Opportunity cost of ambiguity
One way or the other, the security policy will need more clarity from this point forward. It’s not just that the international pressure is becoming overbearing. We’ve not been on the best of terms with Kabul and Delhi for a long time, but the cleavage with Washington, too, is not too far from becoming too wide to be bridged anytime soon. And memories of the ‘90s aren’t old enough to be completely forgotten yet; of how quickly after America abandons the region its warmth can turn into sanctions, etc.
It is, rather, that internal pressure is also building now. For far too long certain central aspects of the security policy have been shrouded in ambiguity. The Americans, along with the Afghans at least, have blamed this grey area for almost all setbacks in the terror war. Zarb-e-Azb has so far been an outstanding success. That is why special care must be taken to keep the narrative from being snatched away from us completely. Now the establishment must, finally, quantify certain specifics more clearly. What is the official position, for example, on some of the individuals and outfits that have some of our allies so worried? And who is really in charge, especially since it seems the government’s hands are tied in some respects, if certain controversial reports are to be believed.
Simply put, the ambiguity can no longer be maintained. Otherwise the silence will be taken as acceptance. And then the opportunity cost of this vagueness, at least, will have to be explained. In an existential war, in which most of the fifty-plus thousand dead have been civilians, the people have a right to know how those charged with protecting them are going about it. Rather than fight this development, the establishment should leverage it to show how it, too, is evolving.