By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam
20 May 2013
Pakistan Muslims League (Nawaz) and PTI partially agree that their federal and KPK’s provincial governments would take concrete measures against terrorism and would secure success by negotiating with the terrorists and sectarians (present all over the country) to give up extremism, terrorism and sectarianism. This is apparently understandable, as before elections, Taliban have offered to negotiate with the government of Pakistan provided that the guarantors would be PML (N), JUI (F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) but the precondition of their disarmament would not be the basis of these negotiations.
After elections PML (N) has got required number of seats to form federal government and has got seats not only in Baluchistan but in KPK as well to be a part of in any ruling alliance. Taliban did not consider PTI at that time worthier to be their guarantor, but due to PTI’s position about drone attacks and Imran Khan’s sturdy stance about NATO forces as well as American government they did not have to face any resistant from Taliban. JUI or JI would not hesitate to be in permanent alliance with PTI or PML (N) in KPK so that in the province, they would be able to avoid resistance from the powerful Taliban. For PML (N), JI is not indispensable in federal government but PML (N)’s leadership does not want to ignore PTI there.
The most mired is PTI, though formation of government would be relatively easy, but to govern in such intertwined situation would be very difficult, for which PTI don’t have a visible beforehand strategy. PTI ‘s expected chief minister Pervaiz Khatak hinted in an interview with BBC that neither Talibanisation is a danger nor he consider it a problem, but he has to take support of negotiations to end terrorism.
Let’s see, Taliban the symbol of terrorism, without which none of their strategy is moved forward offer what kind of “Cooperation” to the allied government of PTI and JI in KPK.
As a part of opposition or being out of government burden of such responsibilities can not be felt but the responsibility has to be taken (though unwillingly) being a part of the government. For example, the enemy of drone attacks PTI; neither has the mandate to stop drone attacks being a provincial government nor it can be perceived from the lineaments and particulars of the expected federal government that it would resist drone attacks or make any such arrangements to stop these attacks. Latest news is that America would continue its previous policies about drone attacks and tribal areas. If American policy and the drone attacks continue and at the same time the Pro-Taliban parties remain in power from federal to provincial government, the situation would not be hard to imagine.
There is only one possibility that JI, PTI and Taliban spokesman Ihsan-Ullah Ihsan hold a joint press conference, condemn drone attacks and declare it as an open aggression against Muslim world and demand that, it should be stopped immediately. On the other hand Nawaz Sharif has successfully appeared to be a leader of a true democratic party and being prime minister would try his level best to resolve the problems of Pakistan. But Mian Sahib and associates have all their attention towards the resolution of economic problems of Pakistan which is off course very important and utmost requirement. But it can’t be doubted that Pakistan’s economic turmoil is directly linked to terrorism and deteriorated conditions of law and order. It is impossible to bring economic stability in Pakistan without improving law and order situation.
The previous government of PML (N) in Punjab ignored the serious problem of terrorism and sectarianism up to some extent and it avoided many problems due to the engagement of extremists with the central government. Even at one occasion it slipped from Shehbaz Sharif’s tongue that there is no difference of policies between them and Taliban, he also demanded from the Taliban that they should not operate in Punjab. Despite this everyone knows that Punjab is the biggest manpower producer for the Taliban and the previous provincial government helped financially and in court matters to a declared sectarian and Taliban ally the leader of Lashker-e-Jhangawi Malik Ishaq. During last elections in Punjab armed militias of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashker-e-Jhangawi rendered their services for the success of PML (N)’s candidates and this time many of the leaders of banned outfit have been elected on the plate form of PML (N).
An evident example is of Abid Raza Kotla who comes from a traditional animosity ridden family of Abdul Malik Kotla of Gujarat and has been elected on PML (N)’s ticket. It should be noted that Abid Raza Kotla has been facing charges of sectarian murders and charges of involvement in a suicide attack on Pervaiz Musharraf, since he had relationship with Chuadary Shujaat’s family so he was rescued. Now this young man is an elected member of national assembly on PML (N)’s ticket and is ever more powerful.
It would be difficult to say whether new government would be able to prevent sectarianism and terrorism but there would be some clear changes in its patterns. Sectarian conflicts would arise in Pakistan and some controversial bills would be presented in national assembly. Sine sectarians are gaining political power gradually with the passage of time so it would be difficult to control them. They would be allowed special privileges in KPK and would be more comfortable in Punjab as their associates would be directly in the authority and it would be easy for them to influence police and manipulate courts.
The tragedy is that no political party has a plan to eradicate sectarianism and most of the political parties consider it a ripple of the activities of foreign governments. Indigenous reasons of sectarianism and extremism are overlooked. For example no political party can demand to change the sectarian and extremist syllabus of religious seminaries and can not control such people who continue sectarianism by act and speech. Neither sectarians nor extremists can be prevented from fund raising and elements involved in local level crime can not be controlled. This is a difficult time when newly elected government of Pakistan would face tough and complicated problems. Let’s see whether these ambitious parties would be able to bring a change or not?
Mujahid Hussain is Brussels Bureau Chief of New Age Islam. He is author of nine books including the recently published book ‘Punjabi Taliban’. He has been writing for various newspapers as an investigative journalist for the last two decades. His writings cover a wide range of issues involving Pakistan. In recent years, local, regional and international affairs relating to terrorism and security have been the subject of his study.