CONSTITUTIONALLY, the PM is invested with executive authority to run the country. Apart from his own good sense and judgment, imperatives of statecraft guide his actions. Primarily, he performs his functions with effects remotely, not physically for understandable reasons. It is equally true for other high ranking functionaries; however, in the aftermath of carnage at Mach, a controversy erupted when PM Imran Khan declined to visit Quetta to meet bereaved families of victims before burial of dead bodies of their martyrs. It was the demand of protestors, sitting with their dead bodies since the day, tragedy was perpetrated upon. This was not the first of its kind. This was 9th time when Hazara community has been singled out for brutality and horror, however, he took it differently, aimed at considerations other than sympathy, support and assurance in their hour of grief.
With no meaning to belittle their shocking pain and exacting loss, the stance of the PM was not unfounded. It had logic which found audiences though not readily including Chairman of Hazara Democratic Party, Abdul Khaliq. Without mincing words, he described some demands of management of protest/sit in at contrast with what bereaved families were demanding. He also alleged that protests are being exploited by foreign intruders. The killing of 10 coal-miners in cold blood is a barbaric act. It was slaughtering of humanity heartlessly. Nation stood appalled as before because our hearts pulsate together. No amount of sorrow, sympathy and compensation could indemnify pain and loss caused to their kit and kin, however, as a society we need to watch out even when emotions are running high and ordeal is forbidding. We need to keep head particularly, by those who borne responsibilities of high offices, political leadership, opinion makers and more informed people. Possibly instant incident presented such a dilemma.
Undoubtedly, instant incident is a massacre, calling for condemnation in absolute terms and renewing all efforts to prevent its recrudescence, however, concatenation of protest/sit in across the country including conditional burial of dead bodies of martyrs was a proposition overdone particularly, when security situation has improved greatly in the country. There is not even an inch where there is no state writ. A few years ago, it was not so. There is a sharp decrease in the number of terrorist attacks of all kinds. There is no organized terrorist infrastructure left in the country, however, the possibility of sporadic terrorist attack(s) from Afghanistan exists because they have found refuge there under patronage of our enemies. They would not allow them to sit idle nevertheless, overall, our defence forces have won war against terrorism which in world, no one could do. It is a singular achievement, recognized by the world too, however, a shattering experience for our enemies. They wanted to destabilize Pakistan through terrorism, extremism and sectarianism like other Islamic countries: Iraq, Syria and Libya but failed here. These were our defence forces that stood on their way in deep bondage with the nation. Finally, they understood that for Pakistan to collapse, first it is its Army which has to collapse. Eventually, it is now their prime target and hybrid warfare is the mean and our arch enemy, India is in forefront with a foothold in Afghanistan.
Again it is India which is behind the bloodbath at Mach. It was a craftily selected target, being more combustible owing to sectarian mix. Indians must have danced while seeing us doing what they wanted; bashing of our men in uniform. There were two types of demands by protesters; legal demands and illegal demands. The government took no time to accept former demands but obviously, could not conciliate with other one. This prolonged the agony and kept the issue on spotlight which is always a fond staple of any terrorist network. Reportedly, illegal demands also included demand with bearing over our security apparatus. Potentially, this could have damaged trust about them and demoralization of its rank and file was another dimension. This is what India wants desperately. Arguably, illegal demands must have prompted Imran Khan not to glorify them by visiting Quetta until burial is performed. Unfortunately, mainstream opposition parties also joined the chorus for reasons best known to them, however, it is a mystery how their utterances coincide with Indian agenda and collide with national interests. By and large, the nation gave countenance to what Imran Khan suggested to diffuse the crisis. Basically, it was the strength of logic and truth of what our defence forces have done, not only on the security domain but also almost on all planes to salvage Pakistan multiply. They are determined to stay at course undeterred. Latest examples are their role in Coronavirus pandemic and locust attack beyond their designation.
Without any fear of doubt or contradiction, India is behind terrorism and other anti-state activities inside Pakistan. Dossiers on Indian involvement have also been given to the UN. Besides, the government is making concerted efforts to expose Indian ulterior motives, however, so far, this has failed to drill sense in their head. This won’t happen until the cost of their mischief is raised to unacceptable level as Pakistan did when it adventured in Balakot area. Since then, false flag operations have become history. Instead it has intensified its efforts to bleed Pakistan internally and thwart CPEC. This brings Imran Khan in as PM to act with effects in order to balance the equation. Is it enough diplomatically which his government is doing or does the devil needs to be given a dose of its own medicine. This is an urgent task for him because laxity has implications of its own for the nation.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col, is a senior columnist based in Islamabad.