Barriers to way Forward | Iftikhar Ahmad

Prime minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of India’s fanning terrorism in Pakistan at the up-coming session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). During foreign secretary level talks held on March 3, 2015 in Islamabad, the foreign secretary of Pakistan had raised the issue of RAW’s activities and identified the areas where India was intruding through its spy agency RAW.

The senate standing committee on defence had strongly condemned Indian defence minister’s provocative and irresponsible statement a public admission, tantamount to confession of the government of India pursuing a policy of state sponsored terrorism. That India aids and abets terrorism has serious implications for all of its neighbours, particularly Pakistan. Being the major victim of terrorism in the region, Pakistan is engaged in a national struggle to combat and crush terrorism.

The issue is of India sponsored terrorism that is interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and an attack on the sovereignty of a country that has always desired peaceful and friendly relations with its big neighbor. Both countries are nuclear armed. If attitudes do not change in favour of greater cooperative effort for peace, the consequences can be disastrous.

Perhaps, the international community is not fully informed about the Hindu religious extremism and violence based Indian politics. Maybe the President of the United States and the world forums like the United Nations Security Council, the O.I.C and the European Union could be approached for their intervention to better Pak-India relations.

Jonathan Power recently wrote, “President Barack Obama has done, the US and the world a great service by denouncing both the war and torture.” If the United States under Barack Obama can make peace with Cuba and possibly with Iran, why could it not be for India to end its hostile attitude towards Pakistan in the interest of the poor of the two countries? Hopefully this issue will be discussed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets President Obama in Washington this year. Bilateralism with India has failed. Third party intervention has become vital for peace in the region.

Countries around the globe must evolve new parameters now that could help build bridges of friendship and productive interaction for peace that addresses issues of diversity and unity as well as autonomy in an environment of cooperation and mutual understanding. Prejudices and misperceptions are not the way forward to welfare and the needed support to effort for development and international peace and security.

We can trust observable and verifiable fact and truth that is universally acceptable within limits of cultural norms and attitudes toward cultural differences. There is a need to address crises and issues that threaten communities from within and from outside. What is happening around us needs to be understood in a framework of effective strategy looking at the events and people and their relationships within a given socio-political environment reflecting on sociological imagination.

Analysis needs to consider the whole range of possibilities as well as ambiguities and uncertainties. Desired outcomes can be made possible through understanding linkages that exist between and among factors, dynamics as well as regions that could provide guidance for effective action and problem solving. Confusion and disconnect can’t be a way forward. Understanding opportunities and threats and effective situational analysis is what we need locally as well as in the broader international social-political and economic crises and conflicts.

Scientific approach to understanding complex issues of extremism and terrorism impacting Pakistan requires an objective view of all possible dimensions of the menace cutting at the roots of our society. National Action Plan requires more effective and comprehensive strategy of counter terrorism. Terrorist threat has to be eliminated with full force, whatever the source. Why should time be wasted on unwanted debates when consensus to proceed with planning and action exists and is strongly endorsed by all quarters in the national interest?

There is need for the civil and military leadership to continue to work in the close coordination that has been on display. The whole nation values the COAS’s words on state institutions playing their role in our existential struggle against terrorists and fanatics that are threat to our society. Pro-Active strategy and realistic approach can make Pakistan proud of itself.

Focus should be on task accomplishment and not on unrelated issues. Unnecessary and pointless debates in Pakistan have damaged our national interest and carried us away from the effort to focus on real issues. Government and the people need to deliberate jointly and cooperatively for positive and meaningful outcome.

Disturbing thoughts are unending. Everything, every event and incident in my country is unfortunately politicized. Vested interests are always upto mischief. Things are likely to go wrong, as long the tendency is to part with reason and logic. Conflict and negative attitudes cause problems. Something seems to be seriously wrong with the Socialization process reflecting on the dysfunctionality of primary and secondary social institutions particularly, the family and educational institutions. We need to analyze Pakistan’s problems and the roots of the problems for effective management of our national affairs with focus on internal as well as external barriers.

Character building seems to have been neglected. Personality traits required of a healthy and progressive society have not been developed. As a consequence we come across lack of ethics, distasteful behaviours, hypocrisy and failure to draw a line of demarcation between right and wrong. Lack of discipline, civic sense, empathy, tasteful behaviours and positive attitudes are the causes of most of our problems, directly or indirectly, including: poverty, ignorance, disease, crime – particularly violence and crowd behavior.

If a mob attacks the police and officials on duty are not protected or authorized to use force what do they do? Research indicates that police is on top of the list of government departments under intense pressure especially because of work conditions, political environment and interference and politicization of the police. For effective performance neutral bureaucracy is the answer in addition to disciplining our politics and politicians.

The police and the law-abiding people at the mercy of unruly mobs need protection. The sellers of law and the protectors of law have a problem that needs to be settled with the help of visionary leadership. Street politics and the vandalism have immensely damaged the state of Pakistan.

If everything is handled in the ambit of the law and the constitution peace will return to our cities. No one has the right to damage public property and to play with the sanctity of the state institutions. These are acts of terrorism and nothing less. All efforts should be made to shun creating unrest and discomfort for the peaceful citizens. Political elements, groups or parties that invoke shameful behaviours and abet criminals must be taken to task. Rumours harm national interest while country is in state of war. What is good for our Army is good for Pakistan.

Following the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement, the Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif has said, Pakistan’s ‘enemies’ were supporting terrorism in their efforts to destabilise the country. Pakistan will not allow any country to use proxies against it.


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