Black Tuesday

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S. Tariq

December 18, 2014/ 2 Comments

The sixteenth of December this year, added another shocking and tragic chapter to our national history. Memories of East Pakistan torn from us through an international conspiracy and the power-lust of ambitious politicians, were still vivid in the minds of my generation, when a terror attack was launched on a school in Peshawar, sniffing out one hundred and forty two lives – most of them children. My heart reaches out to the affected families of students and staff in their hour of bereavement, with the prayer that the Almighty give them strength to bear their devastating loss.

While the entire country mourned, the incident did what weeks of domestic political turmoil, government counter strokes and negotiations could not do – it pushed animosity on the back burner (albeit for the time being), and united all political forces against a common threat. However, the Peshawar incident, raised some stark questions related to the efficacy of security measures, even in areas considered to be protected and safe. Life must however, move on with renewed zeal and determination to make Pakistan a great country in the comity of nations, a country epitomizing peace, freedom and prosperity.

I can only hope that all political forces currently in confrontational mode, realize that Tuesday’s incident is also a window that must be kept open and utilized for the larger good of the country and its people. This realization must be tempered with the understanding that chasms within the national polity will breed national fragmentation, which will in turn weaken the very structure of the house that Jinnah built. It is these weaknesses that will be exploited by the enemy internally and externally.

It is a known fact that every Head of Government in Pakistan, whether dictatorial or democratic, has always been surrounded by sycophants and opportunists. These ‘courtiers’ spin a cocoon around the individual, feeding information that he or she wants to hear - offering advice that is aimed not at good national governance, but furtherance of their personal power. Gullible national leadership is soon made so dependent on this coterie of ‘yes men’ that it ceases to think for itself. Without realizing what is transpiring, the Prime Minister and the President become scapegoats and whipping boys for the utterances and actions of their ministers and advisors. Little do they know that the panacea to all their troubles lie in gathering ‘a few good men’, who will not subordinate national interests to personal gain. Both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are sons of the soil and therefore patriotic. A larger responsibility to address PTI concerns in a credible manner, rests on the shoulders of the former as it is he who is running the government and it is at his table that the ‘buck should stop’ and decisions be given.

It is therefore imperative that this moment be seized by the PM to initiate confidence building with the PTI. It is time that Mr. Nawaz Sharif stops listening to his macho-culture advisors and harkens to the voice of the people. It is time he announces the opening of the four constituencies initially demanded by the PTI and initiates the process of Electoral Reforms. Even if the result in the audited constituencies turns out adverse, the PML will only suffer a tiny dent with no effect on its mandate to rule. As an astute businessman, the PM must recognize the benefits that such a move will accrue – benefits that will bring stability and economic growth, coupled with the recognition of a friend from a foe.

It is a good omen that both the Prime Minister and Imran Khan acted wisely with regards to the extraordinary APC in the Governor House Peshawar, and one hopes that the same wisdom will be displayed to resolve issues that have plagued the nation in the post 2013 election period.

The writer is a freelance columnist

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