Ominous signs


SEVERAL developments unfolding on Wednesday are being viewed as ominous signs for the overall situation in the country, which might become precarious in the coming days due to extreme polarization and inflexible postures adopted by different players.

The presser of Faisal Vawda, a PTI stalwart and former Federal Minister added new dimensions to the cold-blooded murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya besides raising alarm bells about safety and security of the people during the party’s long march to Islamabad.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has lamented that the PTI leader was playing a dangerous game while the Supreme Court, in its own wisdom, declined the request of the Federal Government for an interim order to restrain PTI from holding the long march.

There is no doubt that the killing of the anchor-person sent shock-waves across the country but it is all the more regrettable that some circles are exploiting the murder to settle political scores.

It takes considerable time to get to the bottom of such deplorable killings but these circles started pointing accusing fingers towards the Establishment immediately after the spread of the news story about the tragic incident in Kenya.

They assumed accusatory posture despite the availability of the official version from the Kenyan police that Arshad was killed in a police shootout.

Similarly, the condolence messages were promptly issued both by the civilian and military leadership and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif spoke by telephone to Kenyan President William Ruto emphasizing the need for an impartial inquiry into the killing incident and urgent arrangements for transportation of the dead body to Pakistan.

The Prime Minister did not stop at that and announced a judicial inquiry besides formation of a joint investigation team, which has since departed for Kenya to probe the murder.

Under these circumstances, the logic demands patience and wait for the outcome of the JIT probe and findings of the Judicial Commission but unfortunately there is no end to the speculative statements aimed at creating confusion about the incident.

In this backdrop, the statement of Faisal Vawda assumes great significance and we hope the investigators and the Judicial Commission would give it due consideration besides summoning all those who claim to be aware of the conspiracy to kill the journalist.

Vawda has rejected the accusations that the Establishment or some unknown institution could be involved in the murder and asserted that a person was “conspiring” against the slain journalist and he had informed PTI Chairman Imran Khan about this “conspirator”.

He also claimed that the conspiracy was hatched by those who wanted to create instability and chaos in the country.

Nowhere in the civilized world are wild allegations levelled against state institutions including the defence forces as is being done in Pakistan.

In a way, this is a gross misuse of social media as well as the right of freedom of expression.

What do we want to gain by trying to tarnish the image and reputation of our national institutions?

The firm statement of the former Minister that the PTI long march would “witness bloodshed, death and funerals” should also serve as a source of concern for all those who bear the responsibility to protect the lives of the people on executive, judicial or political front.

This is because Vawda, who is an insider, said that “important and common” people’s deaths will take place in the long march, adding that there were “ulterior motives” behind the march to Islamabad.

It is, therefore, the duty of not just the federal government but also other institutions to play their role in ensuring rule of law and establishing the writ of the state.

There is no bar on political activities, therefore, peaceful protests and demonstrations cannot be stopped but at the same time no attempt should be tolerated to create law and order situation and that too at a time when the country has resumed its journey on the road to economic normalization.

There are high level visits to and from some friendly countries with bright prospects of Pakistan clinching good deals to help expedite its march on the road to progress and this process must not be allowed to be undermined.

Apart from the Government, it is the also responsibility of the organizers and sponsors to ensure that the protest remains orderly and peaceful from the starting point to the disbursal stage.


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