September Issue 2015

By | News & Politics | Published 9 years ago

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Just when you thought you saw light at the end of the Indo-Pak tunnel, the sound of gunfire reverberated across the borders. It was back to black, a road to nowhere.

Human casualties aside, the other immediate victim of the new impasse: the National Security Advisers’ Meeting scheduled for late August in New Delhi.

Pakistan’s adamancy on meeting with Kashmiri Hurriyet leaders prior to the talks, and India’s obdurate refusal on that score, effectively stymied any substantive confidence-building between the two nations. Inevitably, already uncertain trade relations fell by the wayside. And hopes for some kind of cricket diplomacy were sent for a six.

The rhetorical roadblocks in Indo-Pak lines of communication are now only too-real barriers, with cross-border travel in a choke-hold, as visa processes become ever-more stringent.

Meanwhile, the envisaged dawning of a new age of Pak-Afghan relations following the regime change in the neighbouring country and a new military/ideological dispensation at home, suddenly descended into an all-too familiar dusk. Bomb blasts on that side of the Durand Line and the murder of soldiers in a Pakistani checkpost on this, engendered angry responses from both countries. With the India-friendly, Pakistan-bashing Abdullah Abdullah poised to acquire power in the musical-chairs system of governance in Afghanistan, chances are it will be back to the future: distant neighbours, deathly embraces.

Clearly, in politics there are no BFFs.

At home, the JUI-F and MQM became new bedfellows — both clearly hoping the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Will they (the MQM), won’t they return to the Assemblies. Given the relatively muted reaction to the party legislators’ resignations, the question is, does anyone really care?

Also on the home front, Imran Khan had his victory — he proved irregularity in the general elections on three seats —  and bowled out the National Assembly Speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq,  Muhammad Siddique Baloch and Khwaja Saad Rafiq.

Clearly, some pigeons are  coming home to roost. And it is not just the election tribunals that are doing the roosting. The National Accountability Bureau seems to have reinvigorated itself, and many of those recently having exited the corridors of power, and some still striding them, appear increasingly edgy — the prospect of being touched by the long arm of the law?

This  accountability is now visible in Kasur and other hamlets and towns where the ugly face of paedophilia has found not just coverage in the media, but is being addressed by the relevant authorities.

In the court of public justice it seems, the people of this country are finally finding redressal of their problems, and a measure of validation.

That, and currently in new-age army ops — a war with the hydra-headed monster of terrorism-sectarianism-obscurantism, and in daily battles with white and blue-collar criminals. Ironic, that in a nation repeatedly beleaguered by often brutal fauji interventions, all eyes are now turned to the brass for salvation. For the most part, so far, ostensibly so good. But can we really expect the armed forces, bedevilled by their own past and politics, to procure the desired deliverance?

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