was apparently not in retaliation to the attack a day before on Malala Yousufzai by the merchants of hate. It was also perceptibly not to loathe the long march to the foothills of South Waziristan a couple of days ago by the so-called anti-drone campaigner, PTI chief Imran Khan.
The strike in the badlands of the country may be a routine exercise for its perpetrator, which it was doing for over seven years now and that too said to be with the consent of the security establishment. But what makes this an otherwise routine drone strike worth mentioning was none or a lukewarm condemnation over it from the so-called champion of anti-drone campaign and his ‘fellows’ in the other rightwing religio-political parties even after passage of hours from the happening.
The anti-drone campaigners and sympathisers of the merchant of hate remained in the same confusion after icon of peace Malala Yousufzai and her schoolfellows were attacked in broad day light leaving the nation stunned initially and a state of rage and gloom afterwards.
Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan accepted responsibility only a couple of hours later for his Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) dastardly attack on teenage schools children, but it took over 10 hours for the PTI and likes to come up with a statement on the incident sans the word ‘condemnation’ for the act and ‘Taliban’ for the perpetrators.
The statement quoting PTI Chairman Imran Khan as having offered to bear all treatment expenses to the family of Malala Yousufzai was hilarious when the state of Pakistan had already alerted an air ambulance to take Malala – said to be in critical condition – abroad for medical treatment. The state of confusion in the ranks and files of the PTI can also be traced from the mincing of words over the issue by vice chairman of the party, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, during a talk show on Tuesday night. Qureshi was visibly reluctant to utter the word “Taliban” for the attackers despite being castigated over it by PML-N MNA Ayaz Amir, another panellist with JUI-F Senator Ismail Buledi, who too didn’t name Taliban as the culprits of three suicide attacks on his party chief Fazlur Rehman in the recent past.
Ayaz Amir also agitated over the twist given to this very important subject by Qureshi as the latter instantly took the discussion to the oft-repeated alleged non-compliance of courts order by the PPP government being responsible for the state of affairs in the country. Interestingly, he failed to make his co-panellists blame the Taliban for terrorism in the country despite best efforts until the end of the show.
The PML-N MNA would have been amused after finding that his own party stayed reluctant to name the Taliban despite issuing a hard-worded statement over the attack that sounds more of a lecture on ethics than required political actions. It is pertinent to mention that the PML-N’s official statement issued on Tuesday chose the word “attacker” for the Taliban much to the despise of people such as Ayaz Amir.
It’s a joyful time for the entire nation as Malala Yousufzai was said to be stable and her life is out of danger thanks to a successful operation by able doctors of the country. But it was yet to be seen whether the practitioners of politics and security apparatus would prove being as able as the doctors at the Combined Military Hospital of Peshawar.
The amount of rage the nation had shown after the dastardly attack on Malala Yousufzai has, in fact, brought the sympathisers of Taliban in society on the defensive. Those who have been accepting the argument of engaging the Taliban in meaningful negotiation for stability in the Tribal Areas would not like the exercise to be taken on gunpoint as happened before the military operation in Swat four years ago.
The anti-drone campaigners are now being forced, and rightly so, to state their position with complete clarity about the act of terrorism by the Taliban against military in the troubled regions and civilians in the rest of the country.
With Malala’s innocent smile likely to bring sooner than later a new life on the faces of this hapless nation, what was being also anxiously awaited was a decision to deal with the forces of darkness with an iron fist on the war front by the armed forces and on political front by the democratic forces to set in motion the much-required process of constitutionalism.