Welcome move, as PTI stays in hiding
Peshawar be damned, or for that matter the whole province or even the country. That’s what Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) policy has been ever since it came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. Instead of going after those who have held the city hostage to terror for the last week, killing more than 140 people and injuring hundreds, the party still wants to negotiate with the terrorists. The party’s chairman Imran Khan has even reiterated that Taliban be allowed to open offices. As if letting them kill innocent citizens needed any official approval.
Three terror attacks within a week speak volumes about how deep the provincial government of PTI is concerned with the people’s security. This combined with the PTI’s chief’s statements of appeasement and his complete lack of condemnation of any killings carried out by the Taliban, are clearly in contravention of the so-called progressive and modern image. Things get even worse when one looks at how the federal government and its coalition partners are handling the issue of terrorism on the same lines as the PTI. Both the ANP and the PPP have been critical of how the PTI has failed in providing security to the people. Asif Ali Zardari has termed the blast “most barbaric, inhuman and reflecting the depraved mind of the militants”, and, rightly so, called for “a collective national response to uproot the extremists from our midst”. Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the state had “abdicated” its authority by declaring the militants as “stakeholders” in the peace process, adding that allowing them to open offices amounted to equating “the terrorists, murderers, rapists and dacoits with judges, lawyers and other segments of the society”. Political leadership, particularly the one in power, being in favour of going lenient on militants would be devastating for the country. Even more worrisome is the attitude of the JUI-F, which has made the issue a power play and wants the PTI government in the province removed for having failed to protect the citizens, conveniently forgetting that its chief is in the forefront along with the PTI for initiating peace talks with the terrorists – most of which are graduates of its madrassas.
The KP bureaucracy and police – apparently without any PTI blessing – is about to launch a targeted operation in Peshawar and other parts of the province. Provincial bureaucracy and security agencies will participate in the operation while the political leadership, as usual, appears to be in hiding. The operation, though belated, is good news. However, it was none other than the political leadership in whom the public reposed their trust by voting them into power. Unless the PTI changes its course, and shun appeasement and is seen to be leading the operation wholeheartedly, it would be too much to expect a demoralised police force to be able to perform miracles.