Living in wonderland

EDITORIAL:Frontier Post
Is the prime minister living in the real world or in some wonderland, a world of his own make-believe? He says neither the government would permit state within state or parallel courts in the country. Goodness, can you beat it? Is he too ignorant to know or are the hideous ground realities too bitter for him to admit? Leave aside North and South Waziristan and a big chunk of the tribal areas? Leave aside whose writ runs there, the militants’ or the state’s? Hasn’t the ANP-led Frontier government with the Centre’s consent ceded state authority to Sultan Sufi Mohammad’s Malakand caliphate in these very days? Hasn’t it acquiesced to a parallel judicial system’s establishment in Malakand under that spiritual imposter and an unvarnished obscurant’s superintendence? Isn’t that charlatan braying loudly that it is he who alone will appoint Qazi courts’ judges and it is who will vet their judgements? And isn’t it that Swat is now under the rule of his son-in-law Fazlullah’s gun? And haven’t the state functionaries, including security personnel, to abide by the rules of movement laid out by that Swati thug or have to face the consequences, as indeed they have in many an instance? So who is the prime minister kidding and is dishing out such a churlish braggadocio with such a straight face without any inhibition or compunction and without batting even an eyelid? Dos he think our people are so nincompoops and dimwits that they would chew his boast, with no questions asked and with no eyebrow raised, that the government’s writ would be ensured at all costs? Aren’t they seeing with their own eyes the state’s writ shrinking and the militants’ expanding? After establishing their rule in Swat, the Swati thug’s gunmen have conquered Buner and entered into Shangla to bring it too under their sway. And yet the prime minister would have it believed that his government would not let its authority to be tampered with. What a laughable brag is this! There indeed is a terrible hiatus with the present lot of rulers, both at the centre and in the provinces. The non-issues they remain engrossed in; the real issues they just shrug off or give a short shrift to. And none seems to be really any alive at all to the enormity of the existential threat to this country being posed viciously by extremists, militants and terrorists at the behest of their foreign paymasters and masterminds. What needs to be dealt with by a very hard-boiled thinking, incisively farsighted policies, and exceptionally tough decisions and actions is being sought to be tackled playfully with empty sloganeering and foolish populism. On a platter, the ANP has handed over Swat to a spiritual swindler and his wicked son-in-law, and is now watching helplessly as his brigands are fanning out to the neighbouring districts from where, make no mistake about it, they will advance to other territories. And, appallingly, the inexplicably-vain prime minister’s government has as yet not even a strategy to withstand the onslaught of these advancing hordes of vile Fazlullah, nor has it a policy to counter extremism and terrorism, visibly ascendant all over the country. It is not just the tribal areas that are in the militancy’s tight grip; the Frontier province is in flames for the most part. Punjab, too, is coming under its vicious clouds. Karachi is precariously living in its shadows. And Balochistan is in a state of insurgency. Yet, the prime minister is behaving as if it is all hunky-dory throughout the country; and if at all there is a problem, it is mere pinpricks and minor irritants that could be dealt with routinely. He doesn’t give sense if at all he has any measure of the immensity of the existential threat staring the nation in the face. The people are aghast. They are despondent. Their sense of insecurity is spiralling sky-high. And they are feeling utterly hapless and helpless. And they have lost all hope, even in the military to protect them from the wicked terrorists’ and militants’ thuggery. Can you imagine citizens in a functional state asking the military not to intervene and let them to live under the militants’ thumbs, as are the residents of Buner and Shangla, fearing the army would fail to subdue the wild gunmen as it had in Swat, leaving them to face horrific consequences like their Swati cousins at the thugs’ vengeful hands? And yet the prime minister has the gumption to brag his government would come down heavy on the Swati thugs if they violate the ANP-pioneered accord with the devious Sufi. But when? Visibly, not only have they actually trashed that stupid accord in every manner, they are now making its use to spread out near and afar, too. The prime minister must understand critical gigantic issues like the existential threat the nation is presently confronted with cannot by unraveled by mumbling pious vows of “resolves” and “determinations”. They need powerful actions which can come about only by combining up the state’s civil and military powers under a no-nonsense policy and strategy. That should happen right now. Tomorrow will be too late. He must leave aside his pet Punjab project, for the time being. Instead, he must attend to the Pakistan project, in all earnestness.
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Dated: Saturday, April 25, 2009, Rabi-us-Sani 28, 1430 A.H.

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