Time to Work

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Now that the festive splendour has passed, the nation should get back to the arduous task of building a strong and healthy Pakistan. 63 Augusts ago, Madr-e-Millat had called freedom “a tender plant (which) need(ed) nursing and constant vigilance.”
And the deadly attack on security forces in Balochistan, downing two sons of the soil, was yet another undeniable reminder that a lot still needed to be done. A sitting defence minister of an independent, sovereign state does not shake his head in resignation or pray for divine intervention when questioned about the menace of militancy or terrorism breathing down his countrymen’s necks.
But by resorting to the usual passing-the-buck tactics, Mr Khwaja Asif spilt considerably more secrets than he had intended. That the government is vying for the success of peace talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan despite full knowledge of their very open ill sentiments for the country’s constitution is bound to be taken as a sign of weakness. Why else would our representatives not only hold hands with an outfit that ruthlessly attacked every nook of the country-and spilt the blood of over 80,000 innocent Pakistanis-but also consider its demand for “compensation” for the “damages” incurred?
Swat fast-falling to the clutches of the militant umbrella is no longer a secret. However, it has yet to rattle the authorities out of complacency. Pakistan is not ready to own its direct failure in keeping the proverbial genie inside the bottle and its countrymen and countrywomen would be better off bracing themselves for a violent winter and a bloodier summer. Because this time around, Baloch militant groups can easily share the task of launching just as many sophisticatedly lethal attacks in cities far and wide. Simply hoping that the Taliban would move beyond their much-talked-about designs regarding their own Shariah system cannot do, Honourable Defence Minister.
If we are ready to see the Taliban roam freely inside Pakistan, take over check-posts, drive the security enforcement personnel away and hold to ransom as many jawans as they wish, the coming years, even months, might prepare us for a widespread takeover. It is either another period of raging terrorism or one more war where thousands more will die and many, many more forced out of their homes. History plays strange games, indeed.