ISLAMABAD: If the PML-N had a choice it would not have the National Assembly at all. Or so seems the case.


Life would have been so much easier with no Parliament to ask the government why it failed to give its terrorism policy in eight long months – even after over 1000 people got killed in hundreds of terrorist attacks.


And no media to stage walkouts or comment on its dismal performance and no public check on the diminishing gas and electricity supplies and their ever-increasing prices.Perhaps this was the reason that the government delayed the National Assembly session for 37 days. The terrible 37 days that would have shaken any government anywhere in the world.


Here is a reminder of what happened during this time: the deadly TTP attacks on military targets in Bannu and Rawalpindi; targeted killing of polio teams in Peshawar and Karachi; attacks on military check posts in Waziristan that led to at least two major retaliatory reprisals, the last one involving air strikes in which over 40 people are believed to have died. If anybody has better description of inferno, please come forward.


Why the National Assembly was not called during this mayhem, one may ask. Even the previous Assembly session failed to conclude the law and order debate as the interior minister provoked the opposition into a walkout.


The PML (N) disregard for parliament is now bordering on contempt for the august house that the party loves to brandish about while in opposition.


The PML (N) backbenches are absolutely disinterested in parliamentary proceedings and so are the cabinet members – barring a few exceptions. The prime minister has not been to parliament for almost half a year now — perhaps a record for any PM even if we include Zia’s hand-picked Assembly. And when the Assembly was finally convened the grandeur woven around its majestic opening turned out to be a lousy whimper. Thanks to our sensationalist media spinners, there was immense hype in the air that the prime minister will, finally, grace the Parliament with his royal presence. We all waited with baited breath as, we were told, the prime minister would finally clear the mist over the government policy against terrorism; basically explain how and if he will stop Taliban from killing innocents citizens and why the government is taking so long in its decision-making.


But the prime minister’s seat remained as vacant as, well, ever.The media speculated that he spent his day listening to party mandarins. We hope the speakers included some bold people as half of the government members complain that they have never shaken hands with the prime minister. In the meantime, his deputies, as usual, made a mess of things.


Information minister Pervez Rasheed came to the Press Gallery to appease us against the recent attacks and threats against media outlets and journalists, particularly The Express group. He also urged the media to “straighten your lines” and stand by the government against the final onslaught against Taliban. Pretty radical it was – as a whiff of fresh hopes. It gave the impression as if the government was finally set for the ultimate assault. But nothing of this is reflected in government actions.


Chaudhry Nisar, later in his customary sermon, seemed at odds with what Pervez Rasheed had said. He spent more time in explaining his earlier lapses than showing us the way forward. He is reported to have described the whole Taliban scourge as “God’s wrath.” We can infer from this that this government wants the ordinary mortals to trust in God and not the government.


Luckily for the government – and to our great misfortune – the opposition is equally lost and confused. PPP’s Khursheed Shah pumped dozes of adrenaline in his overly long speech on government lapses.


But the PPP policies against terrorism in the last five years of their government did not match his rhetoric. It will take more than Bilawal’s kid-talk to convince about the PPP’s sincerity on the issue – post-Benazir Bhutto.


Imran Khan repeated the same old speech about the centrality of drones and about differentiating between, our greatest fallacy, good and bad Taliban. What have drones to do with sectarian killings, as the recent massacre of Shia Hazaras in Mastung, that comprise more than 50 per cent of the terrorist fatalities, one may ask.


Imran Khan is obviously stuck in a blind alley and is trying to wriggle out of his hard position. Our gurus noticed a certain change of line. He clarified that he wants the negotiations to be within the Constitution of Pakistan. This should contradict his position about having talks with Taliban. How can you talk to them, as Taliban do not believe in the Constitution? But then this is not the only oxymoron that the skipper throws out of his cap every day.


More important was the timing. Things seemed to have changed after the tough line taken by the military in its recent reprisals against Taliban. It is not a coincidence that politicians, including Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, made a beeline to visit Taliban victims only after General Raheel Sharif made the gesture. Why the thousands of earlier victims were not extended the same courtesy? Like it or not, the events seemed to have overtaken our politicians. They can take more time in devising their Taliban policy but a policy of action is already in practice. The operation against Taliban is virtually on and only fools cannot see it. The Army has already taken the lead without making a fuss about it and our politicians, particularly the governments in Islamabad and Peshawar. Or perhaps they see it but find it convenient to ignore.


So the policy is decided and the only question for history to decide is: who should have taken the decision.Tailpiece: The cycle of the ongoing political circle was completed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman when he attacked our “jean-wearing girls from Islamabad” for descending on Peshawar. It made sense for him to attack the PTI but why spar with the federal government that he joined recently. Oh, we forget! There is an issue over the choicest ministries. Lagay Raho Maulana.

Courtesy: The News

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Date: Monday, 27 January 2014