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Pakistan Parochial Party... By Gulsher

08 January, 2013

Until the federal information minister's recent statement on how the PPP prefers dialogue over a military operation, the PTI, religious parties and a section of the media were vehemently attacked by liberals, led by the PPP, for advocating dialogue with the militants. Now the PPP has officially announced it is ready for talks with the same militants. The graphic atrocities of the militant Taliban against every symbol of modernity have been presented in the media and widely condemned by the majority of Pakistanis in the civilised world.

Moreover, the previous 'peace' accords with the Pakistani Talban have also proved to be extremely counterproductive, enabling the militants to regroup and reinvigorate themselves. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has never hidden its anti-democratic aim of taking over the Pakistani state and converting it into a theocratic state from the Middle Ages. What wisdom have the anti-extremist party's leaders suddenly woken up to? The present leadership of the PPP, which claims to follow the mission of Z A Bhutto and Shaheed BB, are doing a great disserve to the founder of the party and his daughter BB who were liquidated by the same mindset with which Minister Kaira wants to hold dialogue.

The so-called reconciliation drive has already erased the thin layer between others and the PPP and now any semblance of secularism is being erased by the pro-religious policies of the present party's leadership. This statement of the PPP minister along with the same kind of strategic policy adopted by the ANP (Asfandyar Wali gave a similar statement a few days ago) will give a big boost to the TTP. The ANP and PPP should have been more vocal as they have lost their workers and top and second tier leadership but it looks like political expediency in an election year has resulted in this change of mind.

However, as experience shows, retracting and caving in has never been a deterrent to the TTP and their ilk. The PPP and ANP live in a fool's paradise if they think that by issuing conciliatory statements their parties will be spared from future attacks. The PPP should have shown courage and supported the Pakistan army, which has asked the political leadership to take a decision in continuing and expanding military action against the militants but it looks like the PPP leadership confines itself only to paying lip service to the war on terror. When it comes to taking action at decisive moments, it speaks against its stated mission. After this shift in policy, an obvious inference is that the Pakistan People's Party is being converted into the Pakistan Parochial Party by its present leadership.

GULSHER PANHWER
Via e-mail

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