Freedom in peril

Marria Qibtia S Nagra

Terrorism will continue to be Pakistan’s gravest conundrum, imperilling its security and freedom, unless practically crucial counter-terrorism measures are not taken to thwart it. This is what the recently harrowing terrorist attack on Civil Hospital Quetta that left around 70 innocent civilians’ dead and another 100 badly injured, has pertinently reiterated. The pain caused by tragic episode further excruciates since , this time around the terrorists decided to strike us in the month of August , a month which for the entire world may be another month in the lunar calendar, but which for every Pakistani around assumes a sacred posture, since it breathes in us the legacy of our ancestors, our forefathers, who fought with Dunkirk’s spirit, and the valiance of a lion, who by refusing to bog down before the cunningness of the British and the Backstabbing politics of the Hindus , gave us a land we could call our very own , A land which we all call Pakistan: the land of the pure.
Our ancestors envisioned a free space for us, going against all odds, since they did not expect us to share the fate of the oppressed communities of the world. We could have been another Kashmir that has since the last sixty-nine years been embroiled in a cyclical tragic crisis of epic proportions. A region that stands wounded, has bled and still bleeds. We could have just been another numerical addition to the victims of apathy for the human rights watch dogs. Or we could have shared the terrible fate of the Palestinians, being bombed every single day, our women dishonoured, our children’s innocence stolen, our lives a Dantesque hell. But our antecedents wanted to bestow us with a land where peace would blossom flowers of tolerance. Where we would be able to breathe non-stiflingly, without the fear of unnamed lurking monsters preying upon the blood of innocent lives.
Our predecessors would not have prognosticated the heart wrenching demise of thousands of innocent Pakistanis in the war on terror. Little would they have known, that today it stands as a state, grappling with hordes of crisis of which terrorism tops the list, imperilling the freedom of Pakistan. It is ironic to note that freedom is acquired by engaging in a conflict, by encountering distressing episodes of ignominy but its sustenance is ensured through peace and amity. Freedom is the lifeline of Pakistan and its defence can only be brought about when we endeavour to safeguard peace in our state.
It is this very threat to the peace of our land that endangers the sustainability of the freedom of our beloved motherland. And this threat comes from none other than our faulty approaches towards dealing with petrifying national crisis with an iron hand. There are a few areas of concern that need visitation, for Pakistan to successfully root out elements that risk the freedom of the state. Firstly, the National Action Plan which was instituted with much alacrity following the APS Peshawar Tragedy 2014, must be implemented in true letter and spirit. Though one and a half years have passed by since its institution, little progress has been witnessed in its implementation. Be it the much-needed registration of religious seminaries, or the registration of Afghan refugees, little seems to have been practically accomplished under the banner of NAP.
Secondly, it is high time that the government stops regarding some incidents of violence as tolerable and others as intolerable. Violence is violence, irrespective of the magnanimity of repercussions its adherence results in. Be it the kidnapping of innocent, credulous flowers from the province of Punjab or the target killings of commoners in Sindh, all such violent episodes should garner the same level of attention and response from the leadership. For this a uniform modus operandi to handling situations of flagrancy is the need of the hour. It is a well-established fact that target killings in Karachi have reduced by 55% since the commencement of Rangers operation. Conducting operations of similar dynamics in other provinces will not only usher in peace but will also thwart violence breeding belts, primarily in Southern Punjab.
Thirdly, the leadership needs to assume a blatantly strong posture towards the Indian threat. India time and again through its hawkish intentions continues to backstab Pakistan in the direst of moments. Was not it only last year that the Indian President Modi, made explicit the war mongering diplomatic policy of India towards Pakistan when on his visit to Dhaka University, he affirmed the fact that India had been a major participant in the crisis of the East Pakistan?
Or do we have no proof of India supporting the separatist elements in Balochistan through the infiltration of its spies? Was not the arrest of the Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav from Balochistan a grave manifestation of the intrusive Indian foreign policy? Or were not the recurrent violations at the LoC’s and Indian COAS remarks that India is ready for a “short and swift war’ with its neighbours, something we have forgotten? Despite all these pertinent revelations, why do we still exhibit an ephemeral retaliation to overt Indian advances?
Finally, we as a nation need to realize the fact that it is internal cohesion that exonerates violence be it in any form. A wholly collective approach will breed a conducive ambience to countering the existential terror threat that Pakistan faces. It is time our leadership does away with divisive policies aimed at meeting personal political ends and unite against the menacing agenda of the enemies of the state. This August should be a watershed season for Pakistan, instilling in its people the dictums of unity and amity, imparted by none other than Jinnah, the father of the nation. Since unity is not only a panacea to the existential ills of Pakistan but is also our only promise to a burgeoning and auspicious Pakistan.
— The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore. She has a profound interest in English literature, psychology & IR.

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