Ali Ashraf Khan
THERE is unanimity on the fact that the Quetta carnage could take place only because of the slow, hesitant and incomplete implementation of the National Action Plan that had been agreed upon after the Peshawar school attack with the consensus of all political parties, but could not go on full speed because of missing dedication of the administration creating – among others- financial constraints. Did the Finance Ministry had its own justifications for creating that hurdle or was it a politically motivated move to keep national security at risk? How many such events we need to witness before the government wakes up and takes decisive action? Ruling the country or even influencing its policy and decision making from abroad is another thing that this government is practicing. It is unheard of in the international frame and it sets a bad example for others to rule per video conference! How can you resist parties be run from abroad when you are doing same?
An example policy is our foreign policy about which many complaints have been voiced but nothing much has been changed. On side lines of UN General Assembly meeting PM advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Ambassador to UN Maliha Lodhi were projecting themselves to have delivered some dozier prepared at Islamabad to expose Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan and elsewhere. Many months have gone and we heard no follow-up or any reminder to UN Secretariat in this regard.
Soon after that an Indian navy officer Gulbashen Yadev was arrested from Balochistan having multiple passports, maps and some connections of his working in Iran were detected. He revealed during investigation of running a network of RAW operatives spread to whole of Pakistan, security agencies have nabbed many of them, but the federal government has remained tight lipped on the issue and has not protested with the Indian government or booked him and his accomplices to face the bar of justice in Pakistan. It was for the first time that the Chief Minister of Balochistan was blaming this spy as the main culprit for terrorist attacks in Quetta.
Another example for the dismal state of government affairs is the slow and inadequate progress in the implementation of CPEC. The Chinese who have come forward to invest huge amounts of money in our country must be disgusted by the way the Pakistan government is handling the implementation and the hullabaloo between provinces for western and eastern routes. Those who happen to visit Gwadar recently are surprised over the slow pace of development; Federal and provincial govts are not doing what they should have done, only army teams are busy in road network development and refurbishing of the administrative establishment, no blue print of proposed economic zones alongside corridor appears to be another forgotten dream.
Missing transparency and the fact that nobody has seen the real agreement about CPEC and the routes make many believe that this is another way of the government for corruption and making money by including and excluding certain territories and businesses in the plan. CPEC should be used in the first place to decrease the development gap of our smaller provinces thus the western route has to take priority. The inclusion of FATA would mean better economic prospects for repatriated IDPs which has to be another serious priority of Pakistan. This government is well on the way towards damaging this once-in-a-lifetime project that China has offered to Pakistan. This should not be allowed!
But the problem is that our government and leaders cannot differentiate between their personal interests and national interest of Pakistan. They never grasped the realty that Pakistan can only form into a nation when the leadership is treating all Pakistanis and provinces as equal members of nation. There are no nations by themselves; as it has been rightly said nations are imagined communities. In order to exist they have to be imagined by their members. But imagination fails proposed members of our nation when they are disregarded, displaced and living in abject poverty without education, healthcare and clean drinking water.
The way this country is run destroys its national coherence and leaves people and provinces open to enemy incursions. It is thus endangering the very existence of Pakistan. PML (N) is ruling in Balochistan but anti-federation propaganda is at its peak, that speaks about the dis-connect of provincial government and their coalition partners to create national harmony and unity. With all this mismanaged state of law and order, confusion is becoming more confounded. Last but not the least the situation as it is promoted by the politicians trading serious allegations by irresponsible utterances in and outside Parliament call for full-fledged action on the National Action Plan that has been side lined for political expediency. The 18th amendment if it is an excuse for the implementation of NAP should be put in abeyance by Parliament.
Immediate measures on the following steps agreed in National Action Plan be put into force forthwith if we are serious in eradication of street and economic terrorism: (1). Implement and take action on sentences passed by special courts those withheld due to superior court orders, which need to be decided in a given timeframe. (2). Establish military courts, an action which is in limbo due to clipping their wings. By transfering cases from military courts to civilian ones where the cases will rott forever. Why should the military courts function for only two years while there are more then 11000 cases to be finalised? (3). Disarm all militia groups and private armies throughout the country. (4). NACTA established since day one is also still waiting for release of funds of Rs. 21 billion, while government has released more then Rs. 500 Billion for orange line buses; metro transport projects and Kisan package.
The first Board of Governors meetings of NACTA has not been held since long due to other priorities of our rulers. (5). Take action to clip spread of extremism through media and public meetings. (6). Discover the trail of funding to all these terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan and take stern action against their facilitators including DR Aasim. Only than we can hope to return to our lost dream of peace and prosperity and live in cohesion with all federating units to live up to idea of August 14. A true leader is required to lead the nation by hand till their feet are sure and they know their way. God bless Pakistan and Humanity.
—The writer is a senior columnist based in Karachi.