Published On: Thu, Sep 4th, 2014




By:      Aasef Chaudhry


What all is happening in Islamabad should have not happened at all. Marches and Sit-ins are not a new thing, neither their trespassing Red Zone is something weird. As a matter of fact the current govt has a far bad history for attacking the Supreme Court, parliament and the president house. But as they say that two wrongs can’t make one right so the same acts by PTI and PAT can’t be appreciated. However, if on one side we criticize both the parties for their extreme acts then on the other hand one must has to see what has forced them to come on the roads and opted for a march. No one has any doubt that the prevailing political impasse in the country with protesting groups of both PTI and PAT, observing sit-in at capital city of Islamabad, blocking sensitive Red Zone and threatening vital Govt buildings, have negatively impacted the entire nation causing fretful anxiety for all segments of society. But as earlier said that the demonstrations have been prolonged / extended unnecessarily, since the govt never considered their genuine demands seriously and the immature, self-centred advisors of the govt kept advising to handle the issue through its slow strategy thus could not grab the initiative to settle the issue through peaceful dialogue.


The govt could grab the initiative at many occasions but failed to do so. The PTI’s demand was initially recounting of four constituencies and enquiry of rigging in the election which, when govt didn’t address seriously then turned in to a demand for the PM’s resignation. On the other hand PAT’s demand was very simple as they wanted the FIR to be registered against PMLN’s political elite for the heinous murder of 14 people during broad day light at Model Town Lahore. The irony was that both the demands were not taken seriously by any quarter of the govt hence the situation aggravated.


If govt looked least interested in resolving the issue then on the other hand emotional speeches of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri coupled with digging graves/ showing coffin-cloth and Imran Khan’s hard stance to get resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, point at continuity of deadlock and impending perils of violence. Govt wasted vital time to address the rigging grievances of PTI, coldness/ insensitivity to register FIR against concerned people responsible for killing in Model Town, Lahore. Recent failure of dialogue, Govt’s decision to use force against the protesters and resultant killings in Islamabad has further spoiled the situation.


Everyone one was happy that the Army is keeping itself away from the political muck as they were otherwise busy in the most sensitive operation of Pakistan’s history operation Zarb e Azb. But here in Islamabad when the situation got worsened then very strangely the army’s name was heard for the first time as the likely mediators. It’s strongly believed that the govt herself requested the army for a role for the political motives best known to them and later backed out abruptly and tried to throw onus on PTI and PAT. Mediating role of Army was acrimoniously politicized which brought embarrassment for Army high command and caused delay in resolution of crisis.

In whole episode Javed Hashmi’s role sounds quite dubious and suspicious. As PTI and PAT decided to demonstrate before the PM House, Javed Hashmi suddenly parted ways with PTI and asserted that Imran Khan was prompted by Sheikh Rashid to march towards PM House along with PAT. Javed Hashmi’s sensitivity towards Establishment is one thing but veiled pointing towards Army for having conveyed a message through Sheikh Rashid is a distrustful thought and a cynical view point. It is an ugly attempt to spoil civil-military relations in the country. That was the point from where things took turn and unfortunately the army’s character was questioned despite the fact that the Army maintains a totally neutral and entirely apolitical stance. It is, however, deeply concerned on prevailing political turmoil. Although a large section of press didn’t believe it and stood by the armed forces but a small section led by GEO; the govt’s media team tried their best to malign the forces. Ultimately the ISPR had to issue an unambiguous press release clearly expressed Army’s pro-democratic stance, asking the Govt to resolve the crisis through political dialogue and avoid violence / use of force.


The govt will have to do away with the habit of throwing blame on others and will have to seriously resolve the issue as this political turmoil in Islamabad has brought both protesting side and the Govt into a blind alley from where the rays of hope appear too slim. There is a need for the Govt to take bold decisions and hold dialogue with PTI and PAT leaders. Some compensation has to be paid for earlier loss of precious time to address the grievances of the protesting groups and the govt should remember that there is no shortcut to bringing the situation normal in Islamabad. Army as we all know is a prestigious institution and it fully supports the democratic system and averts all skepticism of derailing democracy. Such thoughts are ugly in nature and must not be attributed towards pro-democratic Army.


After ISPR press release the govt was badly embarrassed for lying that it was PTI and PAT who requested the Army to mediate. There are few ministers in the govt who are deadly against the army and are in habit of creating misunderstanding off and on. People know them well and some of them after this humiliation made another attempt and tried to create a feeling that the army sent a message to Imran Khan through Sheikh Rashid to join PAT leadership for marching towards PM House which was totally baseless. Javed Hashmi must be feeling alienated in PTI as perhaps competitors like Shah Mehmood Qureshi are getting encouraged by Imran Khan. Some media analysts and political leaders like Achakzai and Fazalur Rehman also tend to show their loyalties to top political leadership by mentioning about the possibility of military take over and they do not hesitate in insinuating against Army for its hidden role in present crisis. Such elements have an agenda to spoil civil-military relations. They must be countered assertively.


It’s high time now that the govt must take the initiative using comprehensive strategy and visionary approach to resolve the issue without using force and avoiding violence. The situation presents serious challenges to the political leadership who must find a political solution with open mind and selfless dexterity. External elements are keenly studying the developments taking place in Pakistan and are preparing wicked schemes to damage Pakistan’s interests. Hence, there is a dire need to end the political standoff and learn how to hold own Army in high esteem.


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