A deadly attack on Monday exposed an unsettling reality for the whole world to see. A reality that shows us even the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not safe.
Ironically, the attack came in the backdrop of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar’s assurance a few days back that reports about terrorist sleeper cells in Islamabad did not merit serious consideration.
Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t disappoint the nation yet again by not ruling out a foreign hand in this latest act of savagery. This is despite the fact that the attack was claimed by the militant outfit Ahrarul Hind.
For Pakistan, the most important thing should be Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s statement after the Islamabad terror attack. He says that the United States (US) wants a military operation in North Waziristan and that it wants Pakistan to act against the Haqqani Network. Something the PTI leader believes is not in Pakistan’s interest, as it will cause a reaction.
Khan appears to be confident that the recent ceasefire announced by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has shelved a full-scale military offensive against the militant group. His position on the operation comes a day after he had voiced his joy over the ceasefire announced by the TTP, saying that they had authenticated his stance that dialogue was the only option.
Is this a clear expression favoring ‘strategic depth’ and the post-2014 game plan? Maybe.
Khan’s statements and stance leaves no doubt in the minds of the discerning lot that the PTI Tsunami was manufactured to democratize the ‘Security State’ and lend a greater charm to the otherwise bland flag bearers of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC).
Certainly, the first breakthrough of the dialogue process – the bilateral declaration of holding fire – has also emboldened the Kaptaan (captain), as he is now able to reiterate his stance more openly.
Firstly, Khan has indirectly acknowledged the presence of the Haqqani Network on Pakistani soil, even though it has always been an open secret. Can anyone question him on how a sovereign state could allow foreigners the use of its territory for purposes like terrorism, jihad or freedom struggle?
Khan should also express his take on East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and others, as Pakistan and China in a joint communiqué after President Mamnoon’s recent visit to Beijing described it as a threat to the whole region. And if he endorses this bilateral stance, then what is the reason behind his dual position? If the Haqqani Network isn’t evil, then ETIM should also be allowed to enjoy the same status.
Secondly, in Khan’s opinion, any action against the Haqqanis clashes with Pakistan’s interests. Wait a minute, Mr Khan. Are you saying they are free to use our soil? Don’t they, along with other militants, have complete control over an administrative unit of Pakistan called North Waziristan – also described by the TTP as an Emirate? Why it is not in Pakistan’s interest to retake part of its territory?
If the Pakistani Taliban consider North Waziristan an Emirate, then what exactly is it that the Afghans are doing there? Surely, they have same objectives. In that case, does he agree with them? If the Emirate is a joint venture of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, then there should not be any distinction of good and bad. In case there is still some, the Kaptaan is requested to explain it to the people of Pakistan and put to an end all the uncertainty and confusion.
It appears as though Khan has no objection whatsoever to the presence of the Haqqani Network, so one can assume he has similar views about the Quetta Shura and other expressions of jihad business.
Can I ask just one last series of questions? How will he respond to the international impression that there are safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan? Does he want to see Pakistan completely isolated?
And before I forget, where is the interior minister? Or the information minister?
Why have they failed to take notice of Khan’s press talk aired by a number of TV channels? Do they agree with Khan just the way they share with him unanimity over views on the War on Terror?
But I must withdraw my queries. If the Lal Masjid cleric can go on air and declare the Pakistan Constitution un-Islamic then Khan is a greater media attraction.