July issue 2017

By | Newsbeat National | Published 3 months ago

Operation Zarbe Azb. The National Action Plan. The National Counter-Terrorism Authority. Has everything come to naught? How does one explain the killing of over a 100 Shias in three deadly attacks (January 22, April 1 and June 23) in Parachinar over the last six months?

To simply describe it as “the work of hostile neighbours to divide Pakistan from within,” amounts to turning a blind eye to a festering problem. And to brand social media activists “anti-state” for pointing to the repeated failures of the state apparatus to provide security to the Shias, on the grounds that they are ridiculing the army, is ridiculous.

When your interior minister tells the Senate to desist from equating sectarian outfits with terrorist outfits, and fails to rein in groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that have claimed responsibility for killing hundreds of Shias in the past, you have already lost the battle against sectarianism.

It was left to the army chief to assuage flared tempers in Parachinar, while the prime minister cooled his heels in London – to avoid the heat generated by Panama back home. He also stopped in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. To mediate the Qatar crisis, said a PML-N spokesperson; not true, said Qatari officials, much to the PM’s embarrassment.

The Joint Investigation Team’s judgement on the Panama case in yet to be announced, but the PM is already casting aspersions on it, through his assorted minions. A big deal was made of a leaked photo of one of the PM’s sons sitting in the JIT court, and of daughter Maryam Nawaz, a woman(!!!), being asked to make an appearance before the JIT.

One person who appears extremely delighted at the PM’s discomfiture is Asif Zardari. Incidentally, his own uneasiness with the word ‘accountability’ is pretty obvious from his latest move to get the Sindh Assembly to strike down the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999. A bill is being introduced in the next Sindh Assembly session to ensure that corrupt politicians are henceforth not proceeded against.

And that’s not all. The Sindh IG’s wings have been further clipped: he will no longer be allowed to hire, fire or post senior police officials. Mr. AZ is securing all his flanks.

Meanwhile, the “untested” kid on the block is welcoming all the “tried and tested” turncoats from the PPP and PML-N into his fold, as he awaits The Verdict. And if his biggest supporter Sheikh Rashid, of the one-man party AML, is to be believed, all of Salmaan Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri’s supporters will be voting for PTI in the next elections.

So, will this be the Naya Pakistan Imran Khan’s die-hard supporters are rooting for?

Footnote: In this abysmal scenario if there was anyone who rang a note of cheer, it was the Pakistan Cricket Team, who brought the ICC Champions Trophy home. Interestingly, the captain in his congratulatory tweet to the team did not fail to add the ‘C’ word:

“Pakistan have defeated India to became #CT17 Champions. Now the whole nation awaits the defeat of the corrupt mafia.”

 

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.

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