The launch pad


Sir: The government and the Taliban say they have agreed on a ‘launch pad’ for talks. My question is, where exactly are we being launched to and who is making the ship? Are we to launch into the dark of an eternal universe to confront the challenges of the future with rationality, science and mutual respect or are we launching towards a future of thugs roaming the streets beating women and forcing people to grow beards? It appears that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has forgotten that people voted for him based on their economic and political convictions, not their religious ideology. He should remember that concessions about the plurality and diversity of this country are not a part of his mandate. He should also remember where he comes from; not Saudi Arabia, but Lahore, the city of Sikhs, Sufis, saints, poets and lovers. We have lost too much of our precious diversity as it is; we are the Muslims of the subcontinent, not the handmaidens of Bedouins who owe their very existence to the colonial powers that ravaged this land. They have no mandate to rule, and Nawaz Sharif should mark that fact well.


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